Christo's Pizzeria-Restaurant

Review by M2D

Christo's Pizzeria-Restaurant
New Broadway location
1108 Broadway ST NE
Mon.-Thurs: 11:30-2PM, 4:30-8PM
Fri.: 11:30-2PM, 4:30-9PM
Sat.: 5-9PM
503 371-2892

On my way home from work on Tuesday at about 4:45 p.m. my son said, "you want to get something to eat mom?” I said, "OK, what do you want?" After the usual offerings of Mexican, Italian, etc. I asked if he wanted to try the new Christo's location. He said, OK. We had never tried the old location so this was an opportunity to try the "new" improved location.

The pizzeria/restaurant is housed in an older building with very high ceilings and a fresh coat of paint. They lack any air conditioning that I could see (or feel for that matter). In fact the front door was wide open w/ no screen present allowing flies to come in. It was very hot in there especially with the large pizza oven placed very near the dinning area where you can clearly see it. Some customers who arrived after we did wanted to sit near the window and were told they may not want to because it gets very hot in that area. We arrived early so there were only 2 other people seated in the dinning room at that time.

Apparently they have expanded their menu to include a small dinner menu with such offerings as chicken picate or Marsala (also available in veal), as well as some pasta dishes, steak, salads and appetizers. I noted that they do have a small bar as well. They also have a small selection of wines by the bottle or glass, beer, imported sodas, fountain drinks, Torani Italian sodas and espresso drinks. My son ordered an Italian soda; I ordered a glass of Pino Grigio.

We then placed our order for a side Caesar salad for my son and a side dinner salad for me. The salads took a very long time to arrive. They were a nice size and very fresh. Although I thought the Caesar dressing and croutons seriously lacked flavor. The blue cheese dressing was obviously bottled. I'd love to see them make some good from scratch dressings to set themselves apart from the rest.

We ordered 2 small 12" pizza pies so that we could both have the toppings we wanted and have a little left over for take-home. My son ordered the pepperoni @ $12.25 I ordered the Attilio's Garden @ $18.25 which consisted of mushrooms (didn't see any though) olives, red & green onions, artichoke hearts and garlic. I could taste the garlic which I really liked a lot. I noted that the pepperoni pie had a layer of grease floating on top. The garden pizza was quite good though. I thought the pizzas also took a long time to arrive.

What bothered me most about my experience though was the lack of service. I constantly had to twist and stretch my neck looking for my server. Although he was very pleasant I had to hunt him down for an additional glass of wine because he was busy chatting endlessly with the pizza maker never once glancing our way. He didn't bring plates or grated cheese and crushed red pepper seeds when he delivered our pizza. Once again we had to hunt him down to procure those items as well.

The real deal breaker for me was when we had finished our meal. We were ready to go and wanted the pizza boxed up and a check. Our server was no where to be found. I flagged down another server and asked to have our pizza boxed up and to drop our check. She did so promptly. However, she stated that our check was "lost" and could we give her a run down of what exactly we had so she could reproduce a new check. For reals? The place wasn't even busy! The server ran my debit card, I signed it and purposely left the tip portion blank. I rarely dine out anymore because like many others our family has been hit by the financial crisis and we just can't fit it into our budget. This was to be a treat since we just came into some tax refund dollars. I spent $50.00 on my visit and frankly I'm in no hurry to return or recommend it in the future.

Upon exiting we headed for our van parked in the rear parking lot behind the restaurant. There was our disappearing server! He was having a cigarette and texting on his cell phone. Too bad for him he just lost out on a potential $10.00 tip. I always tip at least 20% especially if I get stellar service. And too bad for the owners who lost a potentially good customer as well as some free word of mouth advertising. What a disappointment.

49 comments:

lavachickie said...

Oh, drat, I so hoped for something different. WHY I would expect the same people to do something different, I don't know.

I'd had Christo's at work once, and fell in love with the flavor of their pies. I'd gone to their old location once or twice, but had a similar experience -- I was made to feel more like I was a bother than a welcomed customer. So I only ate there on rare occasion when a need for the taste struck me. Then I got so tired of that, I recreated the taste at home.

*sigh*

So much potential -- if people would just focus on what is important: THEIR CUSTOMER.

Simple Simon said...

My husband and I ate there the first weekend they were opened and had an exceptional meal and excellent service, from the beginning to the end of our dining experience. We are looking forward to future meals at this newly expanded, local restaurant.

Anonymous said...

I love their pizza but prefer to call in my order and pick it up. IF I dine in, it just takes too long. I haven't been to their new location yet, but it sounds like they have yet to pick up the pace. That's too bad.

mama2dylan said...

