Monday, July 23, 2007

Colorado Kitchen's Chef Responds to Your Comments

Thanks for your comment and more importantly thanks for the great food you provide!

"Hi, this is Gillian, Chef at CK. I was surfing the web to see who it was that snapped a camera phone shot as we opened a few Sundays ago. We were all wondering what that was all about. I'm glad so many of you love my restaurant. We try really hard to make it a great experience for everyone. If you hear me yelling back there. I'm yelling at a server to hurry and take you your food. Or Robin is yelling at someone to get them to greet the folks at the door. We've come a long way from the first days. We have a team of really competent folks now. However, sometimes they get overwhelmed by how many people are in the room. If I appear grouchy it is because I do all of the cooking. ALL OF IT. And I do all of it from scratch. I was not going to write but when someone said that my potatoes came from a box I had to say something. I boil 17 potatoes and then mash them, stirring in hot cream and butter. I do it. Not a prep cook. I make all of the sauces and I'm the one behind the stove. Yes I have had to leave the kitchen and talk to irate customers. I remember anonymous #1. He wanted just half a mimosa. But we don't do that. There was a misunderstanding. The server sold him the whole thing. They drank just about all of it. I agreed to take it off of the bill. But he continued to rant and rave and swear the server was a liar. She started sobbing. I remember asking him to calm down. But he continued to stomp up and down and carry on. I asked him to leave and not bother paying for anything. In these situations I ask people not to come back. I know some of you guys know that some people are looking for a bad time. Not that Anon was. But we can see them when they come in. Nonetheless, we try really hard to make a great experience for everyone. As for our prices. Gosh. I think they're pretty reasonable....only two things over 20. We've got a great casserole for about 10 bucks. I can barely eat the whole thing. If you've had a bad time or a long wait, try us for Sat brunch or Thur nights (burgers) it's not so busy. But don't every accuse me of cooking processed food. That is just not true. Those are fighting words. I take food very seriously. I use 100% jumbo lump in my crab cakes. I soak my chicken for fried chicken in buttermilk for 24 hours so it is as tender as can be. I'm very serious about this and I take none of it lightly. You will have good food at CK. If you insist on having something that's not on the menu like 1/2 mimosa, or a grilled cheese sandwhich for your culture-deprived child then you might not leave as happy as the other 40 people in the room."


Reuben said...

I went to Colorado Kitchen this weekend, and upon leaving, told Gillian (if I may be so informal) that if I could give her a Nobel Prize for the buscuits and grits ( for starters)-she would sure enough have one-heck, two.... In fact, maybe I should begin working on that now!

Anonymous said...

I still maintain - the food is great, the prices are fine, the service is atrocious.

The Chef is a great chef, but far too defensive.

(And I note, this happens EVERY time Colorado Kitchen get discussed online. She pops in and I think it rather kills any chance of a discussion.)


Golden Silence said...

I can't dismiss this place yet...I still have yet to try it.

The food sounds wayyyy too good (and they were featured on the "Hungry Detective") to pass up on.

If she says she handles all the cooking herself, no wonder she comes off as "stressed." I'd be, too.

petworth princess said...

Well, speak to this since you're speaking up: the last time we went the host wouldn't seat us because we were only a couple and the tables were only for foursomes. So, we waited. And waited. Another couple came in. He told them the same thing. So, we waited and this new couple waited. And waited some more. A third couple came in, same story. More waiting, line creeping out of the door now. Tables still empty but no one being seated, no movement to pay a bill and vacate the place from the two-fer tables. Then a group came in and they were moved in front of us and seated. Even when that group was seated there were several tables available but, we were a couple, so, no seating. So we left. We weren't angry, we were hungry.

I think your policy is dumb. You lost two paying customers in hopes you would get four paying customers. What's the old saying, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?

Not saying we won't be back, but we aren't as excited about your place as we were prior to that experience.

odentex said...

