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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Tru Orleans is Open

welcome, patrons
Tru Orleans when it opened. Photo by Frozen Tropics Flickr Pool user philliefan99

Titan of Trinidad (typically a satirical blog) has a photo up of a sign outside Tru Orleans (400 H Street) saying the New Orlean themed restaurant/bar has temporarily shut down (the sign says "Closed until further notice"). Here's the original tweet from @montyhobbs. Here's a link to their Yelp page, which shows their overall rating as two stars.

I answered a reader email last week asking if the restaurant had closed, and we both confirmed (she drove by it later) that it was still operating. It sounds like she had heard a rumor of an impending shutdown.

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UPDATE 
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Tru Orleans is OPEN. I was told over the phone that they opened late for lunch service due to a lack of servers.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was there Friday so was open then.

I am not too surprised, though. Their service and food was highly lacking and also overpriced. I used to go for their strong drinks (and their wings were good). It was a good place to go for a drink when other places were too packed... and that is about it.

Cool space though.

kfed said...

Can't say Truorleans was amazing, but the hate that comes out for the restaurant is really out of scale. The food was decent, service has generally been decent every time we've been there.

We've been there a number of times and never had an issue. Is there something else going on that we should know about to deserve 1 star etc...?

Anonymous said...

I just called over there to book space for Friday. Someone answered and put me on the books for that evening.

Anonymous said...

This is my first ever comment on Frozen Tropics, though I read it regularly, and it's because of my hatred for Tru Orleans. This is easily one of the worst restaurants I've ever been to and that was mostly attributed to the management and service. I had hoped it would be better or improve along the way but they are completely clueless. You never hope to see a business fail, but if this is true we should cross our fingers that something better can occupy that space.

Anonymous said...

They've been closed on Mondays for a few weeks now, so maybe this is just an extension of that closing for a renovation project or something. Hopefully they're just going away forever so something not terrible will take their place. But you never know.

Anonymous said...

dreams can come tru

inked said...

Just reached them. They are open. They had too few servers for lunch.

MJ said...

but the hate that comes out for the restaurant is really out of scale

I think that's because its badly mismanaged and people are judging it based on potential- it's a great location, it has a nice open air upstairs bar area, and the concept seems solid, but the execution is pretty poor and it really feels like the staff is just thrown in there and left to fend for themselves. Food is just OK and overpriced for what it is and most the stuff has a premade Sysco flavor to it. The last time I was there the bartender was extremely professional and attentive to us even though you could tell he was about to kirk out on his co-workers because they took all his prep work. The Yelp reviews are pretty accurate.

Anonymous said...

Agree- this is a good example of accurate Yelp reviews. I typically dislike Yelp, but the reviews for this place seem dead on.

Anonymous said...

I live in the neighborhood and, wary of the reviews, only recently checked them out. I sat with my boyfriend at the bar and ordered 2 drinks (1 beer, 1 cocktail) and 2 appetizers. when we received the bill, it did not include the itemized copy, just the total: >$50. ~$50 plus $10-12 tip seemed high based on the menu prices. Then, I remembered reading on Yelp about how they auto-grat and asked for an itemized copy. Sure, enough, 18% tip had been included. While I think its kind of silly they feel the need to autograt for all sizes of parties when that is not common practice in this country, at least don't try to hide it by not providing the itemized receipt! Initially, we felt the experience was fine, drinks and food were tasty, service was great. But, already high prices coupled with unncessary trickery= I will not be going back.

heyktb said...

not a fan!

Anonymous said...

Given that many of the Yelp reviews focus on problems with the management and servers, it seems rather telling that the temporary closure was caused by having too few servers.

kfed said...

Thanks MJ, think that's the most reasonable criticism I've seen. Still not deserving of one star, but maybe people get fickle on Yelp.

As for the auto-gratuity, is that so awful? People should generally give 18% if you think people who wait tables deserve to make a living.

Anonymous said...

the auto-gratuity is awful when you are not told about it.

81d rbattri said...

Autograt is not benificial to the wiat staff... I always leave 20% but if the service is included, then I leave nothing additional... I'm sure that others are the same way. In that case, they're missing out on an additional 2%

Anonymous said...

that's too bad. i was hoping it had shut down. then the po boys kitchen could take over that building. that would be cool

Anonymous said...

I used to deliver pizzas and subs in Baltimore. Downtown Baltimore. Let's just say tips were not exactly run of the mill in my 4 year experience. Extrapolate this to Tru Orleans and it might become clearer as to why they auto-grat. Just sayin'.

poo's wanna be concubine said...

that corner is jinxed. it goes from one flippant, crappy owner/manager to another.

i hope it stays the way it is for many years, as a reminder of what shitty management is all about.

in fact, i may bring classes there to learn what not to do.

i hate to say it, but it's only ghetto-fabulous to ... apparently some noveau riche that haven't ventured outside of DC or West Virginia.

place sucks, and is becoming an embarassment to the real businesses on H.

friggin gross joint.