I'd like to add that when I get bad service or have a problem with the restaurant I make sure and let the owner/manager know. I usually either call or write a letter. I urge others to do the same. If the people in charge are made aware then maybe they will (hopefully) make adjustments in the future. There are a lot of capable people out there looking for work these days. Everyone is dispensable. The last time I wrote a letter of complaint I received a letter of apology from the manager with a certificate valued at $40.00 which is what I spent. The time before that when I contacted corporate on-line they called me personally and in turn sent me certificates valued at $80.00 which is what I spent that night. It pays to complain and most places really do care.
As far as getting good food/service the 1st weekend I'm not surprised. I would think they would have their best face on and be overstaffed at the very least in order to make a good 1st impression.

Anonymous said...

I have been a loyal customer at Christo's for years and have never had a bad experience. Occassionally the food can take a while because everything is made entirely from scratch (this is not frozen Domino's dough) but the food is always amazing so I think this reviewer left their taste buds at the door. The owners, Michael and Lisa, are wonderful people who care about their customers. If you had told them you were having a bad experience, they would have worked hard to fix it. Sometimes the service can be a little spotty because it is the owner's teenage children who work there, but the food is always amazing and the owners care about their customers.
I heartily recommend the Greek Pizza, or the calzone (which we tried and is amazing). Since this reviewer can't use spellcheck (dinning anyone?), I really doubt her ability to discern quality cuisine.

Anonymous said...

To suggest that the reviewer cannot "discern quality cuisine" due to spelling is elitist and ad hominem.

That being said, I haven't been to the new place, but Christo's pies have always been excellent. Yes, a bit slow but worth it. They've always been very nice there. Their "greek" salads with spinach and nice chunky feta are tasty.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy their pies.

The service is very hit or miss - at both the old location and the new location. We've had good experiences and we have had bad experiences. Usually the bad are when the owners aren't there personally.

I am giving them some slack on the new location until they are open a while. Lack of AC is going to be a problem though.

Talk to the owners if you had a bad experience. They are good folks.

mama2dylan said...

I understand everything is from scratch. And of course I would expect the pizza to be far superior to Domino’s. However the salads took a very long time and the dressings would have been much better had they made them from scratch.
I have been in the restaurant business for 38 years. I have worked and lived in New York City and dined at some of the most wonderful and authentic restaurants. I am Italian by decent and grew up in a predominantly Italian town in New Jersey. Salem’s dinning scene is austere in comparison to the epicurean delights I have experienced elsewhere in my lifetime.
I didn’t dislike the food; I’ve just had better and more authentic. But my post was really about the lack of service. And BTW “Anonymous”, occasionally only has ONE “s” not 2 and spell-check is a hyphenated word. Since you are so interested in spelling verses taste buds. So, does that apply to you also? The server was not a teenager but yet a male server in his late 20’s. I did take the time to write a letter to the owners about my bad experience. I hope to receive a reply from them soon.

Anonymous said...

I know it shouldn't make any difference, but what time of day did you and your son do your dining? AND would you go again?

mama2dylan said...

We went on my way home from work on Tuesday, the 16th at about 4:45 p.m. as stated in my original post. I never say never. Any establishment I go into I want to like it and hope to find a new favorite to add to my list of eateries. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes.

I'd really like to see Christo's make it in their new location. That location is prime (The Broadway Town Square) and is going to be a new hot spot extending the boundaries of downtown Salem through the revitalization of the Broadway corridor to fulfill the goals of the Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Plan and the North Downtown Plan.

Telos Development Company of Salem is building over 18,000 square feet of retail and office space at street level and 21 upscale apartments on three floors above. In addition, there’s a mini market, the new YWCA and Salem Cinema is already featured at the corner of Broadway and Market with 16 new, custom townhomes for sale at the back of the site. A Subway sandwich shop is coming and Mallards cafe is opening in August.

mama2dylan said...

Correction, I meant Maynards Cafe.

Jen F said...

I haven't been there in ages, but I remember that Christo's was always known for GREAT food... but also for very slow delivery and service.

I always called ahead and ordered my food to go.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mama2Dyaln,

I'm sorry to hear that you had such a distasteful time when you made your visit to Christos Pizzeria on their opening night. Most people, in my experience, would have some understanding when it comes to a restuarant's opening night. Obviously there would still be some issues that would need to be worked out in time. But a few mess ups here and there are to be expected, especially with the fact that Christos went from being a 10 table pizzeria, to a 20+ table restaurant. It appalls me to see someone write off a restuarnt, it's opening night, mind you, with such a poor review. Granted, everyone's taste is not the same, but it seems to me that you like to make a habit of viewing restaurants poorly...because, who knows, maybe they'll send you some coupons in the mail!