Princess: "Not saying we wouldn't go back"? You shouldn't encourage this rather unfortunate DC service attitude now exhibited by so many small restaurants -- "oh, any old service is okay!" Just as with Domku, it sounds as if CK needs some serious front-of-the-house help. Bad service should = no business. We are not coming over for Sunday diner at Gillian's house, we are paying customers and we need to patronize restaurant that provide good service.

Secondly, "we only have two entrees over $20"??? WOO HOO. This is laughable, Gillian. DC is like an alternate universe. "Under $20" is not "affordable" unless you are talking about an *entire meal*. While costs in DC are undoubtably higher than a lot of locales around the country, they aren't that high. So, you want us to suffer lazy service and pay three times the price? No thanks. If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, the worst part of moving to DC is the overall poor quality of food, service, and value in the local restaurants. It's depressing, and it doesn't matter how good one of those variables are if the other two are lousy, because it is always cheaper and better to make your own grub.

Anonymous said...

Poor poor Gillian - your posting is enough to make me want to run away from your establishment, not toward it.

In fact, I find it quite laughable that you appear to find it a privilege for patrons to frequent your restaurant. The lesson you consistenly fail to learn is that service is key.

Markus said...

I guess I'm the weirdo, but Gillian's response makes me want to run to Colorado Kitchen as fast as I can and spend as much money as I can to support her establishment.

As for prices, DC is not cheap and running a profitable (or even a break-even) restaurant is very very hard. You pay extra for food at good restaurants because someone is doing a better job with the ingredients and culinary techniques than you can do at home. That's why a dish costs $20 bucks with $8 of ingredients.

I've never been to CK, but it just rocketed up the list of places I need to check out ASAP.

Anonymous said...

The most awesome part of her response is the culture-deprived children part with the grilled cheese! Love that. And geez, Odentex, when was the last time you were at Domku? The service is much better now.

Christina said...

I don't know if Gillian's participating kills any chance of a discussion -- the discussion is going on. I think it's a good discussion when someone who is actually a party to the whole thing can jump in, in addition to the anonymous folks out there.

Odentex, really -- for DC, the prices aren't *that* bad. It's not Houston prices. But we're not in Houston.

And as for the service, while I'd be the last one to defend it or try to justify it (because I've been there often enough to see it in action,) I appreciate the negative comments more from people who have actually experienced it. Wanna go out to dinner? ;-) We should have a Prince of Petworth night.

futurepetworthian said...

cant wait to go to CK!!! sounds delish.

odentex said...

Christina: I'm the first to admit I am a cheapskate... but please note that I was reacting to the Chef Gillian's incredulity at people complaining about her prices since "only two" entrees were over $20 (hurrumph!). True, I'm used to GOOD entrees in the $10 range, but I really wouldn't mind spending in the $15-20 range quite as much if the service wasn't bad. At least get two out of the big three right.

And you are right, I have to reserve judgment on CK and I plan to check it out with Lil' Gal, but some of the stories (like not seating people in empty four tops) sound disturbingly familiar. As the anonymous poster said, the attitude seems to be that we are privileged to be able to eat at some of these places and should accept poor service as part of the price. Maybe CK is getting a bad rap? I dunno. But the conventional wisdom about DC service hasn't let me down so far!

And Markus, restaurant do not have special culinary pixie dust that makes their food somehow better or tastier than what you or I can make. The fact is that I have been very disappointed by the generally *low* quality of restaurant food in DC vs. price. Compared to what I (or more superbly, Lil' Gal) can make ourselves most restaurant food is frankly very average. Provided you get fresh quality ingredients, learn just a little, and (most importantly) have the time, cooking is not any tougher than figuring out how to put together an IKEA desk. There are sometimes indecipherable (or missing) instructions, it sometimes takes a little guesswork, but usually if you follow the instructions and don't leave out some important parts the results are consistent.

$8 a plate in costs? Really? Are you orderin' the 4" tenderloin with extra lobster and caviar sauce? ;)

I admitted in my previous comment that the costs for rent, labor, supplies, and other overhead is higher in DC; but, with the exception of commercial rent (which I have no sense of in DC), some of those fixed costs would have to be pretty extraordinary to reach these prices. The price of an entree has a lot to do with what the market will bear. If it is tasty and the service is prompt and friendly, then we have a deal — otherwise, what is the point? I have a skillet, I know where the catfishes are... (in the bayou).

