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Southern Cafe in Seaside

Discussion in 'Dining and Food' started by WJL, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    We went to Southern Cafe in Seaside last week and really enjoyed it (90% of our food was excellent as was the service). So, maybe it takes a while for a restaurant (any business) to get up to speed and to become consistent. It's still to soon to tell for Southern Cafe, but if you have some $ to spend (it's expensive) it's worth trying. We had an appetizer with a fried shell filled with southern greens and some cheese with a horseradish sauce and a fruit (mango?) salsa. It was beautifully displayed on the plate and was excellent, though we wish we had more horseradish sauce and we asked for more salsa.

    We also had a grouper sandwich that came with a salad, also excellent.

    the kids meal was a hamburger, great french fries and the meat was very good. A good price for a kids meal.

    The fried green tomatoes were excellent.

    We sent back the fried calamari because we couldn't taste the calamari because the breading was too thick. The waitress said the chef (wisely) agreed with us and realized the cooks were using too much breading. They were appropriately apologetic.

    The server was very kind (a young woman who was here on an exchange program) and competent. The service was slow (you don't want to be in a hurry when you're there, and we weren't in a hurry because we were on vacation at the beach) but that wasn't her fault. Could be that the food is cooked fresh and that takes a while.

    The food is presented in an innovative way -- pretty to look at. The bathrooms are very nice and the general decor is clean and sparce.

    In short, I'd go again when I want a good, well-presented, somewhat pricy meal (and I wouldn't hesitate to send back something that wasn't cooked right for the price).

    I recommend trying it for something different.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2006
  2. hutch

    hutch Beach Lover

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    Paula;

    I hope you are right. I believe the same people that run the Old Fish House in Pensacola which is excellent run the Southern Cafe.

    We went with a party of four on the 4th and the crab cakes were horrible.
    The service was bad. We have not been back. The manager ran all of the parents and kids out of the restroom area that were using it during the 4th concert. It kind of piss me off so I said something to the manager about it.
    Some of these people just spent $$$ in his cafe and now they were being told the kids could not use the restrooms. Give me a break! Maybe, they were having startup problems. Hope they do better. But, I will not be back.
    Bring Shades back.

    the hutch
     
  3. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    Hutch: I hope I'm right, too. It's very important for any business to show consistency in quality. It's Ok if once in a while something isn't right (e.g., the calamari) because nothing and no one is perfect all the time, but they should kindly apologize and (even better) make it up to the people in some way (e.g., an extra appetizer, dessert, etc.). People remember such kindnesses and sometimes a mistake can actually build customer loyalty moreso than a good and uneventful meal because that's a test of a business's commitment to quality and to their customers. As for not letting people use the restroom, especially people who just ate there, that's not good citizenship (unless the people were loud or rude or holding up other customers in some way). For now, I'll consider your situation part of the restaurant's learning curve and I'll go back a few more times to see how the food and service is, wishing them the best. I come from a family of small business owners so I do what I can to support small businesses (when deserved, of course).
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2006
  4. hutch

    hutch Beach Lover

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    Well said Paula. I own two small successfully business for over 23 years and we are not perfect, but all my employees are trained to do what ever it takes to assist and help our customers. In our type of business we have to deal with rude people everyday, just the type of business we are in, a degree in psychology helps, but most of it is good old common sense, treat people the way you want to be treated. I was just pissed cause I have a weakness for little kids and animals. And they were not busy. You are absolute correct in your statement. We will give them another chance.
     
  5. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    And I hope someone from Southern Cafe is reading this thread. Friendly, welcoming, and efficient service; making up for the inevitable infrequent mistake (especially by giving an extra appetizer or some treat if there's a problem, especially since the prices are relatively high and people should expect high quality -- doing so says "we really care and stand by our quality"), and food fconsistently as good and as beautiful as it was when we were there last week would certainly create great word-of-mouth marketing!
     
  6. Seagrovedude

    Seagrovedude Beach Lover

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    Not that there is anything wrong with Robert Davis...but I don't think I would get in to bed with him.
     
  7. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    Hmmm. I don't know Robert Davis and haven't received an invitation yet, but I am very happy with platonic relationships should one develop (not looking for anything more intimate).
     
  8. bamabeachbum

    bamabeachbum Beach Fanatic

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    Hate to here that about southern, We went back in June and had a wonderful experience there. Food was very good, and service was outstanding.
     
  9. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    My friends in town just had lunch at Southern Cafe. They really enjoyed the food. The service was very bad.
     
  10. muy bueno

    muy bueno Beach Comber

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    I had a liquid lunch there last week and it was so delicious.
     
  11. potatovixen

    potatovixen Beach Fanatic

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    I've been meaning to go there, but after hearing about your experience, Hutch, I'm not too sure. Do you remember the manager's name, by any chance? I'm just curious because I used to work with someone who left to go manage Great Southern Cafe. If it's the same person, I'm not really surprised at quality of service.
     
  12. John

    John Beach Fanatic

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    We had lunch at Great Southern a few days ago. Service was fine. Food was OK but not great. A little on expensive side.
     
  13. Chickpea

    Chickpea Beach Fanatic

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    We had brunch there one day this summer - food was, across the board, disappointing. I looked around and saw that many people still had substantial uneaten portions left on their plates (not a good sign). Service was medicore but most importantly (for me!) coffee was awful. I would probably need to be dragged there again. Hate saying this because I for one would like to support as many places as possible - so for now, am happily spending my hard earned $$$ at places where food is consistently good and service is too! And luckily we still have some choices :D
     
  14. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    We had such a nice lunch there in August. We thought all was well done, including service, except for the fried calamari which we returned. However, consistency is what makes or breaks a business (and I assume especially a food business). So, sounds like Southern Cafe needs to work out the kinks very soon in order to stay in business. I'll probably go again next time I'm SoWal to see if I have another good meal there or not. But I trust the comments from others on this board, so it sure seems like consistency is a problem with Southern Cafe and it has now been in business long enough to know what it needs to do and come through consistently for customers. Especially since word-of-mouth advertising and repeat business will be critical to its success, especially off season.
     
  15. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    Judging by the empty restaurant everytime I drive or walk by, I would say that being consistant is difficult when you don't have any customers on which to practice. My guess is that it won't be long before you see it replaced with a casual restaurant, or something altogether different.
     
  16. OnMackBayou

    OnMackBayou Beach Lover

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    Maybe a restaurant like Shades would work in that spot.:twisted:
     
  17. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    Oh well... I enjoyed our appetizers and grouper sandwich, as well as the presentation, very much. But consistency is critical...
     
  18. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    I bet you are right. Shades is very casual, and the food is decent as are the prices. Shades would probably work very well in that spot.

    Cafe Rendevouz doesn't seem to have any problem staying busy, and the food is great, as is the service -- very inviting.
     
  19. Beach Bimmer

    Beach Bimmer Beach Fanatic

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    Had breakfast (Seaside DSA meeting) and lunch at Great Southern today. The Pensacola Pulled Pork sandwich with gouda cheese grits had outstanding flavor, and there was no extra charge for the side order. Service was prompt, and both the owner (Bob Pride) and his right hand (Maggie) introduced themselves and made sure we were well taken care of. I feel they're moving in the right direction now...

    BB
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2006
  20. madjack

    madjack Beach Crab

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    I sort of feel the urge to stand up for Great Southern Cafe in Seaside. It's good. My friends ate there 3 times last week and wanted to go back again. Shades was so tired, and its atmosphere was intimidatingly conservative (Fox News running 24/7 can make you lose your appetite). People who miss Shades should still be able to go there; its owner told me that they were just moving down 30-A, to a bigger space.
     

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