Now, I've been a regular of Christos for years, and am very close with the owners who are very accommodating, good people. I've also had a lot of cooking and dining experience throughout my life and in my humble opinion, I know what's good from what's bad. Now, in all fairness, I can agree with you that the lack of air conditioning is a pain, flys are also not very appealing, and layers of grease on a naturally greasy pepperoni pizza is simple appalling and never happens! But these are all things that can be fixed and I know that the owners are taking the steps in doing so. Service, well, if it sucked it sucked. But again, I believe that everyone tried their hardest in a foriegn situation...being that it was basically everyone's first night. It also seems to me that a lot of people have issues with the wait for a pizza. But what people need to understand is that all the pizzas are in fact made to order. And most of the time (which is the case for any restaurant) your order will not be first in line.

All in all, I just hate to see such a pompous review. But alas, an opinion's an opinion. No sense in changing it. I just hope that you find it in your heart to have an open mind about what's going on around you (i.e. an opening night at a new restuarant not being perfect).

So on an ending note, please, Salem readers, let's stay optimistic about Salem dining. Support local businesses. Don't give up on the little culture we have, and don't bash the people who strive for goodness but fail along the way. I enjoy eatsalem.com very much and find that most every restaurant review I've read has been very optimistic in that they find the good as well as the bad. I always try to do the same when I go out, which is an understanding that few gain because most haven't worked in the restaurant industry. It's hard work, people. You've got to at least give the little people who make your meals credit for doing it or credit just for trying.

Anonymous said...

i recently visited the new location and it is very exciting! the owners and staff have managed to maintain old charm the old location had. i have been a patron of christo's since i can remember, and they have always gone out of their way to please my family and i. the food is always excellent. the service, as well, has been great. i enjoy the casual (but not too casual) service that makes me feel like a normal person, who isn't looking for a sales pitch. though the staff is young (definitely older than teens) they work very hard and are always friendly. as for mamadylan, it is more helpful to a restaurant owner to tell them your complaints at the time of service instead of days/weeks later. that way, they can tackle the issue right away. it is a lot less cowardly. if i owned a restaurant i would much rather be told to my face at the time...and i definitely wouldn't expect any refunds if you couldn't even do that. every restaurant has it's up's and down's, but christo's is a local, rare treasure that salem has had for over ten years. go christos! keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Mama2Dylan, would it have been possible to speak with the owners themselves, rather than publicly tarnish the reputation of a restaurant they spent their lives' work to create?

I'm sure they would have been happy to hear your advice. Unfortunately, your only apparent option was to write an embellished review, with strategically placed misspellings, in the hope of a handout. Do you truly feel that you're owed the ingredients others paid heavily for?

Thankfully your wall of text was read by my internal voice, and not the imaginably ghoulish snarl which must have occurred during its writing.
This was a very childish, contrived analysis of what sounds like an average dining experience. Greasy pepperoni? Couldn't see the layer of mushrooms at the bottom of a six topping pizza? No air conditioning system set up the first week?... These were unforgivable transgressions?

There are people working very hard to make Salem a more livable city, and then there's you - an obstruction.

cas said...

Bad service is bad service, whether it's the first night or not. By the way mama2dylan was not there on opening night nor did she ever say that she was. There is no acceptable excuse for your server standing around out side smoking when he should be doing his job. I don't care how good the food is if the service sucks it makes the whole experience lousy. Obviously these acknowledged friends of the owner can't be expected to write an impartial review. If I hired my kids to work in my place and they were bad, then I would find new servers instead of joking that the service is bad because my children don't know how to do their job. Did they open the restaurant to give their children jobs or to serve the public? 50 bucks is a hell of a tab for a pizza lunch and it really does merit at least semi attentive service. I don't complain to the owners when my dining experience is bad I just don't go back. Right on, mama2dylan.

Anonymous said...

Does that mean that service will always and forever be bad? And their "kids" are in they're 20s, so that whole topic of conversation is irrelavant. If one server is bad, that does not make the whole restaurant a terrible place, and if the owners were told of this waiters service being less than desirable, (and I'm sure that they did, since mama2dylan wrote them a complaint letter) they would make the changes that are necessary in fixing the problem to make sure that it does not happen again.

Lisa Anne said...