I'll tell you what the point is to me: going to a restaurant is not just to have yummy food, it is to relax and not have to worry about prep, cooking, or cleanup. I'm paying for the whole experience, not just the food. It's good to see that Gillian at least recognizes that in her response — I'm curious about the follow-through. If a restaurant can't deliver the whole experience then it is falling down on the job.

Anonymous: the most recent Domku experience I mentioned elsewhere, with the wrong orders, forgotten items, and lengthy wait, was less than two weeks ago. We've been there three times in the last six weeks when there were more than 4 or 5 four-tops and a couple of two-tops, and every time has meant excessive waits for drinks and food. This is all about poorly trained and/or overburdened wait staff. If Kiera had a floor manager then that person could train, assist, and keep an eye on the house because she can't do that when she's standing over a flame. Even the lowliest waitron-in-training knows to get the drinks out, keep the glasses topped, and get the appetizers on the line. It seem to me all that Domku needs is front-of-the-house help to take it to the next level because her menu is a great departure and the food is consistently very good.

Ultimately I have faith that local businesses will realize that to get and keep patrons they need to work on providing a quality experience and not just tasty grub. Because even the most masochistic of the commentors here are unlikely to be amused by a repeated lack of service.

leeindc said...

I agree with christina, its good that Gillian chimes in at all since most places would likely ignore/dismiss the discussion. I have had some trouble at CK in terms of the wait and not haveing the proper number of people for available tables. I have also heard her yell. However, the food is great and compared to other places with food of that quality below $20 in DC is a great deal. I'm mean you can spend as much at TGIF. I have 4 kids, we eat there sometimes and they eat the great food like us, not cheese sandwiches. If anything she should move a few blocks north to be closer to me :)

amyc said...

I heard that the food is great, but Gillian should just say upfront that this is not a child friendly place. I have heard horror stories from several families. While I would like to check out CK, it is not really near the top of my list because of so many bad reviews from friends. The negative reviews mostly all dealt with service issues rather than food issues.

On another note - we went to Blacksalt with friends for my husband's birthday. I could not recommend a better restaurant. Quality service and excellent food. It is mainly a fish and seafood place. I think there was 1 steak dish. The restaurant is not cheap, but not crazy expensive. It is located on McArthur Blvd --- in the pallisade neighborhood.

Happy Dining Everyone!

st said...

Listen, here's the bottom line. CK has great (I mean really great) food, but the owner does not like kids in the place (it used to say on the table tents that they didn't want to have to deal with any crap from kids), and literally every time I have been in there (four or five times now) I have witnessed her have some kind of confrontation with a customer. Maybe I've just got bad timing, or maybe her store is some kind of gravity well for pain-in-the-a** customers, but I think she is maybe kidding herself when she blames all of these comments on haters and bad faith. She is clearly a combative, take no s**t personality, and takes offense really fast.

But oh my god can she cook. Go to CK, spend lots of money, just don't get uppity and don't bring the kids. That's all.

Anonymous said...

believe it or not, i love kids. but can those of us who dont have them have someplace we can go without little (fill in the name) running around?

odentex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

"And Markus, restaurant do not have special culinary pixie dust that makes their food somehow better or tastier than what you or I can make."

Heh, they do, if by "pixie dust" you mean "ten tons of butter." I watch cooking shows and I am just amazed (and sometimes a little frightened) by how much butter is used in everything. And you know, butter does make everything better.

I also agree with you that good service is very much a part of the dining experience. It shouldn't neglected. That seating situation would have driven me insane, as a frequently solo diner. I love CK but I've just heard these stories too much, and experienced them myself too often -- not outright bad service in my case, but just distracted service. And then other times they can be sweet as pie.

Since CK is close enough to where I live that I just consider it my "I don't feel like cooking" dining-out option, I might have lower expectations service-wise than if I were really making a night of it. And man...burger night..

