Hungry are the banned


I am banned from Cosmo’s Pizza.

For life.


It was back in 1999 when I and my then-girlfriend R. went there for dinner. I had eaten at the restaurant on Birmingham’s Southside plenty of times — it had a good selection of gourmet toppings you couldn’t find other places.

When we arrived, only a handful of people were already seated. The server asked us where we wanted to sit, and we chose outside since it was a pretty evening.

Another group sat outside, too. We had a complete view of the restaurant from our patio next to the entrance, thank to the wall of windows. And the place was having a slow evening.

We ordered two Cokes, an appetizer of breadsticks and a pizza.

Our drinks arrived in a few minutes.

We were fairly hungry when we arrived. But we could tough it out.

The server hung out at the bar, chatting up the bartender. She came out several times to check on her buddies at the other table, walking past ours without stopping.

Our glasses were empty. No appetizer, no pizza, no updates.

We flagged her down to find out what was happening. It appeared she hadn’t even put in the order yet. We could’ve at least had the breadsticks: Their version is the crispy flat-bread kind, usually served at room temperature.

After 45 minutes, it was clear nothing was happening. Nothing was going to happen. She chatted away merrily at the bar, while we were hungrier than ever.

We decided to cut our losses. Time to start all over again at another restaurant. I pulled out a fiver to leave on the table for our drinks.

As we walked away, the funniest thing happened. The server shot through the restaurant and burst through the door, yelling at us.

“I know what you look like! I know what you look like! Don’t come back — you’re banned for life!”

I didn’t even know she could move that fast.

We kept walking. I turned over my shoulder, smiled, gave a little wave and said, “Thanks. Thank you.”

And I never went back again.

People ask me if I miss the place, the pizza. Of course not. No one misses lousy service and lazy waitresses. No one misses sitting there with your honey, as your stomachs rumble in unison.

Besides, if I went back or ordered out, she’d still be there to spit in the dough. If they can’t serve you on a slow night, then ban you on the spot after ignoring you for the better part of an hour, just imagine the horrors and shortcuts going on in the kitchen every night of the week.

You ban me? No, ma’am: I ban you.


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