I've been trying not to get into this conversation but I feel its time to put my two cents in. I found Christo's Pizza through Eatsalem about a year ago. I had no idea this style of pizza was made and made well in Salem. After living on the east coast for a bit and then moving back to Salem, I knew that the pizza would be the one thing I would miss from the east. Every tiny pizza/italian place I've been to has had three things in common: handmade delicious pizza, a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere, and so-so sit down service. You go to Christo's for their awesome pizza, but don't expect the service to be on par with La Capitale. It'll probably be on par with places like Applebees or TGI Friday's. But Christo's does food MUCH better than either of those two places.

So I propose this. Don't shoe people away from Christo's, just warn them about the service and explain that the pizza is worth it. Its one of a kind around here I don't want to see anything bad happen to it.

Viva Christo's pizza!

SeanL said...

Actually, cas, neither one of the owners' children served mama2dylan that night. I know this because I am one of them. Thank you for taking the time to insult my family and I, regardless.

mama2dylan said...

Lisa Anne said...
You go to Christo's for their awesome pizza, but don't expect the service to be on par with La Capitale. It'll probably be on par with places like Applebees or TGI Friday's.
With all due respect Lisa in the letter of reply to me from the owners, they claim they turned a modest pizzeria into a full fledged restaurant. And upon entering that is exactly what I surmised by the restaurant style seating in the dinning room, the bar, a table side server, a hostess and 2 menus, one a pizza menu and one a dinner menu complete w/ appetizers, entrees, pastas, salads and desserts. And so, with that being said I expected on par service especially after spending $50.00.
In addition I'd like to address some of the other comments made on here. Unfortunately because people can and do post as "anonymous" on here I can't address them by name. Why is it when people bash me on this site (which happens every time I give a review that they don't agree with) they post as anonymous?
I am not trying to "publicly tarnish the reputation of a restaurant". Eat Salem is meant to be a place where people can review Salem restaurants (although I see restaurants from other areas reviewed on here frequently). So, whether you agree with my review or not it is simply that- my opinion and my review.
My review was really about the service, I said in my review, "What bothered me most about my experience though was the lack of service." If a restaurant is newly opened and/or has "new hires" as the owners referred to in their response letter to me than I would expect that I would personally see one of the owners or a manager present overseeing the goings on and/or coming to tables and inquiring as to how everything is/was. As I stated in my review, “I flagged down another server and asked to have our pizza boxed up and to drop our check. She did so promptly. However, she stated that our check was "lost" and could we give her a run down of what exactly we had so she could reproduce a new check." At that time I would expect that that server had informed a manager so the manager could follow up with the server and me the customer.

mama2dylan said...

Anonymous said, "Granted, everyone's taste is not the same, but it seems to me that you like to make a habit of viewing restaurants poorly...because, who knows, maybe they'll send you some coupons in the mail!" When I write a letter of complaint it is NEVER with the preconceived notion that I expect certificates in the mail. In fact I am surprised. A letter of reply would suffice. However, if I am awarded a certificate for the full amount of the bill I never asked for it, the respondents chose to give it to me. I did receive a certificate from Christo's for 50% of what I spent on my visit, and frankly I don't plan on using it. The letter would have sufficed.
Anonymous also said, "Now, in all fairness, I can agree with you that the lack of air conditioning is a pain, flies are also not very appealing." The owners also addressed the open screen less door in their reply by saying, “if we did not open the doors and believe me we hate the flies as much as you do, we all would have expired from heat exhaustion." I could be wrong, but isn't it a health code violation to have a screen less door open in an establishment where flies can come in? They land on animal poop before they land on your food for cryin' out loud! May I add that I did NOT go on opening night (Friday, June 5th soft opening) I went at 4:45 p.m. on Tues. June 16th. There was ONE other table of 2 people dinning there at the time!

Anonymous also said, "So on an ending note, please, Salem readers, let's stay optimistic about Salem dining. Support local businesses." I'm all for that, however, last night my family and I took an out of town family member out to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Hillsboro. Not only was the food incredible, but the service was outstanding! This kid couldn't have been more than in his early 20's and has worked at the restaurant for one year. Every time I happened to look up he was in my view, but better than that he made direct eye contact with me each time. In the event that I needed something he'd have noticed me and responded. Our bill was $95.00. My brother-in-law tipped him $25.00. And I plan on contacting the establishment to compliment them on the food and service. Overall it was a wonderful dinning experience and I will return in the future.
And once again yet another “anonymous” poster feels the need to point out misspellings in my post. I don't understand what spelling has to do with the original review/point!

