Amy’s Baking Company kicks us out after we find flies in the vodka (three times)

Posted on May 28, 2013 by


Hayley Ringle, Reporter- Phoenix Business Journal

We went in with an open mind Friday night to try Amy’s Baking Company for the first time, but our quartet was kicked out after pointing out bugs in not one, not two, but three versions of one simple vodka martini.

After Tuesday’s cancellation of a press conference and media interviews, I really wanted to get a firsthand account of the restaurant and the owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo.

If you’ve seen the TV show “Kitchen Nightmares,” which featured the restaurant in its May 10 finale with an exasperated celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay walking out on the couple, Samy turned out to be just like he was portrayed on the show. (I did see Amy behind the counter when I walked in, but not again during our visit.)

Never mind the slow, inexperienced staff, the tense atmosphere in the restaurant and the empty tables which made me wonder where the publicized 1,000 reservations were on a Friday night, there were bugs in one of our drinks. Well, three actually.

Phoenix Business Journal Digital Editor Adam Kress ordered a vodka martini on the rocks with a twist of lemon. The first warning sign was repeating the drink order a couple of times to our waitress. “I don’t drink,” the middle-aged woman said, who also told us “sorry” every single time she came back to the table. This is not an exaggeration. She said sorry whether she had anything to apologize for or not.

Samy finally came over about 10 minutes later to retake the drink order from Kress. Shortly after he delivered the drink, which wasn’t on the rocks and merely had a lemon wedge floating in it, we immediately noticed a small fruit fly in it.

We called Samy over and told him, showing him the bug on a spoon. He cordially offered to bring us another drink.

The second drink, this time on the rocks, had yet another fruit fly on the bottom.

This time when we called him over he said it wasn’t a bug, but “from the lemons,” he explained with a wave of his hand. He quickly took it away to make another.

So the third drink came. And we noticed not one, not two, but three fruit flies swirling around in the drink. We gingerly took out each one, laid it on a plate, and asked Samy to come over once again.

He immediately became defensive. He said there are no bugs in the drinks, and he would pay for all of our drinks and then said we needed to leave.

I asked him if there were no bugs, did he think we planted them in the drinks? He again told us to leave.

So our group of four, which had all ordered alcohol except for me, and had each ordered a dish close to $15, walked out at Samy’s stern request.

“At first I didn’t even understand what Samy was doing, but I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at his reaction,” Kress said. “It’s clear to me that Amy’s has truly earned its less than glowing reputation. I can’t remember experiencing worse customer service, and they had two chances to make it right.”

My friend and dining partner Jennifer Pinner, a former journalist and current communications manager whose husband is a youth pastor, said she was “completely mystified” by the experience.

“I’ve never been kicked out of a restaurant before in my life,” said Pinner, who has two young children. “It’s so bizarre.”

She said dining at Amy’s was like sitting in a classroom and not wanting to do anything to upset or call attention to the teacher.

My other friend and dining partner was Devlyn Parsons, the Phoenix Business Journal’s audience development marketing specialist. She said she had never in her life seen so many problems with bugs in a drink, and she worked in restaurants for eight years.

“I’m just still in shock,” Parsons said. “You don’t treat customers like that.”

So what does everyone do that can’t eat at Amy’s, or who walks by with curiosity hoping to get a glimpse of Amy or Samy? They go next door to Pita Jungle, which was super busy and very friendly. It was refreshing to say the least. We realized we had been at Amy’s almost an hour, and had no food and one seriously flawed cocktail to show for it.

When our meal at Pita Jungle was finished, we jokingly asked our waitress if she could go to Amy’s and buy us a slice of the chocolate mousse cake we had heard was so good, (and possibly not baked by Amy, according to several reports). To our surprise and delight, she agreed to walk over there and buy it for us. We gave her the money to do so. The slice of cake was $10.90.

The cake was good, although when we opened the box we immediately noticed what looked like a fingerprint smooshed into the side.

We ate around the fingerprint and laughed. What else can you do?


Posted in: Family safety