It's not in Petworth but another one of my favorite restaurants is Kotobuki, a cheap (but good! Really!) sushi place in Palisades, somewhere over not far from Georgetown. It's not reasonably Metro-accessible at all, unfortunately, but I think it's worth a trip for sushi that won't kill you. Interestingly, it's a floor above what I've heard is the BEST sushi restaurant in D.C., Makoto. But that place is super, super spendy (I've read. I've not got the scratch to visit, myself!)

Christina said...

When I said "sushi that won't kill you" in my previous message, I meant "sushi that won't kill your pocketbook" -- I'm not trying to imply that other sushi establishments around the city are serving bad fish. Sorry for typing too fast!

odentex said...

Christina: Does the circula-marator bus go anywhere near this sushi yer speakin' of?

I love the circula-marator bus 'cause it'll take you right to M Street in Georgetown and then drop you off at Pennsylvania and 25th (24th?) near Trader Joe's so you can get all of your yuppy-type shopping in one big swoop.

There is also a lot of daytime excitement on this bus. An entertaining singin' feller repeatedly warbled the chorus of "Dixie" in the back of the bus one afternoon until the bus driver could take no more and put him out on K Street -- presumably to continue the show for assembled lobbyists.

I [[heart]] the circula-marator bus... but then again, I generally [[heart]] buses.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who doesn't think that the food that CK serves at those prices is nothing short of an astonishing deal is barely competent to even complain about a McDonald's much less this restaurant. I have eaten there about 10 times and yes, the service isn't Citronelle. But what alot of folks above are missing is that you don't go there for the service. You go there for the clearly from-scratch, delectable food of a style that lamentably is disappearing. You dopes have a diamond in your midst and you are worrying about the setting.

Gillian, don't change a thing...those of us who have toiled in the trenches get it and will keep coming back.

petworth princess said...

Who wants to have to go thru a lot of BS at a restaurant where they are PAYING to be served and fed??! Good food or no, allowing three couples to stand and wait rather than seat them at the available tables because a group of four MIGHT arrive, is just crazy IMO. That's missed money, potentially missed future business from those couples and then potentially missed business from the people those couples tell about the experience. If that's how Gillian wants to run her business, then good luck. But hers is not the only eatery in town and so, I will likely spend my money where I am seated promptly, treated nicely and fed well.

Remember, the soup nazi lost his recipes....

Christina said...

odentex, I'm afraid that particular bus doesn't go up into Palisades, I don't think. The sushi restaurant's website is at

I know that the restaurant is bus-accessible, as nearly anything in the city is; I'm not sure if it's worth the time and trouble it would take to get there on a bus, though. But I like the place a lot.

Anonymous said...

The D bus goes up to MacArthur.

Invisible Sun said...

I am grateful we have CK in the neighborhood. It is unique, good prices, cool servers, great wine/beer list, quirky decor. The only problems I have had (pretty much every time) is that CK lacks a host(-ess). Otherwise, I'd say it's a great place.

Anonymous said...

petworth princess...I have experienced the wait for a two top while the four tops are open at CK and having worked in restaurants for years it doesn't bother me much. Why not? Because I assume that in Gillian's experience it is something she feels she needs to do to run her place properly. She is, after all, in business to make food for her customers and presumably she wants to make some money while she does it. It is more than a little bit patronizing to assume that she doesn't know her own business. And the attitude that 'I pay so I expect' et cetera, et cetera is part of the problem. Eating in a truly excellent restaurant isn't a simple quid pro quo...and in a great restaurant it is more like a relationship. So maybe the next time you go there, think about the quality of the food you are getting as ask yourself if it's worth the 'price' both on the menu and the minor delays associated with the seating policy.

Invisible Sun said...

'Christina said... I don't know if Gillian's participating kills any chance of a discussion -- the discussion is going on.'

Christina is right. Having the subject of a discussion, here, the chef and owner of the restaurant, participate in our chat does not 'kill' it.

I suppose someone who wanted to talk behind someone's back wouldn't like it, but otherwise, it makes for a more robust discussion for everyone to have chef here respond.

