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When it comes to Service & Hospitality, I have always been of the opinion that it doesn’t take a lot to really provide a WOW! experience for your guests. Unfortunately, it is more uncommon than common, so when we do experience a place that does it right we want to shine a light on that place, it’s staff and say “Thank you and Congratulations” to them. This was the case with our recent visit to Made LV at Tivoli Village in Summerlin, Nevada.
Michelle and I had frequented the bar and enjoyed happy hour there a number times previously. However we had not actually ever had the full experience of sitting at a table, being served and dining at Made LV. Made LV, (which is owned by the same husband and wife team of Chef Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau, who also,own Honey Salt and recently opened Andiron Steak and Sea), brands itself as “an American tavern”. Frankly a tavern environment is fine for a few drinks and bar food but not necessarily the type of place I prefer to eat at dinner at. But on this particular occasion, I was really in the mood for one of my favorite vegetarian/vegan sandwiches-the eggplant pastrami. Michelle and I were wanting to have a nice, but not extravagant dinner-so with said sandwich in mind I suggested Made LV to her.
We walked into Made LV and we were greeted by the hostess by the all too common phrase that so many hostesses in restaurants say, “Two for dinner?”. (For my thoughts on how and why this is in no way an exceptional welcome/greeting please see a previous post here on Soupfly entitled-A Greeting, A Seating and Setting the Tone):
While I was not thrilled with this less than welcoming greeting-I am happy to report that Julie, the hostess, made up for it in spades (an appropriate Vegas metaphor) by what she did next. As we entered Made, we quickly noticed that there was live music playing in the bar area. Normally that would be a welcome treat, however, we both were in the mood for a more relaxing and quiet ambience. The group that was playing definitely sounded great but they were loud. Very loud. We just couldn’t see ourselves enjoying our dinner with such loud music playing. After realizing that our hope for a quiet relaxing dinner was not going to be fulfilled here and as much as I had my heart set on the eggplant pastrami we decided to go elsewhere. We told Julie that we just wanted a quieter environment and that we’d return another time. We exited Made and stood outside, in front of the restaurant considering our other options. All of a sudden, here comes Julie with a look of determination on her face. She politely says to us, “I know that the music may be a bit too loud inside, but what about a table on the patio where it will be much quieter and we’ll turn the heat lamps on for you?” After considering her idea for a few moments, Michelle and I decided-“Yes, yes indeed, We’ll take you up on it.” As she escorted us to the patio, she said, “If you really were determined to eat here, I didn’t want you to have to go somewhere else.”
So, Julie, with her quick thinking and her desire to make the guest-(actually since we weren’t even in the restaurant we weren’t technically guests)- happy, she won us back. Once we were seated, she ensured us that it would be pleasant and quieter and told us that Ryan would be out soon to light the heat lamp. That, though it may seem like a very small gesture-got me. And as I said at the beginning here, it doesn’t take a lot to provide excellent Service & Hospitality. Julie was aware that I had my heart set on the eggplant pastrami and though the loud music was a challenge-she was creative and quick thinking and found a way to accommodate us.
The ambience on the patio was lovely, with a nice view of Tivoli village and the music now considerably quieter. The tone had now been set for a relaxing, enjoyable dinner. Our server, Rene, was pleasant, friendly and conscientious. He happily accommodated our requests, as both Michelle and I made slight modifications to our order off the menu. Although I said that I was intent on the eggplant pastrami-I of course ordered it with no cheese and no dressing-thereby making the vegetarian on the menu sandwich a vegan one. Michelle has recently chosen to be on a gluten free/almost dairy free diet and none of our requests presented any challenge to Rene. He not only was knew what food contains gluten and how to modify an order to make it gluten free. He even told us that all such requests are cooked in pans that are designated for gluten free cooking. However, he did mention that there could be cross contamination of gluten in the french fries. I was impressed that he offered that information rather than waiting for us to ask. Many Service and Hospitality workers that we’ve met are completely clueless about gluten and other types of dietary restrictions. Our food came out exactly as we ordered and it was great!
Rene gave us just the right amount of attention-a balance between TMA (too much attention) & TLA (too little attention). He checked on us at the appropriate times, made sure that our food was to our liking and just overall very friendly.
And by the way, Ryan did come out to light the heat lamp for us although it took a few attempts. First there was no tank in it, so he came back with a new one. Then Rene said, “It’s not working because the tube is broke.” But rather than telling us, “I’m sorry we can’t light it.” OR that we need to move to another table, Ryan was determined to get it fixed and working for us. He replaced the tank and the tube and after 3 attempts-he got it lit. Also, our table was unstable and rather than offering some lame response like -“All our tables are like that”, he fixed it. He apologized that they didn’t have the proper wedges for stabilizing tables, so he used the linen napkin-which in my opinion does not look great but it does get the job done. I am surprised at how few restaurants actually have in stock the wedges that are made specifically for that purpose and therefore the service staff is left having to use coasters, napkins and sweetener packets. Regardless, we were very happy with Ryan’s “get it done” attitude.
And on top of all that, Brad the manager came out to greet us. He was very friendly and engaging. We learned that he is actually the brother of Jim, the GM at Elements. (See previous post)He asked us how we were enjoying everything and we told him how Julie had won us back when we were set on leaving.
So, thanks to Julie’s quick thinking and the combined teamwork of Ryan and Rene, Michelle and I had a lovely, relaxing dinner on the patio with a stable table, a glowing heat lamp, quiet music emanating from the bar, good food, good service and a beautiful night time view of Tivoli Village. It was not extravagant. It was not over the top high end service-but I will tell you that I count it as one of our better dining experiences.
Thank you team at Made LV-you guys all “made” our night! See you soon.
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God Bless You & Cheers!
Christoff J. Weihman
Las Vegas, NV