Mi Cocina to Diners: “You Come, You Eat, You Leave — Quickly!”

A complaint letter written to Mi Cocina was passed to me earlier in the week. In it, the diner complains about being hurried through a meal. Not a big deal, eh? I mean, your hurry is my perfect pace. Except for this: the diner claimed that the minute the bill was paid, a server delivered a framed statement from management. It read: “Here at Mi Cocina, we are in the restaurant business. If you do not intend to continue eating and drinking, please vacate this table.” You can read the entire letter after the jump.

I called the Mi Cocina in question, the one in the West Village. The manager, a man by the name of Walter, assured me that they didn’t have such a printed notice. But Nancy has confirmed that one did exist. When corporate caught wind of the incident, they were aghast. The policy has been changed, and the diner has received an apology and an invitation to dine on the house.

I am writing to tell you of my recent experience at your restaurant. My husband, my parents, and I recently dined at Mi Cocina in West Village.

We stopped in at your establishment for a quick bite following the Tut exhibit at the DMA. The patio was crowded, so we asked for an indoor table. It was early; the restaurant was not busy inside.

Within ten minutes of placing our dinner order, we received our entrees. We chose to view this as efficient, not pushy. Halfway through dinner, your waiter left the check at our table. He did not wait until we finished our entrees; he did not offer drinks or dessert. My husband graciously paid the bill. He even over-tipped your marginal waitstaff because we didn’t order alcohol. Before my husband even pocketed the receipt, your waiter was back. He left a notice on our table. It read as follows (paraphrased):

“Here at Mi Cocina, we are in the restaurant business. If you do not intend to continue eating and drinking, please vacate this table.”

You cannot imagine how embarrassed and offended we were! My husband discreetly took the manager aside for a few words. The manager neither apologized nor cared. My husband gently suggested that the manager might stop by the table and apologize to our dinner guests. He did not do so. This is not surprising, as the creation of the printed and framed sign is clearly an act of the management.

Since we had already paid the bill, we all left the restaurant. Our evening (and our opinion of your restaurant) was ruined.

I would like to make a few points:

1. The restaurant was not crowded. There was no wait for a table.

2. Our waitstaff was not responsible for this sign. It was printed and framed – clearly an act of your management.

3. Dallas is not short on TexMex restaurants. We have MANY other establishments to choose from.

4. In behaving rudely, MCrowd invited us to spend our money at other restaurants. We will gladly do so.

Until that night, MCrowd restaurants were a favorite. I love the Nachos Mas Elegantes at Taco Diner; in fact, I had them for lunch that very day. My husband is a big fan of Mi Cocina fajitas and margaritas in Southlake, Irving, and Highland Park. I am sorry your staff behaved so badly. They’ve ruined one of our favorite hangouts.

I would definitely suggest that my friends and family patronize other eating establishments. I would hate for them to receive the same ill-treatment we received — after paying for it!


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72 responses to “Mi Cocina to Diners: “You Come, You Eat, You Leave — Quickly!””

  1. G$$ says:

    I thought Mico was asked to leave MCrowd, no? They are definately not the same as when they started, marginal food, crappy service, really expensive food. Shoulda gone to Manny’s, yum!!!

  2. Chris says:

    We stopped going to Mi Cocina when they started be a-holes about seating with your full party. I understand the policy. But its horrible management to make a party wait, that could be sitting down ordering drinks, spending money.

  3. That’s shocking. I’ve eaten at Mi Cocina’s various locations a ka’jillion times and never seen or heard about that. In a city with 4,000 good Tex-Mex joints, they’d better be smarter about making their customers feel good about their decision to dine there. Dangerous.

  4. amandacobra says:

    I have a tradition each year of going to Taco Diner then to a Mavs game on the Saturday night nearest my birthday. Year before last, we went to the Taco Diner in HP and had no prob.

    Last year, because it’s closer to AAC, we went to the Taco Diner in West Village. The weather was nice so we sat outside. Every entree we ordered came to us wrong (as in completely different dish) and it took two trips back to the kitchen to get the right one. Then they brought us the bill right as we got our correct orders (we HAD kinda hoped to order a second round of margaritas…) and by this point, we were really unhappy. Then we looked at the bill and we had gotten another (10 top) table’s bill which was well over $300. When we tried to explain this, the waiter unbelievably try to convince us that was our bill.

    Don’t plan on ever going back again. Good riddance.

  5. CBS says:

    seriously, why anyone eats Mcrowd pablum is beyond me. i’ll give you decent drinks, but better food can be found in the grocery store freezer section. indifferent service is their trademark!

    Manny’s, Mia’s, heck even Uncle Julio’s is better!

  6. DallasDem says:

    Obama will fix this.

  7. Margaret says:

    My friends and I ate at the HPV Mico and had the same rushed treatment. They also preceeded to vaccumm around us even once we complained for them to stop.

    I wrote a letter to corporate, recieved a nice gift card and used it at the West Village Mico where the SAME THING happened.

    People continue to go to Mico no matter the service or the food, so I am sure it will continue to happen.

