Dining out can be quite a memorable experience, but not always in a good way. From dealing with hot-headed staff to unwelcomed additions to their meals, these Redditors share some of the worst restaurant experiences they’ve had. Check, please!
1. Terror In My Taco
I was peacefully eating my drowned tacos with some friends at a tiny family-owned restaurant a block away from my home. After I ate almost half my meal, I lifted up my spoon and made a disturbing discovery. There was a cockroach leg in there. It was the same color as the fried taco meat.
I stopped and left at that moment and could barely hold the urge to puke. The only thing worse than finding a cockroach in your tacos is finding half a cockroach in your tacos.
2. Duped At The Olive Garden
I was proposing to my girlfriend a few years back at the Olive Garden. I gave the engagement ring to a waitress to stick on the straw of some drink we were having. BAD IDEA. The ring wasn’t overly expensive; it was about 350 bucks. Well, our drink order came in, and the waitress apparently went home sick. There was no ring to be found.
3. Skewered At The Greek
A friend of mine and I used to go to a local Greek diner called "The Amphoras". In their heyday, they were able to open up a second location. That location was special. The first diner was kind of a dark, cavernous place with a bakery next door. It used to be one of the few places open 24/7 in the 70s when it opened, but by the 90s, it was one of many.
The wait staff was always a mix. I don't know what their hiring process was, but they were either incredibly good waiters or really, really bad. Late at night, you'd sometimes get people who were insane. They all wore "uniforms," a kind of upscale suit that was even stranger. The second location tried to be more hip with a strange "southwestern vs art deco" vibe when it opened.
It had a lot of financial issues and underwent a lot of remodels. This story takes place during one of those remodels. It was the middle of a weekday and post-lunch rush. My friend invited me to have lunch, but I already had lunch, so I just ordered a sundae. There were the constant sounds of remodeling coming from the kitchen area.
As I scooped into my sundae, I felt something very hard in my mouth. I spewed it out and saw the silver curl of a metal shaving. I looked in the sundae and saw a few more. I called the waiter over and said, "Hey, there are metal shavings in my sundae". But instead of saying, "Oh my gosh, sir! How awful," or even a sympathetic vibe, the waiter looked at me like, "Okay?"
I asked, "Well, may I have a sundae without metal shavings in it"? He replied, "You want a free sundae? Huh? That what you want? Wise guy. YOU THINK YOU CAN COME HERE AND," then the rest of it switched to a language I didn't understand, perhaps Greek. The manager heard this guy screaming at me and came over to see what was going on.
He asked what the problem was, and the waiter started shouting at HIM. The manager then shouted back. Soon, the two of them were screaming at each other in this language very heatedly. Finally, the waiter tossed his serving tray down on the floor and stomped off into the kitchen.
Then, we heard screaming and shouting in Spanish, followed by horrific crashing noises like someone was fighting or tossing around pans. The sounds of construction stopped. We heard people shouting in alarm in English, Spanish, and possibly Greek. The manager sincerely apologized and said he would be right back.
He went into the kitchen, where there was more shouting and crashing. The rest of the wait staff rushed to the kitchen, and looked into those little round windows, trying to see what was going on. Eventually, the crashing and shouting stopped.
The manager came back out and said, "Hello. Listen, I am VERY sorry about his behavior. I am going to comp both of your meals. However, I would like you to leave immediately because I am about to fire that man, and fear for your safety afterward," so we got out of there.
As we were leaving, I heard someone say in English, "Did he just lock himself in the freezer??"
4. Vanished Without A Word
I was at the Spaghetti Warehouse in the Flats in Cleveland in the early 90s. A few coworkers and I were visiting for some work at a steel mill for a week or so, and it was one of the only times we were out as a small four-person team. We were seated in some train car thing. The waitress and a coworker of mine were flirting back and forth.
They served bread from a wicker basket. The waitress took a knife to serve one while holding the basket and sliced through the basket to part of her hand where her fingers met. She left quickly, and we had no idea what happened. Then, we noticed the trail of blood in the train car. We assumed she told the restaurant team.
We sat there figuring we'd hear from her when a manager lady walked through and asked if everything was all right. We hadn't seen or heard from our waitress in about 25 minutes by that point, and the manager didn't believe it until we pointed out the blood trail. She was aghast.
It ended up being one of three times I've had my waitress leave a shift or quit while I was sitting there, and the restaurant was unaware.
5. Bungled Burritos
We went into a newly-opened Mexican place after booking the table the week before for a party of five. We entered, and the place was absolutely jammed. We got a table that was clearly too small for five beefy dudes to sit around. After a few minutes, a waiter came over and took our drink order.
Since it was so busy, we asked for six bottles of Corona and four bottles of Heineken, so we wouldn’t have to wait for extra drinks. About 10 minutes later, just as we were about to ask for an update on the drinks, they turned up. They were all at room temperature, and there was no lime in the Coronas.
Whatever, we just wanted a quick bite before heading into the city to drink. The waiter then took our food order. We asked for normal, basic Mexican menu items, no custom orders. Nearly 40 minutes later, we had finished our drinks and had gotten another round. That's when we noticed something weird.
While all the tables were full, very little food seemed to be coming out of the kitchen. We were about to pay for the drinks and leave when the food arrived. It looked undercooked, the portions were tiny for the price, and the plates simply didn't fit on the table.