In the future I will no longer be contributing to this site with any more of my “pompous embellished reviews” or responses to posts. I come to this site for the pleasure of reading and occasionally reviewing, not to get bashed. It appears to me that the readers on this site derive pleasure in picking people apart. I didn’t know that this site was meant for positive reviews only. Bon appétit! (I hope I spelled that right!)

SeanL said...

mama2dylan, My mother sent you a check for fifty dollars, which is what you claim to have paid.

YOU HAVE JUST LIED to the entire message board.

You previously stated, "I did receive a certificate from Christo's for 50% of what I spent on my visit, and frankly I don't plan on using it."

There is no excuse for this.

By the way, we had to open the restaurant immediately because our resources were running very thin. So I sincerely apologize for the doors being open. We did not have enough fans the first week. We do now, however. We will also be installing an air condition system soon.

Thanks to your complaint letter, which took my mother a considerable amount of time to write a reply to, AND the money we returned to you, you have slowed down the progress of fixing all of the issues you've noted.

If what I've read in this board is a true reflection of who you are, I feel eternally sorry for you.

mama2dylan said...

Sean, you are erroneously misinformed. PLEASE don't publicly call me a liar on this board. I have NOT publicly attacked ANYONE on this board. I merely submitted my review based on MY personal experience that day. I still have the "gift certificate" in the amount of $25.00 that I will gladly scan a copy of or produce in person to anyone who wants to see it.
I also have the letter in response from your mother dated 6/19 (my letter was postmarked 6/17 and probably arrived on 6/18). And I don't only "claim" to have spent $50.00 on my visit, but I still have my visa card receipt that was run for that amount with Christo's name on it should you (or anyone else) also require that proof. My son ordered an Italian soda; I ordered a glass of Pino Grigio.

We then had a side Caesar salad and a side dinner salad. We ordered 2 small 12" pizza pies; pepperoni @ $12.25 and Attilio's Garden @ $18.25. So if you do the math young man it all adds up to $50.00.
I am sorry it took your mother a considerable amount of time to reply to my letter. It took me a considerable amount of time to write mine as well. But, as a restaurant owner who truly cares about her customers (as she claims to) should feel it her duty. That’s what working w/ the public and customer service is all about. You too will learn these things someday little grasshoppah'. I personally gained a respect for her because she took the time to reply.
In my opinion you show very little class by coming on here and attacking me personally and calling me a liar publicly, especially when I have proof to substantiate my claims. Do you also have such proof to back up your mouth? And in addition to that do you kiss your dear mother with that mouth? I'm glad you're not my son! If you want to be successful and respected in life and in the restaurant business you must learn tact and be willing to validate a customers concern. Sometimes you have to eat a lot of crow, generally the customer should be made to feel that they have a valid concern. Why on earth would a person such as me want to return to your establishment based on the public personal attack I received? And why would I bother to give your restaurant a word of mouth recommendation based on the same?

mama2dylan said...

P.S. If anyone would like to view a scanned copy of the $25.00 gift certificate, the letter from Mrs. Learn and my Chase Visa proof of purchase from Christo's (in the amount of $50.25 actually)please e-mail me @ mama2dylan@hotmail.com and I will send you a scanned copy of these documents.

SeanL said...

Well as far as I knew, she sent you $50. I must have been wrong.

Nevertheless, do you believe that you deserve any of it? We are just setting up, it is very difficult and expensive, and you would rather hinder than help?

It appears that you are determined to watch our restaurant fail.

From the beginning, you could have just talked to us. Instead you posted this for all to see, knowing that it was our first week with new, inexperienced staff, incomplete recipes, and a handful of issues we were already aware of.

You could have decided to be a kind, concerned customer and give friendly advice. Unfortunately, you did the exact opposite.

mama2dylan said...

I’m glad you saw that you were wrong. A public apology would have been nice though. Sean, I don't believe I deserved anything except perhaps a reply from your parents which I did receive in a timely manner. I also already stated on this site that, “frankly I don't plan on using it (the certificate). The letter would have sufficed. In fact if you feel I am not entitled to the certificate, that $25.00 is going to break the bank with all the expenses your family’s restaurant has and it bothers you THAT much I would be happy to return it to the restaurant. In fact I will be returning it next week in person. To be on the safe side in the future if something like that is such a problem you might suggest that your family not send certificates to people that send a letter or complain in person.
I am not out to attack your families business. I had a problem with the service mainly. I didn’t hate the food. In fact I noted in my review that I liked the pizza I ordered. I reviewed a restaurant on a "restaurant review” website. Maybe I could have just talked to someone from the beginning. But I didn’t see an owner/manager present and frankly I was pissed off, hot and tired and just wanted to go home. I could have even confronted the server in the rear parking lot as I exited as well, but I needed time to cool off and didn’t want to get into it w/ him in front of my son. So, I politely smiled at him and acknowledged his “have a good night” wishes. I also had my 11 year old son with me at the time. I felt it best to just go home and write the letter. I am a much better communicator through written word. And when I complain to any business I just want them to know what’s going on. I don’t stop to think about weather or not it’s their first week with new, inexperienced staff, incomplete recipes, and a handful of issues. Not only did I know that, but as a paying customer that’s not my job nor is it my problem. I am on the receiving end of a bad experience and I just spent $50.00 of my hard earned money of which I really couldn’t afford but did anyway and I chose to spend my money in YOUR establishment. There are many dinning choices out there, businesses need to have their game face on and bend over backwards these days in order to attract and keep what little business there is to be had in these hard economic times.

