Christo's

The family decided to head to dinner and after much deliberation, we decided on Christo's. We've been going to Christo's since they opened and have always enjoyed their food.The place was packed but we were happy to find only a short 5 minute wait especially since the kids were really hungry. We asked the friendly fellow who sat us if we could place an order for breadsticks right away in attempts to tide the kids (and the adults) over and he offered instead to bring over the long, crispy breadsticks, which he did right away.

And this is where things went south. As we watched the tables around us get served by no less than three servers, we waited. And tried to catch the eye of any one of the servers coming and going from our section. And waited. At this point, it was evident that we had not ordered, with several menus strewn across our table, but could not to catch the eye of anyone, including the three staff member standing behind the front counter chatting. After 25 minutes, I said, "Excuse me" to the server who had passed our table no less than five times by this point, and was ignored. I raised my voice significantly and said, "Excuse me, do you think we could order sometime? We've been waiting 25 minutes." After a quick glance, the server mumbled our server would be over. A few minutes later, the same fellow who sat us returned, apologizing profusely, saying he didn't know our server hadn't been by. He took our orders for pizzas and sodas and left.

The pizzas were delicious, as we have come to expect from Christos. We had several special requests (no sauce on half, build your own, and a kids pizza with the sauce on the side) and they got all of them correctly. The crust was chewy and thick, the sauce delicious and the cheese perfect. The only disappointment was the porcini mushrooms had a slimy texture and we ended up removing them.

Sadly, our real server (different than the fellow who took our order) or any other server never came back the entire time we were eating. And although the restaurant was much less crowded than when we came in, we weren't asked how our food was and our water and sodas were not refilled until we got our to-go box at the end of the meal. At one point, our server stood at the table next to us, less than a foot away, talking to the customers for about five minutes, while we tried to get any remaining beverage out of our glasses.

Upon looking at our check, we were charged an extra 50 cents for the sauce on the side of the pizza, as if we had ordered an extra side, instead of just taking the sauce from the pizza and putting it on the side. After waiting again for our server to come back, we finally went to the front desk. I asked the young lady who came to the counter if she could remove it and fortunately, she did.

One of the observations we made was it didn't seem like the servers had sections. In our area, there were maybe eight tables and there were at least three servers, plus the fellow who had to come take our order. And, if that is indeed the case, it makes sense why no one knew to help us - they may not have known who had our table. However, after seeing menus on a table for 25 minutes, one of the three servers should have asked if we had been helped.

Although the pizza was good, overall it was a disappointing evening. It's evident by the packed house that people love Christo's, and the pizza is excellent.  But for me, customer service is as important as the food and for us, this level of customer service was not acceptable.

Christo's Pizzeria
1108 Broadway St.
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 371-2892
Facebook page
http://christospizzasalem.com

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Something has changed at Christo's in the last 2 or 3 months. Hopefully they can turn it around.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much mirrors our experience. I think they hire their kids and their friends as servers.

The pizza is really good. The restaurant is very nice. Service is worse than McMenamins (didn't know that was possible!).

I really like the owners and the pizza. It's best taken to go.

Chuck Bradley said...

The many complementary comments, here and elsewhere will, eventually, lead me back to Christo’s. But I found little to like about the place on my first and only visit. They do not, or didn’t at the time, offer individual sized thin crust pizzas. My server was an unkempt and hygienically questionable kid with a scodey stocking cap pulled down over his head. I had a luke-warm four cheese cannelloni which seemed to be warmer in some spots than others. (Nuked perhaps?) I confess I have not tried their Pizza, which is their reason for being. I’ll have to bring a friend or plan on a Bowser Bag to get NY style crust. I just can’t do the thick Chicago style doughy-bread-loaf thing.

Anonymous said...

On my visit the lack of service was annoying as well. Good service will make you want to continue to do business with a company. Bad service will frustrate you and make you think about taking your business else where. We haven’t been back and don’t plan on ever returning.

Anonymous said...

I can understand an off night and that is what I thought I had experienced with Christo's service but obviously I am not the only one to experience craptastic service at Christo's.

Rumor has it that they are reopening the Space and managing that venue as well. Look out for more crappy service there as well.

Until I hear respectable improvements are made in Christo's service I will not be back. No matter how good the pizza is!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Rumor has it that they are reopening the Space and managing that venue as well."

