^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
4

Separate Your Own Damned Checks

I love the self-checkout line at the grocery store. I prefer the online banking option that prevents me from having to interact with another human being. And when I go to the movies, I always buy tickets at the kiosk rather than deal with the surly teen behind glass.

But when I go to a restaurant, I'm not looking for a DIY experience, which is why my recent trip to Maudie's Too on South Lamar in Austin was so strange.

I've been going to Maudie's on every trip to Austin for the last 11 years. It's not a Michelin star kind of place, but it is a gem among the many Tex-Mex places in town. Their house margaritas are so good you don't need to order a top shelf, their queso is outstanding, and every time I eat the Strait Plate (three beef enchiladas topped with chili con carne, chopped onions and two fried eggs) I hear the Old 97's cover of "El Paso" in my head.

On Saturday, I was in town to help a good friend from college celebrate her birthday, and about 15 of us met on the patio at Maudie's. She had notified the management before everyone arrived that we would need separate checks. When our waiter came out, he put us on the honor system: He told us to keep track of what we ordered and he would give us separate totals at the end of the meal. We thought that was strange, but everyone was filled with a friendly queso glow, and anyway it was nothing a second margarita wouldn't fix.

Unfortunately, at the end of the meal, our waiter evidently forgot his original plan and brought out one check for the table. What's more, he told us that he wouldn't be able to separate it for us. Then, he gave us new directions: We were to add up our own totals, calculate our own sales tax (thank God for smart phones with built-in calculators), and then write on the back of the ticket exactly how much was to be charged to each credit card.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Now, I realize that a couple of ice ages have elapsed since I was last a waiter, but this was a new experience to me. I remember hating to separate checks for large parties, but I did it because it was part of the job. Who knows, maybe the world has changed? So when I returned home, I called the manager.

Eric Benson, the manager for the South Lamar location, was very nice when I spoke to him, and to his credit, he was already very familiar with what had happened. Maudie's does separate checks for large parties, and Benson agreed that he should have done it for us.

What's your opinion on all this? Folks from the restaurant industry -- what's the biggest check-separating nightmare you've ever had to deal with? Diners -- has this kind of thing happened to you?

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.