Anonymous said...

For those couples who were waiting for a 2 top to open up, why didn't you turn to the couple behind you and offer to join up? It's done all the time in Europe. Who knows, you might actually meet someone interesting?

Sarah said...

Invisible Sun - I think having the chef here defending herself does kill the discussion. And no, it's not because I want to "talk behind her back," it's because she says the same thing, over and over and over. It always results in the same conversation. Take a look at what happened on the Post restaurant chat, or any of the local food forums the times she's gotten on her self-righteous soapbox in those spots.

She starts with "You people don't deserve my great food. It's great." That's followed by her ignoring the general comments on poor service, then badmouthing the specific customer who complained. Oh, and then another round of "My food is great and you are uncultured if you don't appreciate it."

People then jump in on one side or another and it all becomes about how great it is that she, the oh-so-high-and-mighty chef, is willing to address little complaints we peons may have.

In my opinion, the facts of the matter are, there have always been front of the house problems there, and the food has always been good. I made a decision not to go there any more because of poor treatment at the hands of both the front of the house and the chef herself. I think that it's a bad idea to go there because it leads people to believe that it's ok to be mistreated. It's not. Service staff don't have to be servile - I don't expect bowing and scraping. I do expect polite, friendly, and efficient.

I know she's a perfectionist when it comes to her food and that she believes chefs are artists. It's a way to see it, and not something I feel the need to argue about. That's what usually gets people up in arms about Colorado Kitchen.

What gets me up in arms? The fact that if you say one bad thing about CK anywhere on the internet she will find it, post a rant about how great CK is and how deluded and culture-deprived you are, and turn it into "oh look, the unhappy diner with the unrealistic expectations is attacking the poor put-upon chef again."

Christina said...


I agree that I've heard these types of comments from Gillian Clark before. But, isn't her point of view a good thing to know? Is it less worthy of being expressed than the views of diners? At least a person knows where she stands -- there are people who would read what she wrote and think "where does she get off? I'm never going there" And others who say "eh, whatever, it's good food." Those are both valid responses (not that anyone needs my validation.)

So, this seems like a robust discussion. I feel like your frustration, maybe, is that she clearly doesn't agree with the concerns that have been expressed? I can understand that, if I'm reading you right. What is frustrating to me as a fan of the restaurant is that the discussion doesn't ever seem to result in change, according to others (I actually think the service is better than it has been, but I haven't been there for Sunday brunch in a while)

But again, this is all good information for a diner to know -- the owner's perspective, the diner's perspective, etc. I like to know what I'm getting, or not getting, when I go to a place.

May I recommend just one more restaurant? Creme Cafe at 1322 U Street (just a few stops down on the Green Line) has excellent food and a ridiculously good brunch (with crowds to match, I'm afraid.)The portion sizes are extremely large, which may be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.

I find it noisy sometimes and the seats are uncomfortable. But those are small complaints. Sometimes they run out of the most popular dishes, but when I was there last the chef gave us a free fresh fruit plate to make up for it.

Sarah said...

I'm sure her point of view is a good thing to know. And we have heard the exact same rant from her with minor variations, every time CK is discussed anywhere since, uh, 2002? 2003? It's gotten old.

My particular frustration is not that she doesn't agree with the concerns, it's that she doesn't address them at all. Pull the string, out comes the canned speech, just like a talky-doll.

For example, the day that was my personal last straw: bad service, a food item that came out wrong, a server who purposely ignored us, a messed-up check, yelled at across the room from the kitchen when we asked to speak to the manager. We wrote a letter after, but she never responded.

She thinks good food is enough, and that her food is perfect. But it's not enough. Restaurants need food and service.

Invisible Sun said...

Sarah- thanks for your comments. I understand that you feel wherever CK is discussed, Chef will find it and say something, and that you think she repeats herself. That may be tedious at best, but I don't think it 'kills' any type of discussion. Just look at how much talk this generated. Chef does seem pretty intense, but I think I would be, too, if I did something passionately (i.e., home cooking) and someone disparaged or maligned me. And Chef did address new issues here. For example, her side of the 'Mimosa incident'. One may not agree with her, but there are two sides to each story, and I am glad we got hers.

petworth princess said...

