Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Facci Has A Sign Announcing Expansion, I Hear

Facci in Laurel has a sign annoucning plans to expand their restaurant to the adjoining space next spring, according to an anonymous comment on a prior post.

I had heard chatter about an expansion in October.  There are some wildly divergent reviews of Facci, and I have had some bad experiences with the people who work there.  But there is no question that it's a valuable part of the restaurant scene.  An expansion that allows for takeout will be great -- except for the fact that the parking lot is already full most nights.


Avram said...

I never understood the no take out policy. Verizon Wireless and APL are the two largest private employers in the county with thousands of employees within walking distance to Facci. I used to enjoy takeout from Pasta Blitz back in the day. If they had handout I certainly wouldn't walk to Subway or CFA so often. For pizza and standard lunch fare I'd prefer Coal Fire, but Facci entrees would taste just as good in my office as it does in their dining room.

michelle said...

this is exciting news - we don't really care about the takeout aspect since we live too far for that to be relevant but more tables and maybe a waiting area would be nice

we eat here quite frequently and with the exception of one inattentive and slow server we have never had any major issues - the food is always good and most of the employees are friendly and attentive

Anonymous said...

I really don't get the fuss about this place - once the hype wears down I think that others will see that this is at best a so-so dining experience. Facci has gotten lucky, for now. I've had soggy salads, over salted entrees and pretensious wait staff. I wish them all the success with expansion. But if this were located somewhere else, I don't think that the comments would be the same.

Anonymous said...

I've only had good food at Facci, but I've also only had terrible service. You would think by now the staff would be a lot better.

BikeTraveller said...

I feel like the good service is reserved for "friends of the owners". It is like you have to be part of the cool club. Last recent visit they wouldn't put my name on the list even though I called from 29 and Gorman Rd. Mesnwhile the female owner / business manager was chatting it up with two guys she sat at a 6 top by themselves for 30 minutes waiting for the rest of their party. Meanwhile, all the other patrons she didn't want to do favors for watched and continued to wait for tables. She creeps me out and I've had similar experiences watching the male owner chat it up with his friends at the table behind us and we waited 15 minutes just to get water. The food is good, but it feels like a mafia joint. You are one of "them" or you aren't.

Dan M. said...

OK. So while I've eaten at Facci's before, tonight's experience was absolutely awful. We've known Lisa, the co-owner, for a little while now. She used to work at J&P's around the corner. Quite frankly, at this point, I'm a bit surprised that she's willing to put her name on this establishment.

First, after looking over the wine menu (this place does refer to itself as a wine-bar), I decided on a bottle of Piccini RISERVA Chianti Classico, relatively reasonably priced at $38.00. After much fumbling around, looking for a bottle that matched the label listed on the menu, the waiter, John, brings me a bottle of Piccini's standard Chianti Classico. The waiter explained to me that they were out of the Riserva, but had the regular Classico instead. I immediately explained to the waiter that this was not what was listed in the menu and he agreed and noted expressly that he would charge me accordingly, since the Riserva was not in stock.

So, after explaining that what was listed was not in stock, and after telling me that he would charge me accordingly, John, the waiter, came back and indicated that he just spoke with the other co-owner, who knowingly prepared the wine list with this error and that the price of $38.00 for the standard chianti classico was in fact correct.

Now, I'm sorry, but when a customer points out an error, and you admit that you're clearly peddling something that doesn't match your description, well, that's fraud in my book. I'm slightly more than inclined to call my credit card company and have them handle the charge reversal. What's worse? Asserting that the description was in fact a mistake, but the price is correct and insisting that, despite John's overtures to right the restaurant's error, the other co-owner, Geno, was demanding that the full price be paid.

No matter what this place advertises, it's a restaurant in LAUREL. The co-owners have clearly selected this area as they thought they could serve up nicer food with a nicer ambiance and pull the rug over the patron's eyes. If you want to order X and get Y, along with an explanation that the description is incorrect but that the price remains, then, by all means, piss your money away here. I'll eat elsewhere, not a place owned by a pretentious import who's too pompous to even come over to the table to acknowledge that HE made an error and that they would certainly correct it. Don't think that I'm too American to know the difference between a Chianti Classico and a Riserva Chianti Classico. Go back to Italy, schmuck!