SeanL said...

Well then, I apologize for calling you a liar. My father and I both urged my mom not to send any money, but she felt obligated to do so. I thought the initial amount was going to be $50; I guess she changed her mind.

I am not bothered that you sent a letter. I would just like to know why you posted that same letter online as a review, when you claim to understand our situation.

"In these hard economic times," reviews like that make it even harder for businesses to survive.

Had my parents been in that day, things would have been much different. And it's true, waiters should never take breaks while they have tables.

Franklin said...

I think that it's time for everyone to take a step back and breathe. I've found over time that even though it's near impossible to tell a person's tone or inflection from a written document, we try to hear it. When you're face to face with a person or on the phone we listen to the tone, pace and volume level of their voice which is missing online and in letters. I think that what people are responding to is the defensive nature of your comments Mama2dylan. Every person that has posted a comment on here has been responded to and corrected, even if they agreed with your post. I've found when people dissect comments or opinions of another person it is sometimes construed as being condescending. This may not be what you are trying to do, but I think that some people might read it that way.
Remember that some jokes that work in person, don't work online. Sometimes they come off as rude due to the lack of sarcasm from typing instead of speaking.

mama2dylan said...

Oh Sean, you’re not looking at the big picture here. Your family has owned and operated Christo’s in Salem for the past 12 years. Why would any of you think for one minute that one displeased customer’s review is going to make it even harder for businesses like yours to survive? Obviously you have built up a good reputation in this city over the years giving you the confidence to purchase a new location and expand your menu. I’m certain that the majority of readers on here are either already loyal customers or have the good sense to try the restaurant for themselves or better yet wait until you have been open at the new location for a while and then try it when you have worked out some of the issues you face today.
If you’d go back and read my previous replies you’d see where I said, “I'd really like to see Christo's make it in their new location. That location is prime (The Broadway Town Square) and is going to be a new hot spot extending the boundaries of downtown Salem through the revitalization of the Broadway corridor to fulfill the goals of the Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Plan and the North Downtown Plan.” If you don’t make it in your new locale, it’s not because of my review, but rater the bad economic times.
I love to dine out and I love to review restaurants and read restaurant reviews weather it be a good or bad review, that’s why I like Eat Salem. I rarely dine out anymore due to very serious financial constraints. You think you’ve got money problems! Take a number; there are people out there who have no job due to cuts and no health insurance. People are loosing their homes left and right to foreclosures. Be thankful for what you have.
In the past I have posted reviews on this site. I stopped reviewing as much when I got flack for reviewing chains instead of locally owned & operated restaurants. I posted because frankly I thought there was no excuse for the bad service I received given it was at 4:45 p.m. on a Tuesday evening and there were only 2 other people in the restaurant at the time, especially given the fact that I later learned that you were newly established in that location, therefore service should have been stellar. I would think the restaurant would have their best face on and be overstaffed at the very least in order to make a good 1st impression (as you probably were on the soft opening nights). Additionally I found the lack of service to be inexcusable because I later learned that your restaurant had already been serving Salem for 12 years.
New or not, bad service is inexcusable. I’d like to see my server come on here and explain why he was so inattentive. After all it’s his fault your name has been tarnished in the first place. HE owes YOU and ME an apology.

queen of tarts said...

I think that what is supposed to be a restaurant and dining review site seems to be morphing into a mean spirited,self serving,adversarial bore. I am surprised that Salem-man can't discern submissions to his site that are constructive and relevant to the spirit of what he hopes to accomplish with this site. Mama2Dylan gave an honest, first person review of her experience at Christos.Period. That is what this web-site is supposed to be about. Why would I want tobother to log on if I can't read what people honestly think aboput their dining experience? Care to comment salem-man?