We had to place our drink bottles on the floor to make space along with the little cutlery holder. As soon as my friend took a bite of his burrito, he dropped it on his plate. It was frozen in the middle. I opened mine up, and while it wasn’t frozen, it was barely lukewarm in the middle.
We called for the waiter and asked for them to be replaced immediately, as we had been there for over 90 minutes at that point. The waiter just shrugged and took the plates away. Ten more minutes passed. The table next to us just left without paying for their drinks, as they had been waiting nearly an hour for their meals.
Then, the food came back. They had just nuked the same burritos; my friend got his back with the bite mark out of it! We got up, paid for the drinks, and told the cashier that we were not paying for the food. They shrugged and said, "We are disappointed you didn't enjoy the service today, but you ate three of the five meals. You still need to pay for those".
We refused. The place lasted about four months before closing.
6. Full Of Fungi
My hubby and I were out eating. I asked if a certain dish had mushrooms because I was allergic. The waitress said it did not, so I ordered it. It came out covered in mushrooms.
I asked the waitress if it was maybe the wrong order or if she had thought I wanted it with mushrooms. I don't know how she would have gotten that impression, but I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. I asked for the dish to be remade because of my allergy.
Before walking away, she replied, "You could just, you know, pick them off". So I got up, went to the register, and asked for the manager. I explained the situation, being sure to mention the allergy and being far more apologetic than I should have been, given the situation. His suggestion was that I switch entrées with my husband.
Hubby had ordered the stuffed mushrooms, so I explained that wasn't an option and that I really would just like the dish remade. I said, "Don't get me wrong, it looks delicious, and I wish I could eat it. I just don't think you want your front entrance blocked by the ambulance that has to come to take me to the ER if I do eat it". I said it sort of jokingly because I didn't want to tick off anyone who saw my food before it got to me.
The manager huffed, briskly walked to our table, took my plate and my glass of vino for some reason, and disappeared into the kitchen. I told my hubby to eat, so he did and had another glass, as did I. The waitress only brought his drink and the check. We were charged for six drinks, his meal, and two times for my meal.
My husband contemplated arguing with the manager, but, in the end, he just did the math for his meal, two full glasses and the half glass I did drink, and left exact change. It's the only time we've never left a tip for wait staff, but it's also the only time we experienced anything like that.
7. This Place Was To Fly For
I finally went to the fancy wine bar in our historic downtown area and ordered a ridiculously overpriced glass. The server brought it out and there was a deceased fruit fly and some egg-like thing floating in it. I asked her to bring me a new glass. She tutted, but took it and reappeared with another glass, set it down, and walked away.
I went to take a drink—and couldn't believe it. It was the same glass with the same fly and the same egg thing. I waved her down and told her there was still a fly in it. Clearly annoyed, she told me that if it was her, she'd just fish it out with her fingers and drink it, because it happens all the time and it's no big deal.
I've never been back.
8. I Won’t Brie Back
About nine years ago, we went to a new brunch place in Chicago. We were the only ones there, which seemed a little weird for Chicago. The server was obviously the owner, and really pressured us to order a few menu items; it was becoming uncomfortable.
When my ham and brie omelet came out, one bite showed that the brie was still wrapped in plastic with the label still stuck on. We waited 15 minutes for the server to come back out, and I showed him the issue. Without saying a word, he took the plate to the back and proceeded to scream at the cook so loud and for so long that I started getting worried for our safety.
No one came out for another 10 minutes or so, so we just left.
9. This Dinner And A Show Was A No
My dad and I went to this place in NYC that put on a little theatrical show while you dined. I was 14 at the time and my dad and I walked into this place, and it already looked sketchy. Off the bat, it looked extremely understaffed, and all the staff that were there looked like they hated their job.
There were straw wrappers on the floor and no one sat us for 15 minutes, so we just sat ourselves. We had been to this place before when I was little, so we decided to give it the benefit of the doubt, expecting the food and show to be the same fun experience it used to be.
One of the actors for the show was walking around to greet the guests and my dad, being the guy he is, was trying to playfully joke around with him. However, he seemed really caught off guard by it and didn’t play along, which was weird. But that was only the beginning.
The service took forever, and after we finally got our order in, my dad had to use the bathroom. As he was gone, the actor approached me, sat in my dad’s seat, and asked me, “Does your dad embarrass you?" I was like, “Uhhh, no”. He proceeded to say, “If I had a dad like that, I’d hide my head in shame”.
Normally, that would be funny to me, but this guy seemed like he was serious about it. I then noticed that the only guests this “actor” was talking to were children. He was fully hopping booths and scooting next to the kids. He wasn’t looking at or speaking to the adults AT ALL. I’ve never been so uncomfy in my life.
We got our food after an hour, and it was mid at best. I ordered a pasta dish and it was low-key tasteless. My dad got a patty melt, but it tasted like it had been left on the counter for way too long. The “show” itself lasted a grand total of about three minutes, and it was just the creepy actor guy talking to a mummy that descended from the ceiling.
I realize this story sounds like an actual fever dream, and as much as I wish it was, it wasn’t. It actually happened.
10. Giving It All Away
Once, for a family Christmas dinner, we went to a really nice restaurant. I ordered their club sandwich, and the rest of my family ordered their food. If I remember correctly, about 30 minutes after the rest of my family had been brought and eaten their food, the waiter came over without my food.
He told me they had given my sandwich to people in the drive-through TWICE and that it would be another 15 minutes for my food and asked if that was OK. It definitely wasn’t.