Anonymous poster who addressed me: Gillian can run her business anyway she likes obviously, I guess it's working for her...but look at all the complaints here and elsewhere about the restaurant, her attitude, the service. She stays in business because some people have decided they would rather pay to eat good food, service be damned. So, she has a market share, I guess.

As for the wait, we didn't wait for 3 mins and then roll out, we gave it a good 25 mins. That's a long time when you are hungry and waiting and you see tables before you empty that aren't earning your dollars or the dollars of the fictional 4-some it was being held available for at the time. And we did ask the couple behind us, and while friendly and we all chatted and laughed about the wait, they weren't interested in sharing and what were to do, insist they sit with us?

Bottomline is this: I am not independently wealthy; I work for my money. So, when I spend it I try to get the best value for my dollar. As someone said earlier, a restaurant experience is not *just* about the food, it's about the EXPERIENCE. So, I repeat, who wants to go thru a lot of BS to be served and fed? Not I, but, if you do, good eats to you.

:::drops the mic:::

Prince of Petworth said...

"Drops the Mic" was absolutely badass. Nicely done!

Petworth Royalty said...

Maybe I've been extremely lucky. Every time I've been to CK, the food has been excellent and the service with minimal to no waits for a table. (We eat late.) I love the place, and I have enough friends in the restaurant business to know it's a very tough, competitive business. CK's prices are not too steep.

And, hey, even Domku's service has been much better since Eric Evans stopped cooking one dish at a time.

But then again, maybe I'm extremely lucky.

CuriousGrrl said...

I am the loathsome commentor who said the potatoes tasted like they came from a box and I STAND BY that comment. Thanks for your recipe, but it wasn't needed. Regardless of what you put in there, the night I came they tasted terrible. The restaurant was not busy yet we still had crap service, I saw our food sit in the window waiting for nearly five minutes while our server was completely MIA. Additionally, the portions were riduculously small regardless of price.

These are my impressions and no matter the length of your defensive missive they are still my opinion. So take those "fighting words" for what they are worth. Your rebuttal of the constructive criticism regarding people's experiences at your restaurant as posted on the original thread just furthers the prevalent rumors I continually hear, and you've now confimed, that you are an over sensitive prima donna who can't take criticism. Here is a suggestion: if you are so in the weeds from the volume at your restaurant, get a sous chef to assist you or is your cooking so spectacular that no one could possible assist in the creation of your magic?

Anonymous said...

I called to ask if they delivered. having just moved from NYC, where every restaurant does. They nearly took my head off. Just the rudest people I've ever spoken to. I don't what the deal is with that owner but that's not a 'safe' place. As interested as I am in improving the area, I hope this place closes. If did business as they do, i'd be toast.

Gillian Clark said...

Hey folks. Sorry, don't mean to squash the discussion.

But I've got to come on here again just say a few things.

Yes, I google myself (don't you?). Sometimes I find things. I very innocently found this sight (even though I live in Petworth.) But I was really searching Google Images to see who that guy was stepping in one morning and taking a picture and then leaving.

Sometimes on these sites constructive criticism turns into personal attacks. And usually a discussion of food and a restaurant's quality descends into folks saying things about me that just aren't true. Comments are sometimes aggressive and mean-spirited (wishing that I would close down? That's nice). Those are pretty heavy-handed comments, which I don't think are deserved (is that defensive?) When you folks use my name and say some of those nasty things you say…it kind of gives me chills. The tone is such that I think if this internet weren’t between us you’d punch me or something. Yikes. “Listen, Gillian, if you ……” It’s worse than having my mother scold me…and I’ve not even done anything.

I am often I'm not an artist. I just think that cooking comes from all of the things that made me--heritage, hometown, teacher influence--like art. But I'm not an artist. I cook food for people—you can’t get any more blue-collar than that. I have no higher opinion of myself then is normal. I am a big, black woman, with burnt up arms that cooks for a living. But as simple as I perceive myself to be, I think I am allowed an opinion and I should (just like you) have the right to express it.

