When the restaurant you have been frequenting turns bad

I have been frequenting a Freehold red sauce place for over 20 years.
For the past 2-3 years mostly Sunday around 5 pm
Last night the waiter was lost the food was meh , well maybe worse than meh & even brought out a chicken scallopine dish instead of a veal
The wait for food was excruciating so gf ate the spinach & not much more
We have been coming to this restaurant for over 20 & inspite of not seeing the owner recently because he’s not around on Sunday we have a nice relationship with him & even have stayed in his family’s hotel in Positano
We have noticed that the food has not been up to measure the past few months
Would you tell the owner, take a break & find a new place ?
If I tell the owner I fear that he will take it personally & I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
Recommendations for a moderate priced red sauce place near Freehold are welcome

Maybe an anonymous yet constructive email where you make it clear you’re a long time customer through example without giving yourself away?

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From what you say, the food has deteriorated in recent times and your last visit seems like the “final straw”. If it was me, I would simply take a walk and find somewhere new. I don’t have the sort of relationship with an owner that meant I’d feel obliged to tell them I was not coming back. I’d just be gone and, truth be told, a long time before you’re thinking of it.


I would call the owner or drop by to let him know what happened, if you were a regular. I have found most owners are appreciative of constructive feedback. Remember to also include a few positives along with the negatives that upset you.

I’ve had 2 owners respond poorly when I’ve given feedback, after a disappointment. A couple other owners and a manager never responded to an email. I think in person or on the phone works best.

He will wonder why you stopped coming, and maybe it will help him and his business if he knows what is going wrong.

I do this if I want to continue visiting a restaurant and want them to improve or get back on track.

There are places that I’ve stopped visiting after they’ve slipped or I’ve been treated poorly.


As a former business owner I am not a fan of anything anonymous thank you for your suggestion

That’s a good idea I frequently walk past his place & we do chit chat, sounds like a good idea Thanks


Just a thought… if you’ve noticed the food slipping on days when the owner isn’t there, why not stop by on a day he is and see if the experience is any different?
If it’s as good as you expected when he’s there, then tell him about Sundays. If it’s not, then a different approach will be needed.
Since you have a relationship with him, I doubt he’d be adverse to listening to a longtime customer.


I have done that a several other places but this place does have some redeeming qualities & I love the owner so I think it’s a good idea to “ bump “ into him & discuss what is going on.


I think you already answered your question with this post…or I am overestimating the reach of this medium.

Yeah maybe but also looking for a few recommendations for a good red sauce place local to Freehold


I also keep a running list of things not to order at some restaurants that I revisit.

I stay away from a couple dishes at an Italian restaurant I still visit because those dishes seem to give me hives (one was a salad I used to order a lot). At another Italian restaurant, I stick to the pizzas and avoid the pastas. And so on.

Maybe along the lines of “I know times are tough for restaurants post Covid. Do you have a new chef by any chance because…blah…blah”


Too much work for me if a restaurant gave me hives that’s a definitely never return it’s difficult when a place has been consistent for 20 years

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I get hives from salads, some raw vegetables toppings/garnishes on sandwiches, and cured meats at many good restaurants, so it’s easier to identify the dishes that are probably causing the hives and avoid those dishes at those good restaurants , rather than avoid the good restaurants completely.

I’ve been going to the restaurant that has the salad (uncooked arugula with cooked mushrooms, Parmesan and balsamic, called Funghi Assoluti - here is a copycat Recipe ) for over 15 years. It’s probably the raw arugula that causes the problem. Their other cooked dishes don’t cause issues for me.

It’s probably the preservatives sprayed on the vegetables and used in the cured meats to which I have developed a sensitivity. I also get hives from some frozen prepared foods.

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Basile’s? lol Listen in all honesty and speaking from experience, your above sentiment while courteous since you are friendly with the owner, but totally self-sabotaging both him and you. As a customer who wants the place to succeed you are doing him NO favors by keeping silent. Conversely as a business owner, if it hurts his feelings, he shouldn’t be in business anymore either.

Over 20 years even Michael Jordon had some crappy games in his career, however if nobody called him out on it, perhaps he wouldn’t have continued to strive to become one of the greatest ever. Shit happens, people get lazy, they lose key people they think they don’t need etc.

Bottom line you aren’t doing the owner any favors by keeping your mouth closed, be a good friend and customer politely point out the problems you see and leave it up to him to be receptive or not. Sounds like you are ready to take the place out of your rotation, so what do you really have to lose at this point?


This! Negative feedback isn’t fun, but if you don’t know there’s a problem, how can you fix it?


Basile’s has been closed for some time. If you’re looking for red sauce staples like chicken parm, ravioli, etc., Dusal’s across from Walmart gets the job done. However, as I’m pretty sure I know the restaurant you are speaking of from your prior posts, Dusal’s may not be what you’re looking for. Clarizio’s or Lorenzo’s (both in Freehold) may be a closer replacement.

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Love this idea, especially because then @Ragtopssk can honestly say he does/doesn’t find the same issues across the board.
Agree that since he has a legit relationship that this is helpful info to share w the owner, even if it’s a difficult conversation. My friends in the restaurant business always said they wanted to know if there was a problem.


According to Google, Lorenzo’s is permanently closed.

Thankfully that shit show is gone
Good advice thanks

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