11. A Glutton For Gluten-Free
We went to a place where the service was ridiculously slow and incredibly disorganized despite the restaurant being mostly empty. We waited at least twenty minutes to get menus, and they kept sending out other servers to confirm our orders. It took well over an hour before we even got our food.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, the server was the most aggravating human I've ever dealt with at a restaurant. One of my friends I was with had celiac disease. This story took place around when the "gluten-free" fad was at its peak, so it was understandable (to a degree) that a server would be a little annoyed when someone said they couldn't have gluten.
This man was not "a little annoyed"; he seemed to take it as a personal insult. He just rolled his eyes and acted condescending whenever he spoke to my friend. The breaking point was when my friend asked if a certain meal had a gluten-free option when we were ordering. He gave some dismissive reply and said he'd go check after he placed our orders.
The server came back an hour later with our food and saved my friend's meal for last. When he got to them, he said, "There isn't a gluten-free option for this meal, so you'll just have to eat it as it is," and then placed the dish in front of them and walked away.
12. Our Service Was Discounted
I went to an American fondue restaurant chain in Centerville, Ohio, with eight friends on a Saturday evening. We had Groupons for some special group meal deal, which I assume was the reason our service was comically slow. It really felt like they were intentionally ignoring us.
We were there for about three hours because that's how long it took them to get our food to us. It also took an hour for us to get our first drink order, and they just never brought our second round. I'm usually a person who tips way too much and will still do 15% for bad service because waiters must eat too.
However, this was the only time in my life I've ever felt completely justified leaving no tip at a sit-down restaurant. It was that absurd.
13. Proof Of Purchase Please
I was picking up takeout, and it took a while for them to bring me my order. I got the order and paid with a credit card. As I was leaving and out the door, the hostess/waitress chased me outside and accused me of not paying for the food. I told her to check the merchant slip for the credit card transaction. Her response was deranged.
She told me they threw it away and demanded I dig it out of the trash. Despite it being a good restaurant, I never went back, and they subsequently closed.
14. They Nailed The Burritos
A friend cracked a tooth because a wooden nail was his burrito. They tried to make us pay for that meal but gave us vouchers for free meals to come back. We refused. We left our info with management, and the next day, my friend got a call from the corporate office. They paid for him to go to their headquarters area and paid for him to go to a dentist and get all of his teeth fixed.
However, they had some nerve trying to get us to buy dinner that had a wooden nail in it.
15. Clean Up Your Act!
My favorite Chinese restaurant was this little hole-in-the-wall place downtown. It was this small, dingy restaurant that only took cash. It didn't look too clean, but the food was fantastic. It was the kind of restaurant that didn’t give a hoot about atmosphere but really just put out bangers for food.
This place was not the cleanest restaurant, but the food was so good that I ate there in spite of that...until one horrifying day. While waiting for an order, I saw a homeless guy come in who was sick with something nasty. There were snot ropes hanging from this dude’s nose and clothes.
He was hacking up a storm and was just one of the dirtiest, sickest people I had ever seen. He was begging people for money or a meal, and he got one. Then, it hit me that the restaurant would not properly clean where this guy had been.
As my eyes darted around the restaurant to the vents that had thick layers of caked-on dust to the silverware stands that hadn't been restocked in days, I realized that cleaning just wasn't a priority. I have never been able to go back. I just can't see the restaurant now without wondering how hygienic everything is.
16. Her Salty Attitude Did Her In
We used to frequent this Italian joint owned by a cranky old man who gave everyone guff, but in an endearing way; the food was delicious. He retired, and his daughter took over. The first (and last) time we dined there after she took over was horrible.
My husband wasn’t really hungry, so he ordered soup and salad. He asked for no tomatoes and got a salad that was absolutely doused in tomatoes. He didn’t complain, just picked around them. Then he tried the soup and literally almost spewed it out; it was so salty.
We are not salt sensitive; there was something wrong with this soup. Like the lid-of-the-salt-shaker-fell-off-while-seasoning kind of wrong. She inquired specifically about the soup, and he politely told her it was too salty. She used his own spoon to taste it without asking.
She fully agreed that it was too salty and took it away but didn’t offer to replace it with anything else; she just took it. Somewhere along the line, despite agreeing that the soup was off, she decided we were jerks. At the next check-in, she looked at his salad and snidely said, “What, you don’t like tomatoes?" This, to the customer who asked for no tomatoes and didn’t complain when they got all the tomatoes.
She then went to the bar and very obviously talked trash about us to the regulars. She was pointing, laughing, and we could clearly hear the words “salt” and “tomatoes”. As we were walking out, having still tipped her, she rudely shouted, “You might want to try a different soup next time if you’re so sensitive to salt," followed by cackling from her and the bar patrons.
The place closed down a month later.
17. A Husband’s Sacrifice
My wife got a horrific case of food poisoning from a very upscale restaurant in Vermont. The restaurant didn't believe her. We were with about a dozen of my family members, and they didn't believe her either. They swore up and down this place was the best restaurant in town, and she probably ate something else earlier that caused the vomiting.
So, I volunteered to eat some of her dinner just to prove she wasn't lying, and sure enough, within the hour, I was gagging, heaving, and trying my darndest not to puke and poo at the same time. Never, ever order seafood in a landlocked state.
18. Dining Room Diaper Station
There was a woman who decided the table in the middle of the restaurant was the best and most hygienic place to change her baby's diaper as opposed to the purposely-built baby changing station. When she was challenged by another customer about this, her reaction was so horrifying—I'll never forget it.
