28 Feb
carinos by Junk Food Critic
carinos, a photo by Junk Food Critic on Flickr.

Carino’s Italian seems to be in just about every neighborhood I visit lately. After passing one a couple of days ago, I was reminded that:

A: I haven’t been there in awhile.
B: I haven’t reviewed that joint either.

Once inside, I am reminded of how much I like the layout. The huge open kitchen takes up the back wall. The slightly darker color tones of the painted walls. The softer lighting. It’s got a nice familiar feel to it. I feel very comfortable in this place.

A brief wait, and I slide into a booth with a couple of friends……
….a few minutes later………we are ……
…..still waiting……

…..Now I have this RULE. If I am sitting somewhere and I don’t get a “hello” or any communication from a server in TEN MINUTES, then I leave.

It takes no more than 10 seconds to swing by and let me know you are “in the weeds”. You don’t have to take my drink or food order, but you must give me some sort sign that you are going to be coming to me at some point.

…….eleven minutes later….. I am still waiting. Mainly because I can not convince the people I am with to leave. They have no desire to try and find some other place. They are tired and just want some food.

I HATE this… but they are my ride…so…

15 minutes later we meet a server. By this time I am boiling, but for some reason, a manager is nowhere to be found. They aren’t THAT busy. The server was polite and apologized for the delay.

Even though I am upset at the wait, there is NO percentage in staring off my relationship with this server with me bitchin’ about the wait.

They DID apologize after all, but it’s at this point that I remember WHY I do not go to Carino’s more often…..


And like a bad dream I also have a flashback to my last visit to this location (Grand Prairie). I had great food but a terribly neglectful server.

I walked by the manager on my way out after dinner, and told him of how disappointing my visit had been.

“Oh, sorry to hear that. Maybe next time will be better.”

I couldn’t believe my ears….

And here I am back in the exact same position. Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

… ten minutes later we get our drinks and our order taken. A basked of fresh bread quickly arrives.

TWENTY MINUTES later our food arrives.

It’s bittersweet because the food is loaded with flavor and seasoning. My parm fries were great and the sammich was crisp,crunchy, and just about perfect.

My other friends dishes looked just as yummy and by the end of our meal we were completely stuffed and satisfied.

BUT – jeez…. our waitress couldn’t have been less interested in our table. At some point a manager passed and saw our empty bread basked AND empty drinks and stopped to scoop them up for refills.

What I notice is Carino’s, like most restaurants, have servers that are usually young twenty-somethings.

This is not a bad thing – but I do see a fair amount of servers that have this routine. They stop at their tables, then walk around the corner and draw their smartphones out of their aprons and spend the next few minutes responding to txt messages or checking their facebook pages.

Then they lose track of time and are startled back to reality and rush back over to pissed off tables.

It’s kinda sad really. I do find their dishes on the “pricey” side of most other casual italian restaurants BUT I absolutely have NO trouble going out of my way or paying for quality.

What I do NOT do is support bad behavior. So despite how much I like their food, I can see it being quite awhile before I feel like putting myself through the drama.
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