Salem Man said...

to read my 2 cents about this situation go to this link.

http://eatsalem.com/2009/07/my-2-cents.html

cas said...

Sean L.
I didn't mean to insult you or your family I didn't say that you served mama2dylan it was someone else, a friend of the restaurant I believe, who explained the service as poor but forgivable because it's the owners kids.I disagreed with that point of view. It's not acceptable if someone,related to a restaurant owner is giving bad service. It certainly isn't the way to build a customer base at your new location for your family's business. But again I didn't say that, someone who likes the place did. I just said it's not okay if true. Actually from mama2dylans letter it's clear that no one was serving her that evening I think that was the point of her letter. Hey read the other postings even people who like your food have come to expect less than good service, they expect and accept it, that's fine. I've never been to your place, though I have friends who say the pizza is terrific. I've only seen your happy customers explain crappy service by blaming the owners kids. maybe that's not true I don't know but it does seem to be a theme when talking about the service doesn't it? Even among people who like the place.
I will tell you this though Sean, the way you called mama2dylan a liar even though she clearly has the prove that she is telling the truth was disgusting and enough to make sure that I never eat there. You really blew it kid.
You might want to spend more time perfecting your wait skills and really help your family business and less time making erroneous, unfounded, statements about your customers

SeanL said...

We hired your server one week prior to opening. Your check was "lost," because he kept it with him on his break :(

The staff has more than doubled; 9 people are new. It was a little difficult to give flawless service when the waiters, cooks, and prep staff were still unacquainted with their new jobs. A few people just started that week.

It was a rough, unplanned opening, but it had to be done.

mama2dylan said...

SeanL said...
We hired your server one week prior to opening. Your check was "lost," because he kept it with him on his break :(

The staff has more than doubled; 9 people are new. It was a little difficult to give flawless service when the waiters, cooks, and prep staff were still unacquainted with their new jobs. A few people just started that week.

Understandable, what isn't understandable not matter how unacquainted a server is to the restaurant, service or lack of is just that, especially when there are virtually NO other customers in the dinning room! He was busy yakking w/ the pizza maker and taking smoke breaks not aquatinting himself w/his new job. In addition, the female server who had to reproduce my check should have known the server was out back taking a break or looked for him and asked him to produce it for her or come in and give it to me in person. It's all so elementary new or not. I'm done w/ this conversation it's a done deal.

I'm certain your business will do just fine in the future. I won't be returning after all, solely because your banter on here has alienated me to the point of no return.

SeanL said...

mama2dylan, you called our restaurant asking me to publicly apologize, even though I already did.

This is what I mean - you could bring issues up with those responsible, or get more people involved for no reason. I don't get why you're so obsessed with this. There are nobler causes than attacking a restaurant.

All you've been able to do is complain. I agree with the service issues, but what do you think should be done? Repeating your frustrations isn't very productive, is it?

SeanL said...

And Cas...

We (rest of the family included) all thought she was given $50. I didn't find out the true amount until I read it here. And I did apologize.

I felt extremely certain, and wouldn't have accused her of lying otherwise. Well I was wrong, and I apologized. Is that disgusting?

SeanL said...

I think this entire page of comments should be deleted before the argument gets even more ridiculous.

The main question was why mama2dylan converted a complaint letter into a review before even receiving a reply. Most people thought it was a vicious move. Her "it pays to complain" attitude also helped fuel the fire.

A few days later... we're still unsure of her motivation. One thing is certain though, it benefited no one, and brought grief to many.

Had it stayed a complaint letter, everything would have been fixed and fine. Since she posted it online, however, now people think that's how we operate.

Bottom line: She preferred to publicly ridicule an emerging business than attempt to give constructive advice.

That's all there is to it, and I'm finished discussing it.

Anonymous said...

I have been a big fan of Christo's from the little shop to the new restaurant. The food is without compare in Salem and would even be on a par with the finer establishments in Seattle or other major cities.

Yes, the lack of air conditioning was bad . . . and they made an attempt to remedy the situation with swamp coolers and fans until A/C can be installed.

The service was sketchy but that has also been corrected. Michael and Lisa found out what worked and what didn't and got rid of what didn't.

We ate there on a Saturday night about a week ago and had an EXCELLENT dinner. Our service was wonderful, and the staff were always available for us. The place was packed, literally, but I did not see or hear anyone complain about the food, service, or efficiency.

We love the food at Christo's and feel that the casual elegance is a place we can go into any time. If I had any negative comments at all it would be the tall blonde waiter who burst into song at the drop of a hat - he has a nice voice and certainly has quite a repetoire but it seriously scared me several times when I was not expecting the loud, booming sounds of "Figaro" or La Traviata" or whatever it was he chose to burst forth. His "Happy Birthday" song was great - two lines only!