She barehand grabbed a pile of baby poo out of the diaper, smacked the customer across the face with it, then smeared poop on the table and her chair, all while screaming and swearing her head off. Eventually, another customer walked up to her, and one punched her to the ground, then walked out.
We had the authorities, an ambulance, and CPS all pile in. The worst part was that management tried to make another employee who was not trained for this situation to clean up. He just straight up quit right then and there when we were already short-staffed.
19. Where Did All The Grown-Ups Go?
It was a small family-owned Mexican restaurant. We showed up around 1 PM–2 PM but were the only ones there. Their 13-year-old daughter greeted us and sat us, but she seemed almost confused about having customers on a Saturday at that time.
Shortly after we were seated, two little kids under the age of 10 came into the otherwise empty dining room from somewhere in the back and sat in the booth directly behind ours. They both started watching a kid’s program on the tablet they had at full volume.
We couldn't hear each other at that point with the blaring tablet behind us. You could hear it throughout the whole restaurant, so we figured the owners would pop out of the kitchen where they were hiding and say something, but nope.
Then, the 13-year-old girl came out again with water and chips but apparently thought nothing of the blaring tablet. She tried taking our order, but she seemed to be really uncomfortable or shy and kept mumbling, which we couldn't hear over the tablet. Finally, I just ordered a soft taco to go, but we still never saw any adults.
20. Winging It
I got chicken wings, and half were insanely undercooked. I told our waitress, and they comped them. But that wasn't the worst part. In the middle of chatting, something hit my face and bounced off. I glanced at my arm, and there was a cockroach the size of my palm sitting on my arm.
I am terrified of bugs, so I let out a horror movie scream. I managed to fling it off of me, screaming, and then had a good old panic attack that set off my asthma.
21. Done With Denny’s
When I was still in high school, my two friends and I were getting done with a late-night lacrosse game and were pretty hungry. Unfortunately, most restaurants in our area closed at 10 PM, and it was already 9:30. We didn't want to be impolite, so we settled on Denny's because it closed at 1 AM.
We walked in, and the first thing we noticed was how empty it was; we were the only ones there. We waited for a solid five minutes before someone finally came to seat us, and she seated us at a dirty table. She asked if we would like some drinks, and we just all got a couple of glasses of water.
We asked for a couple of minutes with the menu. Ten minutes passed, and we still hadn’t gotten our water yet. Meanwhile, we were the ONLY guests in the restaurant. After another five minutes, she finally brought us our waters. She asked if we were ready to order, and we said yes and gave her our orders.
She said they would be done in about 15 minutes. Just like the water situation, 15 minutes passed, and no food. By this time, it was around 10:20 PM, and we were all very hungry and tired. Another 10 minutes passed, and nothing.
Finally, at almost 11:00 PM, our food still hadn't arrived, so we called our waitress over to our table and told her that we would be taking our business elsewhere and to cancel our order. She insisted that we needed to pay for the food we ordered even though we hadn't ever received it.
We told her we wouldn't be paying for food that is almost an hour late. We left that Denny's that night, and we haven't returned to a Denny's since.
22. What A Mess
We waited for about an hour for the first round of drinks. Meanwhile, the owner of the bar and his friends were surrounded by three out of the four hosts/bartenders. Then, when our food came out, a disaster ensued. They dropped it on me, and I got nacho stuff all over me.
When our check came an hour late, the hostess made a mean-spirited joke about how messy of an eater I was. It was the first and only time I have ever given a $0 tip and written terrible service on it. I honestly thought I was on a hidden camera show.
23. Dissed For My Love Of Disney
I went to a local breakfast place with my dad when I was 14. We were ready to order, and I wanted to order a Mickey Mouse pancake because it came with a bunch of whipped cream and fruit, which I was craving on a pancake. The server asked for my age which I told her was 14.
She then proceeded to scold me in a thick accent, saying, "You are too old! You no get Mickey Mouse pancake!" My dad tried to ask why it mattered, but she just kinda kept arguing the same thing with him. I just ended up ordering something else, but she could have just said the kid’s menu was age-restricted.
Luckily, my Dad and I goofed about it later, so it ended up being a net positive experience.
24. A Soul-Crushing Experience
We were at a soul food restaurant in my neighborhood. I showed up before the lunch rush with my (then) toddler, who needed a high chair. We were the only people there. The older couple who ran the place ignored me for ten minutes while hissing at one another about something.
The guy took my order, did a double-take at the baby, and asked if I needed a high chair. I said yes. The dude turned to their open kitchen window and had a loud screaming match with his wife (the chef) for ten minutes. They went into their attic storage and slammed a high chair down in front of me with the chef loudly shouting, "I cook, I'm not your SERVANT," at the husband.
At that point, I asked for a soda and was looking at 25 minutes before they even took my order. Finally, I politely asked if I could place an order for fried chicken. That's when it took an even darker turn. A pan was thrown across the kitchen and bounced off the wall and they argued about whose turn it was to marinate the chicken last night.
I just put my kiddo back in the stroller and walked out while they had a full street brawl in the kitchen. They closed within a month but still paid rent on the place for two years without ever being open. It's now a small unremarkable Mexican fast-food joint.