Can you expound upon this? I'm wondering what does "the Space" mean?

Anonymous said...

Bottomline, if you like pizza, you'll like Christo's.

The pizza is great. Bread sticks and Greek salads are tasty.

The restaurant is attractive and cozy.

Cheers
Mike R.

Amber said...

The Space was next door to Christo's and was a music venue/bar of sorts. They closed a while ago and that area of the building has been empty since. It shares a wall with Christo's and there has been talk of Christo's doing something with the area. If I remember correctly, they did do an event using that area for New Year's Eve.

tracylee said...

The Entertainment insert of the SJ this morning (page 2) said that they'd be opening it this weekend with live music and a good PA system (according to Tim Knight). We were there last night and the Grand Jazz band didn't have a professional mic for the singer, which was unfortunate, because she had a great voice - it was just very difficult to hear it.

Anonymous said...

I love Christo's food - but the consistently bad service prevents me from going back anymore. The most-recent fiasco involved my party of four being sent to the bar to wait, only to be told 30 minutes later when we asked why we were being ignored that there was no bartender scheduled that night. The girl at the front desk said she couldn't bring us anything because she wasn't old enough. She then told us that the wait would be long because no one thought a Thursday close to Christmas would be busy and there were only a couple of servers, so "no one is leaving." Winter or summer, weekend or weeknight - I have been ignored, gotten the wrong check and had the three-server shuffle - none of whom would bring me what I requested. Never again.

Anonymous said...

That is my experience with their service as well. Not sure if they're trying to cut costs by cutting staff, but I won't go back until I hear they've improved - and I love their food.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, we had a similar experience with Christo's. We went for a birthday celebration and there were 5 of us. We called ahead to see if we needed reservations and were told we didn't. When we got there, we were seated quickly which was good. Our server was prompt to the table which was also good, but when asked about wines, didn't have a clue. We ordered drinks and what was brought to the table was incorrect. Then we ordered dinner and ordered salads to come before our entree. The salads showed up with the entrees, the server never came back to the table and passed the food to one guest to hand to the next because he didn't walk around the table to deliver the food. On top of that, the two veal entrees were tough and we were unable to do anything about it because we never saw our server again. We hope the owners see these comments and are able to change things because this restaurant is a nice addition to the dining scene in Salem.

Christos said...

To all who had a disappointing time at
Christos, on behalf of myself and I am sure my staff, we hope you will accept our apologies. Being that we are a family run business and that we pour our heart and souls into the place, reading these reviews is very disheartening and a hard pill to swallow.

For the last 14 years we have taken a lot of pride in what we have created here in Salem. We have enjoyed and grown to love many of our customers, whom we now consider friends. Moving a little less then two years ago from our old tiny location to our new (what seems gigantic in comparison)location has been one of our greatest challenges. I know there are times we have fallen short, especially in the area of service. But we have always been motivated to do better, to try new systems meant to hopefully improve our service. Some have been successful, some unfortunately have failed. I only hope that our record will show more successes then failures.

My husband and I must take all the blame.
This is our first and only restaurant. We have not had any previous corporate training or experience. What might seem like simple or easy tasks, have actually in reality been very challenging, so this endeavor, a labor of love, for better or for worse, has been a learning process. For all of us, our customers included! Unfortunately, some of you have fallen victim to our mistakes,for that I am sorry.

To our faithful friends, customers and supporters. From the bottom of my heart....thank you for your patronage and sticking with us through all of it! We have loved serving you! And hope to continue to serve you for many more years to come.

We will continue to strive to do better. We do not take you for granted, we appreciate all of you very much!

With warmest regards and wishes!
Lisa Learn Proprietor/Christos Pizzeria and Restaurant

Amber said...

Lisa,

As the author of this review and a member of eatsalem, I am truly thankful for your response. I think I can speak for everyone at eatsalem when I say our goal is to promote local restaurants and provide feedback about what is working and what isn't working. We genuinely want our local restaurants to succeed. It is very encouraging to me when a local owner hears/reads about issues, accepts responsibility and is proactive in making changes.

As I said in my review, your food is excellent and we've enjoyed it for years. As many of the comments suggest, the problems with customer service are the real concern. Your willingness to address this issue is appreciated and in my humble opinion, shows your dedication to your customers.

Again, thank you very much for your reply.