  8. S.E. says:

    And I thought I was the only person who thought Mico’s food was marginal! Considering there are better – and friendlier – Mexican restaurants, I never understood the allure. I’ll stick with Manny’s, or even Chuy’s.

  9. Ted says:

    Not surprised. I was having a business lunch at the Legacy location and had just finished 2 of 3 delicious mole enchiladas when the waiter tried to take the plate from me — with the fork still in my hand. There was no line, and we had been seated for less than 20 minutes.

  10. drew says:

    That’s terrific that they apologized and changed the policy, but there are a lot of independent restaurant owners in Dallas who would never treat their customers like this in the first place — and certainly not in this economic environment.

  11. RAB says:

    Okay, someone needs to stick up for the MCrowders. I would like to go on record (anonymously) that the staff at Taco Diner in Preston Center is incredibly nice and attentive, especially considering the carnage and chaos created by ours and other kids. It’s one of our favorite restaurants. We’ve never had a bad experience.

    Wait, scotch that. The place sucks. Don’t go there! (The last thing we want is even more people showing up and increasing the wait time.)

  12. James says:

    I’ve stopped dining at MiCocina years ago… Always thought the service was okay, but the food is average at best. Give me Manny’s, Luna De Noche, Mia’s, Pappasitos, Uncle Julio’s, Matt’s and I could go on and on!!!

  13. ross says:

    Mi Cocina, Manny’s, Mia’s etc….ALL THE SAME FAMILY

  14. mh says:

    I love their sunset fajitas but the price for their regular margaritas is ridiculous. We only get take-out and they are very stingy with giving out “extra” salsa. I was told once I would have to pay for additional salsa if I wanted more than 2 small plastic containers of it.
    2 plates of enchiladas rice and beans and 2 margaritas should not be $50. Thats stupid.

  15. Sara says:

    Rafa’s Rules! Snapper Mojo de Ajo, yummm!

  16. Joe says:

    MiCocina is today’s El Chico/El Fenix. Forget that. At least, El Fenix has Enchilada Wednesday.

  17. CBS says:

    @ross- and despite the kevin bacon connection, the latter 2 continue to produce far higher quality food and service.

  18. Melody says:

    WOW! I just read this post and YESTERDAY the EXACT same thing happened to 2 friends and I at the Mi Cocina at the Shops at Legacy!!!! We were dining outside at lunch, rushed through the meal, the check left with no request of would you like dessert. We ask the waiter to please keep the check until we were finished because we generally get dessert and he gave us the VERBAL equivalent message of “We are in the business of turning tables quickly”. We WON”T be back. The food is marginal, very pricey, and since I now KNOW that this is their how MGroup thinks, will not frequent their other restaurants as well!!!

  19. Maggie says:

    How funny – until reading this I completely forgot about a weird dinner at the West Village Mi Cocina where our waiter – TWICE! – tried to take away our plates before we were done eating. I just figured it was a singular incident and a bad waiter. Incredible.

  20. T Sizzle or Fizzle says:

    Manny’s and Mia’s are from the same family but they are not Mcrowd restaurants b/c Mamma said you can only run one restaurant well. It appears that she was right. I think Manny’s is owned by an uncle.

  21. John M says:

    Wow, that is absolutely unacceptable. I’m going to miss mambo taxi’s but I won’t give money to a restaurant that treats their customers that way.

    Does anyone know what they put in mambo taxis anyways? I can drink most people under the table but one mambo taxi and I have a very nice buzz going, two and I’m well on my way to drunk.

  22. BMS says:

    Maybe I am just cheap, but the ONLY time I ate there I ordered a coke and was surprised to have it served from a can. Being that I usually get a refill or two while eating when it came time for the bill I was shocked to find that I had paid for four drinks for a party of two.

  23. JK says:

    I have to say that I’ve seen a lot of people outside at the West Village MiCo who will sit there for HOURS and barely eat or drink anything. It’s like they’re paying a marginal amount of money for a front-row seat to people-watch on a nice weekend evening. I can’t defend the rudeness of the way the people making the complaint have been treated as diners, though.

  24. Margaret says:

    Rumor? I am not sure, but I have heard they do put everclear in the mambo. No facts to this, just what I have heard.

  25. Daniel says:

    “MiCocina is today’s El Chico/El Fenix”

    Spot on. But I’ll raise you, and claim it’s even worse — it’s today’s On the Border. You can get Mexican food that good in Pennsylfreakingvania. Matt’s, La Calle Doce, Monica’s and so, so many more … hell, even suburban-goofball Cafe Nuevo Laredo beats Mi Cocina, handily.

  26. Amy S says:

    I still go to Preston/Forest, sit in their adult only bar – love the margaritas (hic!).

  27. superkaty says:

    i ate at mi co in HP last night. had incredibly great service (as i always do) and sat next to troy aikman, who is a regular…wouldn’t think someone of his stature would go so often if it had such bad service. don’t knock all mi co’s just b/c the one in the west village stinks – and i agree, it does. however, taco diner there has always been a pleasant experience.

  28. amandacobra says:

    For Christmas, I am asking for one whole week without a Troy Aikman at the HP Mi Cocina’s sighting.