25. Your Time’s Up!
I live in Melbourne which is known for its high level of quality customer service, but it's also why I refuse to go to Okami's anymore. They had a booking system during the pandemic, in one-hour blocks. You came at the start of the hour and had to leave at the end. We were seated at the table furthest from the counter, and there was also a loud family near us.
Almost every single time we tried to call wait staff over, they'd be caught by someone from that family. So, service was very slow, and my girlfriend and I had spent the whole meal being agitated about how little we were being attended to. It was so bad, we had to skip dessert because the hour was coming to an end and we were still eating our main meals.
We were finishing off and everyone except us had left, and one of the wait staff came and thrust his watch right in my face and tapped it. I still regret not saying anything, but both my girlfriend and I are non-confrontational people, so we just paid and left. We left a bad review on Yelp, but I still fume when I think about it.
26. The Big McRip Off
I was at McDonald's. I actually don't like the Golden Arches, but I was hungry. I went in, and no one was there, so I figured it would be quick. I gave my order, paid, and waited. I waited some more and more. Someone else came in, gave their order, and they got it fairly quickly. Meanwhile, I was still waiting. Finally, someone saw me and asked if I was ready to order.
I told them no, and that I was waiting for my order. They lost it. A manager came out, she was confused, and the order was completely gone. By that time, I had been waiting nearly half an hour, so I just said forget it and walked out. The money was never refunded to my account. They may have lost my order, but they managed to keep my money.
27. Post-Pandemic Pain
I went to a restaurant in a relatively small town with a group of six people. This was mid-2021, that weird interval in the pandemic where things were kinda back to normal but also not. Apparently, most of the other restaurants in town were shut down because of a Covid outbreak that week, so everyone was at this restaurant.
There were only two waitresses in the whole place, and every table was full. It took them an hour to come and get our order, and while they were doing that, some Karen came up and yelled at us for getting our orders taken before her party, as if that was our fault.
It took another hour for us to get our food and we each got served at different times. I got a personal-sized pizza that was half burnt—like black burnt—but I was so starving, I didn't care. I tipped 40% because I felt bad for the waitresses, but what a terrible experience all around.
28. Not Worth The Hype
People seemed to froth at the mouth about the Viking Lobster Company because it was BYOB. My wife and I went there for our one-year wedding anniversary. The place was located in an area that I would not like to be in at night. We had to call the restaurant to make a reservation because they didn’t take walk-ins.
Instead of confirming the time on the first call, we were called back. The building itself looked like it was one loose roof shingle from being condemned. The prices were fair for what the menu said you would be getting. We both ordered lobster feasts, which came with salad.
It was a solid 45-minute wait between our salads and entrees. This wouldn't have been a problem, except for the fact that there were only two other couples in the restaurant with us, one of which came in after us. The feasts themselves came in large plates.
It looked like everything (scallops, fish, lobster tail) was placed inside aluminum foil that was unwrapped atop the plate. It was a major disappointment. My guess is that the chef/cooks simply pre-made the feasts and cooked them en masse in aluminum foil packages.
As a result, the fish and scallops had a heavy metal taste. They didn't taste "spoiled," but you could tell they were cooked in the foil. The only saving grace with that place was our waitress and the BYOB aspect. The worst part was when my wife gave them an honest review on Facebook.
It was a one-star review, but it was as fair and respectable as it could be. The owner replied almost immediately and said something along the lines of, "Unfortunately, our waitresses will remember who you are the next time you come in". There was no way we planned on returning.
Looking through Viking's Facebook review history, any reviews less than three stars were met with borderline childish retorts by the owner, essentially blaming the customers for everything. I spent over $200 that night and will never return nor recommend that place.
29. Steak ‘N Wait
I went to a Steak ‘n Shake years ago. We came in and saw the stove in the kitchen was completely filled with burgers. They sat us down, took our orders, and we waited. And waited. And waited. Over an hour went by, and there was no food. Eventually, we found a waiter and asked what was going on, and they said that they were short-staffed.
Another half an hour went by. We finally had enough, so we got up and started leaving. They ran to stop us, apologized, and told us to wait just five more minutes. They gave us our meals to go and gave us half off.
30. Left In A Pickle
I was about eight years old, and my mother took me to a deli-style restaurant where we met Annie, one of her fellow high school teachers. They had large bowls of pickles on the table, and my mother and Annie were eating them. I hated pickles and still do. Annie took the last pickle from the bowl and spotted something rather unwelcome—a cigarette stub.
Annie was a bit potty-mouthed to begin with, so you can imagine what words began bellowing out of her mouth. My mother quickly hustled me out of the restaurant lest I picked up some bad words I already didn't know. The restaurant went out of business not long afterward.
31. Running To The Loo After Some Bad BBQ
When my brother and dad came over to visit me, we went to this sandwich chain called Erberts and Gerberts. All of us had heard of this place before, and because there was one in the city I was in, we decided to go there for dinner. Both my dad and I got a BBQ brisket sandwich, and my brother got something else.
The sandwiches were really disappointing. I wasn't expecting anything amazing, but still. We went our separate ways for the day, and I ended up back at my apartment. Eventually, I went to bed for the night. When I woke up, I heard a growl in my stomach. This was a normal occurrence, as I'm usually hungry when I wake up in the morning.
However, the growls intensified dramatically, and knowing that nothing good could come of it, I sprinted to my bathroom. What followed was the worst case of the runs I have ever gotten in my life, and it was making me feel sick. I spent a total of an hour in the bathroom.