Second, this place has developed an awful infestation of fruit flies. Between the two of us, we killed three alone before our salad was through. Our dinner was peppered with both of us swatting, killing or otherwise shooing a seemingly incessant number of fruit flies. The straw that broke my back was one of these fruit flies deciding to go for a swim in my wine. Hopefully, the health department will force the restaurant to take some corrective actions. Before we were done, including the fly that kamikazed into my wine, we had killed 5 flies and there were plenty more hanging around.

To call the food here authentic Italian is to say that Olive Garden serves authentic food. While the food is palatable, it's generally over-salted, over-cooked and lacking in genuine flavor.

I won't be returning.

Anonymous said...

There is no question that this place has lost a step and lost any edge it had when it first opened.

We used to drive 20-30 minutes to come here about once or twice a month in the initial months after opening.

The last two visits have been disappointing and not worth the drive for us.

1. The food here is not as good as it once was and has been toned down.

Granted, it was never top notch Italian food (nor does need to be), but it was better than average for sure and one of the better options in the Maryland burbs within half an hour from us without having to drive into DC or just cook Italian at home.

The salads are over-dressed (and have typically always been). The caesar salad does not even come with home made dressing..."it comes out of a bottle" is what our server told us upon asking. The last two aruguletta salads we have ordered arrived literally swimming in balsamic. And what is any aspiring Italian restaurant doing offering Caprese in the winter? That is literally an affront to Italian cooking....or putting the same out of season, pale, dreadful tomatoes in a salad I recently ordered there after specifically requesting not to have any tomatoes in my salad? When you add these to the fact that three of the eight salads feature iceberg lettuce and you have to start scratching your head.

The spicing in the foods has been noticeably dumbed down...with any fresh herb notes and nice spiciness in dishes like the Orecchiette Vittorino being dialed back to "safer" flavors. I also agree with people here saying the food is now too predominately salty.

The pizza, after dealing with some initial inconsistencies, is now apparently arriving undercooked again. Our server told us too many people complained about the black spots on the pizza. So the last two visits have resulted in pizzas with undercooked, very chewy crust.

2. The place is chronically overstaffed...with generally weak servers.

The amount of staff always has us marvelling at the burn rate that must cut into profits at Facci. Last two weekend visits had three hostesses at the hostess table and seemingly countless servers...everywhere. Even when packed, half the amount of staff should be able to handle the dining room and bar...easily (yes, I spent many years as a server).

Granted, I appreciate my water glass being kept full and being asked if everything is okay, but Facci is crossing the edge to where it's like, can I please eat my meal in peace? Also, the sheer amount of servers watching and moving about makes the space feel much more hectic than it already is. Throw on top the fact that much of the staff is marginally informed about the menu and cooking preparation and you have far too many weak staff that need to go. Less, but more competant servers (in being able to competently handle more covers, in customer relations and knowledge about the menu)are definitely needed here to help mitigate the "zoo" feeling this place can have.

The entire place feels more "corporate" with all of these factors. It's better than Olive Garden for sure, but very good Italian? No. With the kitchen staff wearing the big hats and red kerchiefs and the now salty, safe food, this place is more reminiscent of the scene you would see at an Italian restaurant in Disney World.

It's a shame. Like the ownership made a conscious decision to pare the food back to where it caters to the largest common denominator possible. That's always a poor decision for any restaurant IMO.

I can understand why a lot of people enjoy going here, but this place has lost the allure for us and we can't see making the 30 minute drive here feels and tastes just like another corporate knock-off restaurant in the suburbs. Too bad.

Avram said...

One of my coworkers just ate there and mentioned a sign saying they will add carry out this spring. It's about time!

Anonymous said...

The resturant is either good or really bad. We used to go frequesntly until we got hit with a $4.00 charge for splitting a plate. I would not have minded IF the waiter would have said something when we ordered. When we asked about the charge, the waiter called the manager over and he said it was policy and written on the menu, VERY small but written. We asked if he would waive it this one time since no one said anything and he said no. We have not returned.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand what the big deal is with Facci. I really have to question that amount of "Thumbs Up" or "Likes" Facci achieves on social networking sites. I'm starting to believe that they may be fabricated.

Most of the negative reviews seem to rehash the same experiences I've had there. Poor service, declining food preparation, and horrible management (that's you Geno - Please go to Business School or something to learn Customer Service).