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In Dining Blogs

Sometimes genuine East Side attitude turns into self-important apathy.

Hotch-a-don't


Our beloved East Side is a truly special, organically-developed gem. The feeling is laid back, the people are tolerant and life seems more meaningful. I loved living there and now love the visit. As a family, we hang out, have fun and eat almost weekly on the East Side. But, sometimes that genuine East Side attitude turns into self-important apathy.

At great risk of playing the crabby, old man, here goes: Last weekend, we made a visit to the relatively new Hotch-A-Do. It wasn't our first, but it may be our last. Past visits have ranged from the confusing (Do I order at the counter? Is there a hostess?) to the surprising (the food and vibe are good). This particular visit was much more the former.

First of all, there is no host / hostess -- even on a very busy Sunday. So, you're forced to negotiate with other hungry souls as to who was first, who gets the four-top or "When are those people getting up cuz they finished their breakfast 10 minutes ago?!" Sure, they have a sign explaining the laid-back attitude and one should enjoy the atmosphere, but it does little when you're a hungry family of four.

I know what you're thinking right now.

Hotch-A-Do is not a place to take the family (especially with a 3- and 4-year-old). And you may have a point. However, we're not the Perkins Restaurant-types and we want to expose our kids to a better reality than a processed, factory-made meal.

So, there we were, negotiating our place in line while staring down other would-be diners when, suddenly, a table opened -- phew! Several minutes later, we were greeted and we placed a drink order. When we asked for another minute to look at the menu before ordering -- we got a very "generous" 14 minutes. I finally had to ask another waitperson to take our order (ours went AWOL).

It was placed, and 45 minutes later our waitress surfaced -- only to tell us that our order had NOT gone through, but she was putting it through NOW.

Another 18 minutes later, we got food.

Can I just give some props to my kids here? For the circumstances, they were model children -- hell, model citizens. All of this waiting would crack 99 percent of all kids under 5.

Finally, after waiting for our waitress to get up from chatting with friends, I got up and went to the counter myself to pay (as if we didn't deserve any compensation for the awful service). Who runs this place anyway, the "Peanuts" gang? There seems to be no adult supervision.

Now, there are East Side spots that offer BOTH the casual attitude with solid service. From the Comet Café to the "gold standard" Beans & Barley, we enjoy what truly should be the East Side experience. There's a big responsibility to being laid back that is missing at the Hotch. I will give a "thumbs up" to the food though. And I suppose sans-kids (and lots of free time) this wouldn't have been so dramatic. But this is reality and a business must expect to give good service. God bless those inked youth and good luck to them.

Talkbacks

RBurns | June 11, 2009 at 10:47 a.m. (report)

Good news - they have stepped it up - the service has greatly improved. You still wait a bit longer for food, but it's so worth it. I'll wait if I know my food is being made fresh (which is why we don't want to go to Perkins, by the way). I'm happy the Hotch clan listened to reviews and improved the service - hopefully they will stay in business for years to come so I can get my Hotch Hash fix!

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twistedbeavers | April 29, 2009 at 11:16 a.m. (report)

Seriously...take yourself down a notch (to our PATHETIC PERKINS LEVEL, I know it will be hard to stoop so low) and drive yourself to the nearest Perkins or like restaurant. None of these stupid questions will arise and you'll get yourself a decent breakfast. And don't worry, as you walk out, I'm sure no one will be telling their friends about that "Perkins type of family" that just walked out.

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shocked13 | Feb. 4, 2009 at 5:55 p.m. (report)

I am shocked that with our current economic downslide that bloggers would choose to post blogs about locally owned businesses that did not provide any constructive feedback what so ever. I am thoroughly disappointed that an article such as 'Hotch-a-don't' would be written. It was without tact or consideration. Opinion is important but opinion with hurtful intention is defamation of character. Hotch-a-do is a budding Milwaukee business trying to bloom in unforgiving times and it is unfortunate that something unjustly detremental was written. We need to embrace Milwaukee's small locally owned businesses. They were all born from a vision and a dream from which this country was founded on and it can be kicked down with careless, deconstructive words without a care. Be constructive. Help guide small businesses with helpful suggestions instead of hurtful rhetoric. Negativity is so contagious. It spreads like a pilaging fire and it is so unbecoming. Hotch-a-do deserves a shot in an already stormy climate. The benefits of Hotch-a-do's presence, performance, service, and food should be heard louder and with thunderous applause. Keep your chin up, Hotch-a-do! You deserve to be here!

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nakedhobo | Jan. 31, 2009 at 12:58 p.m. (report)

I have had several experiences here, all of them poor. I can accept waits for good food, good complicated food. I can't accept long waits for a sub par grilled cheese sandwich. I can't accept placing a carry out order, showing up 20 minutes later as told, then having to wait another 45 minutes for 3 sandwiches. I have heard these people say the food is amazing, I have yet to have anything above average here. The service is always poor, the waits are way to long for such simple food and the general feeling of the staff is insincere and uncaring. It got 3 tries from my wife and I, not one redeeming thing so this place is out.

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forsurein2006 | Jan. 30, 2009 at 3:16 p.m. (report)

Chubbys is Amazing First Of All. 2nd of all Hotch A Do Is amazing. Most importantly they are owned by local Milwaukeeans. Philly Way is ok at best. But they are still owned by Milwaukeeans. We must support each other. The last comment on being overcgharged, well thats your fault look at your charges before paying. Your not in middle school where you cant add. Then to say you got ripped off lol thats your fault. Chubbys is local and i would pay $7 for a cheesesteak anywhere. Hell I pay $30 -$70 for steaks. Chubbys is not expensive and there similar to philly Ways prices actually a little cheaper if you look at both menus. Bottom Line they are all local Milwaukeeans and we must support them all. God bless all and lets do this!!!

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