I went to call my dad on his phone to tell him that we had to cancel our plans for the day, but my brother picked up instead. Apparently, my dad had also got the runs. We concluded that it must have been from the sandwich place we ate at, so we swore never to eat there again.
32. Left Out In The Cold
I was traveling with a group of 30 people on a sightseeing trip and we went to a big restaurant for dinner. The place was jammed but we managed to get a huge table. The waitress came to take our orders. Mine was simple—a glass of water, and a cutlet with fries. The drinks arrived except for mine. I asked the waitress—but her reaction was infuriating.
She just rolled her eyes and stormed off. Thirty minutes later, the food came, but not mine, and still no drink. I asked again and she snapped at me, "Can't you see we're jammed right now?? You won't starve!" Then, she stormed off again and didn't come back. I was quite puzzled. We tried to get her back, but she just ignored us.
The others were kind enough to share their food, so I got a full meal from different plates. When it was time to pay, she insisted I pay for the meal the others donated to me. We politely told her to get lost and left.
33. Met With A Chili Reception
I have food allergies related to spicy foods, mushrooms, and nuts. We went out for a lunchtime meal at a fancy pub, and they were operating on a reduced menu, which was no problem. They had a steak sandwich that could be altered to fit my needs.
I explained my allergies to the waitress, wrote her a list of what was required to be removed, and double-checked when we paid. The first sandwich came out with all the problematic ingredients on it, so I flagged the waitress down.
I explained the issue and allergies again and wrote her ANOTHER list with my allergies and required removals for her to show the kitchen staff, and she said she’d fix it straight away. Twenty minutes later, my friends had almost finished their food, and mine hadn’t been sent out yet.
I flagged down the same waitress, asked if it would be much longer, and after disappearing for 10 minutes, she came back with my sandwich. I checked the second sandwich, and they removed the salami but not the chili jam. By this point, everyone else had finished their meals, so I flagged down the waitress again and asked for a refund.
She spent five minutes trying to argue with me into waiting for the kitchen to remake it, by which point I was furious. I stormed out of the pub and emailed them later that day, detailing what had happened. The manager told me that “they do their best to accommodate food allergies but can’t always help” and refused a refund.
I give that place the finger every time I drive past it.
34. An Uninvited Guest
Years ago, I went out to a local Indian restaurant in the neighborhood. There were about four other tables of what looked liked couples. We'd been seated at a table for about five minutes when a random middle-aged woman walked in—and did the unthinkable.
She plonked herself down at our table, grabbed a glass, and started drinking our vino. Then, she started rambling on about a bunch of stuff. The restaurant was about three-quarters empty apart from the other four tables. Most of them clocked what was going on, and all their conversations subsided to a murmur.
We told her we wouldn’t be sharing our food or any more drinks with her. I managed to motion the one waitress over and told her, “We don’t know her, can you get rid of her”. The waitress high-tailed it back into the kitchen without a peep. The rest of the room was completely silent now, no doubt counting their lucky stars she didn’t sit down with them.
Things began to get pretty heated and she was telling us how she still had “contacts” in the cult and how she’ll find us and get us. She was finally convinced to leave when my housemate said she could either leave by the door or he could throw her through the front window.
35. Abandoned At The Airport
I was traveling alone and had a layover at a very busy airport. I hopped into a restaurant for a snack and a drink. I sat and waited 15 minutes for a server to come by and ordered some chips and guac and a Modelo. I finished my chips and was still thirsty. I tried for over 40 minutes to get the server’s attention.
She walked by multiple times with empty hands and blew off my, "Excuse me, may I's". She very purposely and almost comically avoided eye contact with me, and at one point sat at the adjacent table with a friend to eat lunch. She knew I existed. It all seemed very odd—my drink was empty, I wanted to pay for more food and I was CLEARLY being ignored.
What did get her attention very quickly was when I said forget this and left my table, took my bag, and went and stood at the server’s station to pay and go. She IMMEDIATELY noticed I was gone and I could see the panic on her face. I coyly wave to her from the server station. We said nothing to each other.
She gave me a pink gel pen to sign my credit check and walked away. I signed but did not tip. I crumpled the slip into a ball and left it on the counter, then yeeted the pen across the floor and under an empty booth. I've been in the industry a long time, and I never thought I'd be that guy, but holy moly.
36. The Butter-Fingered Waiter
I was at Tony Roma's in Vegas. It was late, but still a couple of hours before their closing time, and it was pretty much our last resort. We were seated, got our menus, and then had to wait about ten minutes for the server to show up. We were the only guests at the time, so it's not like he was too busy.
We had already decided on everything, but the moment he got our drink order, he was gone. He didn't even hesitate when we said we were ready to order. About five minutes later, our drinks came out, and he promptly spilled some of my wife's iced tea. This time he stuck around long enough to take our order at least.
Fifteen minutes later, our order of mozzarella sticks came out, and he fumbled the plate, so one of them fell off and bounced across the table. He grabbed it and left. There was no replacement and no discount on our order. At that point, my drink had been empty for a while, but he was gone before I could say anything.
Another 20 minutes later, our food came out, and I half-jokingly told my wife to move in case he spilled something again. Famous last words. Sure enough, my wife's side of coleslaw fell off the plate and spilled right where she would have been had she not moved. Again, no replacement or discount there either. I managed to get in my request for a refill before he left.