Anonymous said...

The new Christo's location is very near my office, so I chose it as my company birthday lunch location a few weeks back. We've always loved their food, so it's fantastic to have them closer by and with so much more space!

The six of us had a great lunch, the pizza was so tasty, two pies were plenty to go around, and the staff was really nice. Perfect temperature inside even for the warm September day. One thing I thought was funny was that our table seemed to be the only one different from all the rest in the room: ours had no linen tablecloth and our water glasses were teeny-tiny. The other tables all had clothes and standard sized water glasses. But we were never without refills, so I really couldn't complain! I will definitely be back many times... so nice to see them expanding here in Salem.

Anonymous said...

I love their new location. While their pizza is expensive, it is worth it. The thin crust ones are especially good. And I have always had the best service here.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster! Gosh their pizza is good. Even their standard pepperoni pizza is the best you'll ever get in this town! I'm going to go for lunch today, I think. Yummmm

Looks like they're doing a little remodeling in the new location. I hope this will include AC for the summer!?

Anonymous said...

My wife and I recently tried Christo's. We had been wanting to try them, so we stop by about 45 minutes before closing. We ordered a pie to go after being ignored by the staff for 15 minutes.
We were shocked by how rude the staff were and we both became very frustrated. I am a small business owner and am posting this primarily for the owners. I certainly wasn't expecting Spago's service but the window at Mcdonalds is more friendly and polite. In conclusion we got home very angry about the service and broke into the pizza. After all that frustration I have to agree we both thought the pizza was exceptional, maybe the best we have had. We had decided to never go back now we are torn because the pizza was so good. Maybe we will call in order ahead so we dont have to deal with the staff?

Great pizza! Horrible service!

Anonymous said...

i think they changed there pepperoni was off last time i had it

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:08 AM.... what day was your visit, if you recall? This would be worth bringing up to the owner/manager so maybe they could get to the bottom of what happened. Your experience sounds frustrating indeed and I'm sure they would like to make sure it never happens again.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 11:08 AM... why did you post your complaint twice?? Just found this -- from another Christo's entry here on this site:

"Tommy B. said...
My wife and I recently tried Christo's. We had been wanting to try them, so we stop by about 45 minutes before closing. We ordered a pie to go after being ignored by the staff for 15 minutes.

We were shocked by how rude the staff were and we both became very frustrated. I am a small business owner and am posting this primarily for the owners. I certainly wasn't expecting Spago's service but the window at Mcdonalds is more friendly and polite. In conclusion we got home very angry about the service and broke into the pizza. After all that frustration I have to agree we both thought the pizza was exceptional, maybe the best we have had. We had decided to never go back now we are torn because the pizza was so good. Maybe we will call in order ahead so we dont have to deal with the staff?

Great pizza! Horrible service!
August 4, 2009 2:20 PM"

I think one relating of your experience was probably enough, right? Or do you have a bigger problem with the place? hmm

Anonymous said...

have eaten at the new(er) location four times now...darn good pizza; but service is weak...bill m

Chuck Bradley said...

I haven’t tried their pizza and probably won’t since thin crust is not an option on individual sizes at lunch time. I had the four cheese cannelloni. It was good but could have been a lot warmer. My greeter-seater-server was gracious and attentive, but looked like a stereotypical homeless person. He would not work for me in any serve-the-public capacity without a major clean-up.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your feedback! I work for Christo's and just want you guys to know we are not oblivious to how the service side of things could improve. I wanted to let you all know we are working hard and trying our best to bring that side of things up to an excellent level. I also wanted to thank our customers for being so cool and really patient with us -- Thanks Salem! We love you guys! And we love feeding you amazing pizza! PS -- we installed air conditioning this year so come on in even if it's a scorcher!

Chuck -- are most of your dining-out meals for lunch? I hope you'll come by one evening perhaps and have one of our thin-crusts for dinner instead. They are delicious, if I do say so myself. (I've been eating at Christo's much longer than I've been working there!) Also, the lunch-sized personal pies are a great price and and ready quickly if you're on a lunch break -- I kinda think you might love one if you gave one a try :) My favorite is the Pepperonata with fire-roasted red peppers and lots of cheese and sausage -- you will love it! Thanks for commenting!

-Sophie

Anonymous said...

Great pizza, poor service.

I know the owners and they are great folks. Give it a try and just be patient with the service (a la Off Center Cafe).

I think they tend to hire their kids friends, which does hurt them from a service perspective.