Croce’s – Take Two

I went to Croce’s again Thursday night to hear Allison Adams Tucker sing. The food was memorable in a less than good way, but it’s not the food that stuck with me. It’s the service. These journal entries walk you through the night.

7-1-10                  7:10pm

I am so very unhappy right now. I feel trapped. Pinned in a corner.

I came to Croce’s tonight to hear Allison sing and to eat my comped goat cheese salad. I sat down, opened the menu, and noticed there is a minimum order of $25 per person that is absolutely NOT okay to not meet (per my server.) M- is NOT here tonight so my salad won’t be free. I’m extremely unhappy.

I’m a good customer and I don’t appreciate being told (more like informed) that if I’m just going to drink cocktails all night and take up space I have to pay at least $25 to sit at a table. In other words, you’re poor therefore you don’t deserve to sit or be here.

I feel like crying. There are tears in my face. I haven’t ordered yet. I just want to leave. I just want to take my poor ass elsewhere and disappear. It’s really not okay to make someone feel this way.

Message: You’re not welcome here. You’re not good enough.

I don’t like crying in bathrooms.

Action urge: Leave

Real want: To stay and be accepted and not have to fight


  • Leave
  • Pay $25
  • See if I can sit somewhere else

7-1-10                  7:35pm

Ever have those days when you find yourself crying in some random public bathroom wondering how you got there again? Today is one of those days.

I managed to mop up my face and am now waiting on the waitress who’s ignoring me. Her eye makeup is so outrageous that she’s hard to look at and when she’s bitching at me it’s worse.

I’m cold and I’m having stomach pains and I’d really like to know where poor people are allowed to sit so I can order. I wish I drank. I need something. Half a Xanax may be in order.


Maybe a whole. Waitress said I can sit here. It’s fine. And I said it’s not. You just said it’s not. And she said, “I get what you’re doing. You’re a writer.” And I said, “No, actually, you don’t get what I’m doing.” She’s being nice now but I don’t want her niceness. You really can’t patch it up with a smile. Hearts don’t mend that quick.


M-’s here now. He straightened everything out.

I’m cold. I took 1mg of Xanax and am only slightly tired. Needed it.

Tonight I was treated very differently based on who they thought I was. At first the waitress was very rude to me. I was the poor person wanting to order less than $25 of food and sit at a table – completely unacceptable. Then I began to write. When she came back she was suddenly nice, for no apparent reason. A fancy looking guy delivered my meal. I took a picture of it and began to eat. Then she came back over.

She asked me who I write for. I told her I write for me. I should’ve told her I’m not allowed to say. She said they (whomever they is) remembered me from last time and didn’t know if I wrote for Yelp or a different site. She asked if I’m a musician. She was being quite friendly. Then she left and I went back to being a normal customer. She was willing to make special accommodations for a reviewer.

You see, she only made one mistake. You suck up to someone you think is important BEFORE bitching at them. Important distinction. She didn’t have a clue who I was when she was firmly advising me I am too poor. But when the pen came out, so did the service. It shouldn’t be that way. Fact is, we don’t know who anyone we interact with really is. So we should be careful how we treat them. I deserve as much respect as the person ordering lobster just because I’m me, because I walked through those doors and I’m your customer. I shouldn’t find myself sobbing in the bathroom trying to figure out what to do.

The music was wonderful.

7-5-10                  1:53am


I really like Croce’s. They’ve got great music and the manager and waitstaff are nice, minus the poor person drama. But I will have a hard time going back there. I don’t like being reminded of my class or put in my place, and I don’t like feeling like I don’t belong. And I didn’t feel that way before this interaction. I felt like I kind of fit in. I was excited to be there, to be a part of it. I made a reservation for the table I wanted, knew exactly what I planned to order, dressed up. Now I know that next time I should just sit at the bar. But I can’t help feeling like it’s the back of the bus. You know? That there they see through what I’ve worked really hard to become (professional, respected, well-dressed) to the little girl in hand-me down clothes watching Cinderella a hundred times just dreaming of being a princess. That’s not fun. It just makes me sad.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

A Good Night – Croce’s & N-

5-24-10                 3:12am

I had an awesome night tonight. For those of you who are always hassling me about not eating healthy, I did. Certainly tastier than a burrito but much more expensive.

I went to Croce’s downtown, had to get out of my house. I got off at the 12th & Imperial trolley stop and asked valets and hostess people along 5th Ave where I could find food and jazz that wouldn’t break the bank. They pointed me there. I’m glad they did.

It was such a great experience. I had a table in the corner right by the piano. The waitress was attentive and helpful. The food was amazing. I couldn’t figure out just what to order since I don’t eat most of what was on the menu. Not because it’s weird food. I just don’t eat much. So I settled on the goat cheese salad. New things are scary to me but I tried and loved it. And, save for leaving off the onions, I tried every part of it. Even the beets and cucumber.

Note to self: I LOVE fried balls of goat cheese!

I overheard the person next to me order potato soup, which I didn’t see on the menu, and I love potatoes so I ordered that too. It was more like puree than soup but it was good. And she didn’t look at me like I was crazy when I asked if I was supposed to eat the leeks in the middle or if they were just for decoration.

Much more soup than it looks like here. Warm & filling.

I also got a piece of cheesecake. I got strawberries on the top instead of their fruit topping that had orange liquor in it. I don’t do alcohol. It was so divine. Tiny bites of delicious cheesecake and strawberries with my eyes closed to good jazz music. Amazing.

Mmmmm... Heaven on a plate

Even the silverware intrigued me. The forks are anorexic but the spoons make up for it.

And as I sat there I watched the staff. They interacted and joked with each other and with the musicians. They smiled and laughed. Most of them didn’t seem to hate being there. The manager was welcoming guests and the musician introduced him as a fellow musician. The musician gave props to the bartenders. It was a cool environment. The team worked.

It was very different than my experience at Bing Crosby’s where nobody talks, the wait staff is invisible and there is a general attitude that they’re better than the customer. At Croce’s it wasn’t like that. It was warm. I felt at home. And when I left I felt full of something other than French fries and regret. I missed Sacha though. The music tonight was good. It was fun and upbeat, but she’s powerful. The two together might make me melt. ;)

I wrote in my journal, “For $32 and a tip tonight I got a goat cheese salad, potato soup, cheesecake with strawberries, a Sprite, the perfect corner table, great service & some awesome jazz music. (big sigh) The happiness is worth it.”

When I left Croce’s, I took the trolley back to East County and met N-. We went to Fridays. I had a strawberry lemonade and some mashed potatoes. I love potatoes. He talked about cars and airplanes and school and family. Mostly I just listened. And I wondered what he thought of the listening.

As I listened to his thoughts about school and the future and his schedule I thought about how different we are. I didn’t really have anything to say. At least nothing that was relevant. And I had taken some meds on the trolley so I wouldn’t throw up that were making me tired. I literally said almost nothing, except for something about the origin of blue raspberry and asking a few questions. (AT – I have nothing to offer.) I was witnessing his stream of consciousness. He seems so happy. And determined. And figured out. I felt like an observer.

I like N-. He’s like the perfect guy. Family-oriented, studying to be a doctor, loves music, goes to church, doesn’t drink, sings. I don’t know if he dances. He even lives in east county. Go figure. I don’t want to feel so separate. I don’t want to feel so empty.

Tonight was a good night.

©Michelle Routhieaux 2010