I ordered a crispy chicken sandwich with cheese, but I found no cheese. When the waiter came back with my refill, I mentioned that, and he whisked away the plate. Another five minutes later, it came back out with a cold slice of cheese on the now cold chicken with a cold side of fries. By then, I just wanted to eat and leave.
That was the last time we saw our waiter. Over half an hour later, we were done and wanted the check so we could leave. I finally went to the host and asked her to find us our check. The manager brought it out and asked us how everything was. We gave her the full story, and she just said, "Oh, I'm sorry," and left.
I foolishly thought she might be going to bring us an adjusted check, so at least we weren't paying full price for food the waiter dropped, but no. It was so bad that I went through the trouble of sending an email to Tony Roma's corporate about it. Their response was, "We hope you visit us again soon!"
37. Meat Mixup
I was the waiter at a nice steak/seafood restaurant. A couple came in. The husband ordered prime rib "as rare as we can serve it". I brought the food. A second couple came in and were seated right next to Couple #1. The wife from Couple #2 ordered a sirloin steak. Couple #1 asked me to cook their prime rib a little more. Meanwhile, the husband had eaten half the steak and veggies.
I brought his plate back to the kitchen. A few minutes went by, and I brought Couple #2's food out. I went back into the kitchen, and Couple # 1's prime rib was ready, except it was a sirloin. The chef put the half-eaten prime rib on a new plate with new veggies and a new baked potato. Couple #2 were eating the prime rib sent back by Couple #1.
I had to explain this to both tables and my manager. We gave free steaks for both tables.
38. Crushing It On New Year’s Eve
I was at The Common Man in New Hampshire on New Year’s Eve. It is an upscale chain but has everyman food. I was walking back with two small plates of cheese, crackers, and fruit from the little table of nibbles before the meal. I had two because my boyfriend hated walking through the crowded tables, and he's a huge dude.
I tapped into a chair two tables over and said, “Oh, excuse me”, smiled, and sat down. We got a drink, appetizers, and a meal. Everything took a while because they were busy but it was fine; we were having a great time. I was ALMOST done with my meal when the craziest thing happened.
A woman leaned over me and said, "Excuse me, are you done with your plate?" I thought she worked there, so I said, “Oh yeah, thanks, I'll take a box”. She had a CRACKER in her hand and crushed it on what was left of my meal.
She said, "When you bumped my chair, this fell off your plate. You should have picked it [up]. I could have crushed it on the floor". She had this big smile on her face and continued, "Have a Happy New Year". She left and went back to her table. We just stared at each other. It was surreal.
39. A Doggone Embarrassing Dinner
One of our favorite restaurants at work was this Vietnamese place that had some really good food for reasonable prices. The most popular dish amongst us was the spicy beef. Some people at the office loved to call it “spicy dog” because they thought they were being funny.
So, it wasn’t uncommon for some people to ask other people around lunchtime, “Hey, want to go eat some spicy dog?" It was a particularly popular joke amongst the management, so nobody called them out on it. One day, a few friends from work and I went there for lunch.
None of us ever used the spicy dog joke at work, but we heard it all the time. We were putting in our orders like normal when one guy said to the Vietnamese waitress, “I think I’ll just have the spicy dog today. I mean the spicy beef”.
His face slowly went beet red as the waitress glared at him and eventually said, “Uhh, sir, we don’t serve dog here”. You could’ve heard a pin drop, and I wanted to hide under the table.
40. No Way Satay
My husband and I used to go to lunch at least once per week at this Thai restaurant. It was good, quick, and they knew us by name. During our time going weekly to this restaurant, my mom got diagnosed with terminal cancer and was declining rapidly. On this particular day, my mom was quite sick in the hospital, and we just got PET results showing that she hadn’t been responding to chemo.
My husband took me for Thai food to cheer me up. Neither of us were too terribly hungry, and we were both kind of pushing our food around our plates. My husband found a well-seasoned cockroach in his dish. Neither of us ate, and he was too embarrassed to tell the lady. She tried to give us boxes, but we declined; she was clearly confused. We paid, left, and never went back.
41. A Series Of Unfortunate Events
I went to this Mexican restaurant with six buddies. So many ridiculous things happened that I struggle to remember them all. First off, the waitress came over and took two of our party’s orders and then just walked off. We had no clue why.
After a while, we managed to flag someone down to take everyone else's order too. Then, they brought three of the meals, but only one was from those first two orders. Something was also wrong with one of them. Then they tried to bring something else that nobody had ordered and seemed to have no idea what to do with it.
We pretty much gave up on flagging down waiters to fix things and just ate what was there because we were trying to get to a football game. At one point, they brought an extra margarita that nobody had ordered, and we just shrugged and drank it.
All this could almost be forgivable, except that when it came time for the check, they tried to pull the shadiest move. They insisted on charging full price for everything, including stuff we hadn't ordered, and a 20% auto-gratuity. We had enough cash to put down an amount that felt appropriate and left.
42. A Fasching Failure
I went to a German restaurant with my parents and another couple when I was around 13–15. It was during the German equivalent of Mardi Gras. We had a reservation, but they were swamped, and we had to wait an hour to be seated. Then, it took an hour to get drinks, another hour for appetizers, and yet another hour to get our food.
While waiting for our entrees, the waiter came back four times to inform my dad that they were sold out of what he had ordered and asked if he would like to select another option. The last time he gave them three options, just hoping he'd get to eat. By then, people were getting up and leaving all around us. It had been four hours, and we had just gotten our entrées.
