Two weeks as ago a friend and I were stranded on the streets of the French Quarters without shelter and dwindling funds. Bourbon Street got old after the first night and after witnessing a sloshed spring breaker nearly fall to his death from a balcony the night before, we were ready for a tame night. We managed to kill a few hours on 2 cent slots at Harrah's casino, but eventually decided to make the trek up Dacateur Street for a late night snack.
We walked toward the world famous Cafe Du Monde without a clue if they were open. The streets were empty and if not for the faint drum and bass of Lil' Wayne blasting from clubs on Bourbon St. they were also quiet. I didn't know the streets well so I found myself peering around every corner trying to catch a glimpse of the large open air patio and green and white awning hoping that the lights would be on.
Moments later we were sitting inside the cafe (the patio was closed) ordering what would be my first* beignet ever. The menu was simple and the food was cheap... really cheap. I began to realize how this place became so popular. I noticed immediately however this place was nothing like I imagined. When I heard about the world famous cafe in the French Quarters renowned for their beignets I pictured a dim, cozy Victorian style building with balconies and cast iron corinthian style patio seats. At least that's what New Orleans looks like at Disneyland. Instead I was sitting in a cafe crammed with seats, the floors were sticky, the water warm and our waitress was sitting down having a midnight snack two table away from us. To cap off the whole experience she scoffed at our 2 dollar tip (for 2.00 beignets!) and at no point did her actions even slightly come close to customer service.
The beignets were excellent but I hate when famous places think they don't have to pay attention to details. They become complacent and feel like their product alone does service to the customers. You see this at Lucky Boys (Pasadena) and Buffalo Wild Wings (Brooklyn), don't even get me started on "street wear" and their so called "boutiques" (aka Supreme, Union, Wesc etc.) They just bring customer service down to a whole new low.
I realize that 30 minutes before closing isn't the best time to come into a place and expect excellent service, however it isn't hard to greet a customer with a smile or just greet them at all. Cafe Du Monde did boast some pretty delicious pastries but the service was borderline insulting.
*Truth be told, my first beignet was consumed earlier in the day from a friend who had just come from the Cafe.