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Updated July 31, 2018 – Sam’s Southern Eatery has closed.
JONESBORO, Ark. – While most would expect a business to address poor-reviews with an effort to improve, one Jonesboro business appears to have employees who are taking a different approach.
And that’s only the beginning.
Sam’s Southern Eatery Jonesboro, 2512 East Highland Drive, has 28 Facebook reviews as of Tuesday, June 26, 2018. 17 of those – just under 50 percent – are one star reviews. The restaurant has an average of 2.3 stars – which would cause most to deactivate the review section. However, instead, the section is an entertaining look at the reactions of those who have tried the Cajun establishment to great personal disdain.
The first and second reviews are both one star. A woman named Rose wrote that, among other things, “One couple who were seated before us did not get their food and got up and left. All in all, I was very unsatisfied with the entire experience. It just isn’t worth the money and I don’t recommend eating there”
Things appeared to possibly be turning around when in May, one review posted by “Sean” appears to be the most glowing endorsement possible. “The best” catfish he had ever eaten. Several orders of catfish. He also apparently ordered red beans and rice and fries and Jalapeno hush puppies, too, his post claimed.
That would be the most positive of the six 5-star reviews. From there, the reviews would turn from negative to comically negative.
“This one absolutely sucks. Rude hostess making you wait for obviously empty tables. Rude servers not writing down or repeating orders. Food is cold and greasy. Total unmitigated disaster.” – Gabe
“Food has no flavor, waitress we had today was rude, poor service and wont go back.” – Evea
“I ordered chicken wings and they were awful. I literally found the picture on their menu on google. My friends fries, hush puppies, and okra tasted freezer burnt & gross. That staff is super rude and unfriendly.” – Erica
“I think this place might be an April Fools joke that finished ahead of schedule. The food is horrendous. The fish taste like they took fish sticks and formed them into filets then cooked them in oil that wasn’t hot enough. The servers act like they want you to die. Could not possibly be any worse if they tried to be the worst ever.” – Randy
“The servers act like they want you to die.” – Randy.
“Service was beyond terrible. Our second appetizer came an hour later with our food, the chicken strips weren’t even worth a second bite, left with 90% of our food still on the plate. Awful awful awful. Do not eat here: burned chicken strips, microwaved mozzarella sticks, disappointing shrimp considering they are ‘known for their jumbo shrimp'” – Hunter said on February 23.
However, in a twist, a second diner replied to Hunter’s review detailing a similar experience.
“Not a person issue,” replied Rose on March 4. “We just ate there. Twenty minute wait, then we get inside and find that six tables were empty, two waitresses.”
Continuing with the trend of unusually bad reviews, a supporter and positive community member surprised this reporter by being among those who added their take on Sam’s Southern Eatery.
“Being a business owner I never leave bad reviews. My father and I went in to eat lunch, the place was less than 1/4 full and we were very rudely told “you are going to have to sit down and wait on us to get table ready”. Literally 15 minutes later after not being seated and multiple tables being clean and open I asked the lady next to us if she was waiting on a table and she said no I’ve been waiting for 35 minutes for my to go order to be ready that I called in 20 minutes before I got here. A guy in the line complained that even though his order was wrong the waitress was super nice and he was extremely upset that the manager came out and told him he was going to hold it out of her pay. A waitress came up 20 minutes later and said, are you waiting on a to go order and I said no we’ve been waiting 20 minutes to be seated and she said ‘OK’ and walked off. The lady at the register then said to the waitress, ‘Can you see if the kitchen is caught up so I can seat people again?'” – Monica said on March 3.
On March 10, a diner named Ona was waiting on her food while her family had all gotten theirs, already. She ended up asking for hers to be made to go, she said. “It was awful.”
Another rude employee encounter was detailed by Rachel on a March 4 one star review.
“When we finally asked what was going on, the girl VERY RUDELY said they weren’t seating anyone because the kitchen had orders and when we asked if we could at least sit down she said no and she didn’t know what to say because it wasn’t her problem. 2 other couples walked out and we did also.” – Rachel.
“The floor looked like it hadn’t been vacuumed in quite some time and my fiance and I saw a toddler running around with no shoes on who initially came out of the kitchen. It appeared the child belonged to an employee. ” – Spencer said on February 26.
But Janell wrote on June 8 that she could not believe all of the low reviews. She said the fish was the best in town and everything was great.
Many others did not have the same experience, unfortunately.
“This is now officially the worst restaurant in town. The fish was the only decent food on the table. The shrimp tasted like crawfish out of a pot at one of those third rate crawfish festivals I went to as a kid – very strong. Two of our orders were just wrong. The sides were not good at all ( red beans/rice, okra, fries) and the mashed potatoes were really bad. The oysters were undercooked (batter was mushy/raw batter), inedible. Worst part of the visit was that the manager refused to replace the bad oysters with another dish. He eventually came by the table to tell us that the oysters were supposed to be wet. We asked him directly to take the oysters off our ticket b/c none of the dish was eaten. He ignored us and walked away. I asked the waitress to have it removed. She said the manager would not. We wound up paying for something for nothing. It was bad enough that the food was poor at best but even worse that money was stolen from us on our visit here. Sam’s Southern Eatery in Jonesboro literally robbed us. I will be shocked if this pathetic excuse for a restaurant remains open for business. Don’t waste your time or your money” – Carl wrote on May 20.
But on May 23, a man who identified himself as the manager (but then said he was a server, not the manager) replied and went on the offensive.
While that response is not one most expect to see on review pages, it has spent one month and three days publicly visible since being posted.
Several screenshots posted by Nathaniel Alexander were also visible. One included a message from Hany Tony calling someone a “faggot.” However, in the photo below, Tony appears to lose his cool with a customer on an actual review.
The man who appears to work for Sam’s Southern Eatery, and certainly who seems to have taken the one-star review personally, replied to someone named “Todd” who’s post was no longer visible as of this story. While that review was gone, many others remained.
“If you want to be mistreated by the manager and ignored when you politely ask for a different dish because you don’t want to eat soggy possibly undercooked fried oysters go ahead and eat here. My whole family was treated like trash and forced to pay for a meal that me as an 18 weeks pregnant woman who is having triplets shouldn’t be eating when it is very possibly undercooked. The manager is a vile and rude person and has no place in customer service.” Heather wrote on May 20.
Sam’s Southern Eatery is a Cajun restaurant chain first founded in Shreveport, Louisana. Their website says they have over 51 locations across the United States and while several are listed under the Locations:Arkansas menu, the Jonesboro restaurant is not among them.