Then, it took another hour to receive our bill. We were the last table still in the restaurant. Apparently, most parties had walked out on the bill.
43. Take A Bit Out Of This One
There was a trendy cafe I went to once. When I had a couple of pieces of bread while waiting for my order, I found one with a very distinct bite out of it. I pointed it out to the waiter, who gave me a foul look and refused to continue serving me. I wound up getting up and walking out after explaining it to the manager.
To this day, I don't get what the waiter’s problem was. I was civil about it even though I knew they were just dumping leftovers onto the next customers.
44. Holiday Burn
I was hitching a ride with a friend to another state on Thanksgiving. Before departing the city, we met his idiot adult daughter and a bunch of his friends at a restaurant. The waitress spilled piping hot soup on my hair, clothes, and on my hand, with a majority going on my hand.
The soup burned my hand pretty good, but not enough to need to go to a doctor. It hurt for two days. The idiot daughter, who was close to age 30 at the time, went full-on into a laughing fit while nearly the entire packed restaurant looked on. I was mad and embarrassed. My meal wasn't even comped.
45. There Was Something Up Her Sleeve
I went to Buca di Beppo for a girlfriend's dinner party. The bill came, and I put three $100 bills in the sleeve. I thought that maybe I was not tipping enough and added another $20 to the sleeve, left it on the table, and went to get the car so we could leave. As I got back to the restaurant, I noticed no one from our party was out yet.
So, I drove around again, and still nothing. As I was about to drive away, I noticed someone in our party waving me down. They told me that I'd better go back inside the restaurant as there was a huge commotion when our group was leaving. Apparently, the waitress grabbed the sleeve as everyone was walking out, saw the $20 bill, and figured we were doing a dine-and-dash with 15 people.
My dad told her to check the sleeve as he had seen me put the $300 in. She replied that she had and only saw the $20. He told her to check again. Things escalated. My dad is a bit of a large, aggressive guy. The staff got their largest waiter to confront him. All this was going down 10 feet from the exit in a room full of diners.
Things got louder and more heated until, finally, the waitress looked into the sleeve and saw the money. Her response was "Oh". That's it. We wrote a letter to corporate and got all our money back, plus another $100 in gift cards.
46. Crying Over Broken Glass
I was at Teton Steakhouse in Jackson. They had a buffet salad set up. My gal found broken glass in her salad by biting down on it. We freaked and got the manager. He just took the plate and walked away like it was no big deal. He didn’t even check the salad buffet.
So, we warned other patrons before they tried to serve themselves from it. We just sat there the rest of the time because we couldn’t trust anything after that. The server charged us for the entire bill.
47. We Made A Clean Break
My favorite Chinese food place somehow got a huge piece of brass scrubber buried in my fiancé's lo-mein. She almost threw up and cried. I brought it back and I asked for a refund. They offered to remake the food, but I refused and left extremely upset. I knew that I would never be able to order food from there again.
The place was going downhill, and that was the final straw. They ended up eventually closing.
48. Management Was Out Of Order
I went to a restaurant with my wife, and we both placed our order of chicken parma with the waitress. My wife’s food came out in 20 or so minutes. She finished hers, and I was still waiting. I asked the same waitress if my food was on its way. She told me I didn’t order any food. I asked her why would I come to a restaurant and not order food?
She was insistent that I didn’t order anything. There was a lot of back and forth. The manager finally came out and took her side. I voiced again why would I come to a restaurant and not order anything. After they were being persistent, I knew what I had to do. I said, “I’ll be back in five minutes”.
I walked next door to McDonald’s, ordered a Happy Meal, came back, sat at the table, and ate it in front of them.
49. Getting Physical Over Some Fish
A few years ago, I went to a restaurant with a friend. She was considering ordering a dish she never had before, but before she did, she explained to the waiter that she was severely allergic to shellfish, as in, she could go into a seizure and lose her life; she was very clear about this.
The waiter went back to the kitchen and said the chef could make it without any fish in it, so she ordered it. When it came, it had fish in it. My friend sent it straight back to the kitchen and ordered something safe that she'd had before. When the bill came, they had charged us for both her meals.
She reminded them what had happened and said she wasn't paying for the returned meal. The waiter started arguing with her, so we put the correct amount of cash on the table and stood up to leave. But that wasn't the end of it.
The waiter started shouting across the restaurant in a foreign language, and a man who we assume was the owner came running out of the kitchen, grabbed my friend by the arm, and barricaded the front door so we couldn't leave, all the while yelling at us in a different language.
We eventually managed to get the door open while he kicked my friend, and he followed us onto the street. He started yelling after us that we were thieves, while people stopped and looked at us. He again ran after us and grabbed my friend's arm. She got her phone out and started calling the authorities.
He then left her alone and went back to the restaurant, and we filed a report.
50. A Showstopper At The Mall
We used to frequent an Italian restaurant that was on a paved mall and had outdoor dining. It was the type where they'd put tables on the mall part and just put a rope around the area to designate it as restaurant space. We were facing out towards the mall, and there was a table of suits—around ten or so—enjoying their dinner at the table that backed straight onto the mall.
An old toothless overweight woman ambled over, lifted her shirt, and placed her enormous and very saggy bosom onto each shoulder of one of the suits at the table while cackling with glee. It took a moment for the guy to realize that it wasn't in fact someone's hands on his shoulders.
I don't know whether that was the best “dinner and a show” I've had or the absolute worst.