I also don't think you folks are peons. I really love and enjoy people. Nor do I think that I'm so great and you are unworthy. I cook for you and love it when you clean your plates. I also don't think I'm perfect. I can get better. So can my servers. I am always telling them that (they hate it).

I'm human. And I eat out. I have had great meals and I've had bad ones...just like you. Maybe the difference is that I try and learn from them. I’m always trying to do things better.

As far as kids are you guys know I'm a mother? My daughters were in Elementary School when I started cooking (its hard work, but not as hard as when I taught English to 9th graders at St. Albans) Now they work at the restaurant. Sian gives free coffee to the waiting folks outside during Sunday Brunch (tell me I don't care). My youngest is out there rain or shine.

There is no child-hate...just frustration with parents who let their kids eat ice cream instead of chicken, let them suck on the salt shakers, run into the kitchen on Saturday night, yank down my curtains, run from one end of the room the other, piss all over the floor in the bathroom. Okay, there are times I've left the kitchen to tell a woman that her kid had to stop jumping on the chair so near the window.

I have participated in chats because I think sometimes folks have the wrong notion. It may be the same "rant", but the comments about seating is the same complaint. We have 15 tables. 10 seat two. We have to reserve the tables for larger parties. Otherwise we’d have much longer waits. We often are called to seat 98 people in a 48 seat place. It's challenging. The policy may not be your favorite, but it is fair. We've done it the other way and it was a nightmare. We are just too small to let people sit wherever. We have fed 150 people on a Sunday Brunch…for a daily total of 220 once. Quite a number for 48 seats. Unfortunately from my window, despite our efforts to clear and make room, I’ve seen folks leave. There are many factors out of our control and in many cases we lose a few tables. However, if we sat people where ever and rushed seated customers out the door, we would see many more leaving.

Mashed Potato are wrong. You might not like my potatoes but they are real. We sell a lot of potatoes. Can't explain why yours weren’t good. I’m trying to recall if anyone has ever complained about my potatoes…and I honestly have to say that in 7 years your complaint is the first.

What disappoints me about these chats is that so many of you seem really angry. I am not so naive to think that I can please all of the people all of the time. I wish I could.

I am on here as Gillian Clark and you are on as Anon, Princess, and other cute names. And few of you are fair. I find I am misquoted and you are attributing feelings and opinions that are not mine. And then you accuse me of being defensive. Wouldn’t you react the same way? If I said in my last post that Anon where’s ugly clothes, Princess is thinks her over-processed hair looks good and Odentex has ED, wouldn’t you be defensive? But I would never say that. I don’t think I’ve ever met any of you. Yet you seem to think that you know me…you know why I do what I do and what makes me tick. How is that possible? Isn’t that kind of arrogant? Yet if I try and dispel untruths I’m “killing” the chat. Do you want a chat about food, or do you want an anonymous personal attack board?

We have a great many customers who eat at CK several times a week. Many of these folks have children. And I am sure they don’t read these sites and develop opinions that are influenced by misquotes and miss-directed anger. We know them by name and ours is the place they bring their out of town friends, relatives, future mother-in-law. We have developed friendships with many of them. They’ve come to my daughter’s school performances and graduation.

For those of you who have visited CK and have had a bad time, I invite you to try us again, come by my window and introduce yourselves. Maybe then I can address your issue then and there. I can take care of it, hopefully, immediately. Don’t wait and get home and write me a nasty email…I am unable to be of any assistance at that point. I respond to all letters and emails, but by then it is too late. But to complain when you've never been and will never come—I just don’t see the logic in that.

We have extended this invitation to others who find Sunday Brunch too busy to take. So far none have taken us up on it. Please show us your ideas by being our host or hostess on Sunday. You have to report at 10:45 and you work until 2pm, but you get family meal and $40. Maybe we need a fresh perspective. Maybe you have the solution to make it all work for everyone. Call me at (202) 545-8280.