Anonymous said...

kfed, people do deserve to make a living....but they need to give something in return. Ummm, show up for work maybe?

Anonymous said...

Restaurants don't shut down for lack of servers. Check for utility liens.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been here for a while, but I can see how it would head the direction that it seems to have gone. The first time we went there, service was decent and food was pretty good, but one item was too salty. That was literally the only thing standing between the dish and greatness. So I asked the server to speak to the manager. He came over, I told him about the salt level, noting that it was thisclose to great, and he just shrugged and walked away. Um...ok. The second time I went there, the bartender was surly and apparently unhappy that we were taking up two barstools on a slow Monday night just to drink. She kept trying to push food on us.

Also, autograts are a joke except for extremely large parties (10, opinion of a former server) that include lots of children. For some reason, people feel that they should tip less for kids, even though they're typically more demanding than adult customers, either during the meal (lots of refills, spilled food that needs immediate cleanup, and whatever else you can do to keep the peace so that other diners aren't disturbed) or after when you have to clean half their meal off the floor/table/walls...heck, I've even seen food on overhead lights after some particularly bratty kids departed. Well, okay, if I had the option (my restaurant's policy was 8+, at the discretion of the server), I'd also autograt large parties that ordered only apps and water. But you'll typically do better without an autograt no matter the size of the party if they're ordering meals and, particularly, adult beverages. If I were charged a "service fee" for a small party, I wouldn't tip any more than that (even though I'd normally tip 20%+), and if the service were bad, well, that's why I pay with a credit card, so I can get the charges reversed with a believable story and let the service provider try to explain to Chase, not me, why they think I should be on the hook for that part of the bill/the whole bill.

Anonymous said...

We went once a few weeks after they first opened and will never go back there again. The place is way to expensive for what you get and the service was terrible. I haven't seen the Yelp reviews but I am sure they are spot on. Sorry - but the place needs a real overhaul in service and pricing.

4th and G said...

I agree that the hatred of the place is out of scale.

For my two cents, I'm like a lot of other people in the neighborhood. I tried it out a couple of times, and both times (owing to poorly executed food or below average service) felt that there are quite a few better options within just a few blocks. The place looks great, but I'm paying for the food and service.

Alan Page said...

I'm actually from New Orleans, so my coolness towards Tru Orleans comes from my opinion that the food isn't very authentic to New Orleans cooking as I've known and experienced it. Management took back one dish that I felt was way subpar, no issue there. Only minor issue is, I asked about whether the chef (or any of the chefs) was (were) from New Orleans. The manager said one chef was, but when I asked him if he could go back and tell me what back of New Orleans they were from, the manager disappeared and never returned. Ha! From the taste of things, if one of the chefs were actually from New Orleans, they didn't learn how to cook there.

Hoping they can get a new executive chef and turn the place around...

Alan Page said...

what PART of New Orleans, not "what 'BACK' of New Orleans". Weirdest typo I've ever made.

Anonymous said...

No, the place is awful and the owners/managers should know. Great example: the first time I went there was as they opened on a Saturday morning for brunch. There was no one else in the place yet the hostess told us to wait while she found us a table. Then as she seated us, she informed us that we needed to finish our meal in an hour because there was a private party coming in. Again, all this when we were the only 2 people in the whole place. Just awful.

The included gratuity is obnoxious and as I've observed, a good excuse for the service to be lousy.

Hillman said...

Never been to Tru Orleans. I waited to see reviews first and they were roundly trashed.

But I really don't care for the surprise 'automatic grat' thing for parties as small as two people.

Even if it's printed somewhere on a menu it is definitely an odd and unexpected business practice, and they should tell people about it EVERY time they eat there.

They should also point it out on the bill instead of trying to hide it.

Very few people can read all the fine print on a menu, and shouldn't be expected to.

And then to follow that up with not itemizing it on the bill or credit card receipt?

Especially after months now of people complaining about it and trying to tell the owners that this is not normal business practice.

That to me reeks of dishonest and dodgy business practice.

The whole thing of calling it a 'service fee' or some variation of that is laughable.

Hillman said...

Also it's a terrible business practice from the owners point of view.

Why should waiters or other staff try at all if their tip is going to be the same either way?

If you are already having service problems the last thing you want to do is add an auto grat for all diners.

V+ said...

There's just no excuse for mediocre food these days. Poor quality ingredients, poor execution, etc. Looking forward to a change there.

Anonymous said...

I want to like this place.However they are over priced for what the venue offers.