    Not a slam at you, superkaty. Just starting to wonder how he has time to call Sunday games between all his HP Mi Cocina’s visits.

  29. BCeleste says:

    @John M:
    they use a margarita and sangria mix (with a nice alcohol content) for the mambo taxi.

    Yeah, the west village location is the one I had a bad experience at a little while ago and never went back.

  30. Bethany says:

    @amandacobra: I’m wondering how he’s not launching silent but deadlies in the booth with Joe Buck, with all that MiCo.

  31. BCeleste says:

    Also @John M:
    They also use Chambord liqueur in the mambo taxi as well.

  32. mm says:

    Also, here’s a thought: maybe Troy Freaking Aikman gets preferential treatment? So his MiCo experience would have no bearing on what kind of service the rank and file should expect.

    @Bethany: Troy Aikman simply does not do that.

  33. James says:


    If you’re Troy Aikman you’ll get great service at Taco Freaking Bell! He’s Troy, of course he’s going to get great service, he won’t be rushed and I’m sure a little extra love will be paid to his food…

  34. BB says:

    My husband and I have had the same experience at Mico in HP – sat down for dinner (I wasn’t drinking because I had a race the next day but he was) and the SECOND they ripped our plates from our table (which was even before I was finished mind you) they slapped down our bill and started totally clearing our table. Luckily my husband assertively told the wait staff to Stop and let us enjoy each other’s company. It was ridiculous. They were like hawks watching us and any indication of putting our fork down, they were all over taking away our plates!!!!! It’s SO annoying. When you spend $12 on a dang drink or mambo taxi, they should NO way push you out the door.

  35. Puddin'Tane says:

    Shouldn’t it be “leave quickly and not eat?”

    Who eats at Mi Cocina anyway? Blegh.

  36. Kathi says:

    I have been to West Village and seen big tables of guys just drinking while I was waiting for a table. So it doesn’t bother me that they ask people to move on. It has happened to me at Unlce Julios and other restaurants, especially at lunch when they need to turn tables. It is a business. And people are eventually happier when they get served.

  37. columbiasooner says:

    Aikman waited 10 minutes for a table last night. We timed it. They did let he and his wife sit down even though his party wasn’t complete. Jason Garrett and his wife came in about 5 minutes later.

  38. ed deatrich says:

    I am not a resident of Dallas or Texas for that matter. I do however visit Dallas at least once a year and the first and last restaurant I go to is Mi Cocina. I actually have dreams about the Nachos and there Guacamole. I live in southern california so I am no stranger to mexican food.The fact is there food is unbeatable.Mi Cocina is always buisy when I have been there,and if the waiter slipped me a check before I was ready to leave.I would tell him I would let him know when I was ready to leave.And order another servasa !

  39. Dallasite says:


    As a restaurant owner, I would be extremely pissed off if I ever heard of one of my staff doing this. Yes, it is a business, but first and foremost that business is customer service.

  40. Jerry says:

    After reading about all of these experiences, to me the simple thing to do would be to go to Mi Cocina, eat your meal, then hang out at the table as long as you want to. They won’t kick you out until you pay your bill, so take your time to pay your bill.

  41. miranda says:

    I ate at the one in Richardson and had crappy service and even worse food. And yes, we were rushed out. I tell you what if I had received that lovely framed note, I would have just sat there for a little while longer. Just to be spiteful.

  42. henry says:

    i had a bad experience at MiCocina once…10 years ago. Today it’s my go to restaurant time and time again. It’s good food, stiff drinks and beautiful people. I am a customer for life.

  43. RB says:

    i’m surprised by this thread. ive dined at mico and taco diner countless times–hpv, west vil, preston/forest, legacy, frankfurt, preston center–and never really had anything like this happen to me. patio or inside.

  44. Rikki says:

    I have been patronizing Mi Cocina since they opened their first location and let me tell you, I am willing to wait as long as it takes, drink as fast as I can, for those Mambo Limo’s, Taxis and Number 5’s! If this truly happened, then I agree that it was totally wrong to be treated this way, but nothing will keep me from those Mambos!

  45. Mark says:

    Way, way back in the day, back about 2003 or so, back when if you wanted your words to show up on FrontBurner you e-mailed the staff and, if deemed worthy, portions would show up quoted in a post, I commented to Nancy that I quit going to MiCo because they had begun to act like they were doing you a favor by letting you dine there.

    This just seems like a logical extension of their years-old behavior.

  46. Karen says:

    I live just a few blocks from west village and althought that mi cocina is more convenient, I have never really liked the atmosphere there, I love the hp location and still think the food is great and can’t complain about the upstairs “monkey bar” and the mambo taxis

    mia’s and manny’s are great too!

  47. Jane says:

    My husband & I had a similar experience @ the Southlake establishment being rushed through our dinner. I was shocked when the server came by near the end of our meal & picked up our plates before we were finished. I literally was still putting food in my mouth when the server came by a took our plates away. She never came by to refill our drinks & to top it off, when we paid cash & gave her a $100.00 bill, she disappeared for 15 minutes while we waited for our change. To our surprise – we were short changed $10 which we immediately told the server, she disappeared again & 10 minutes later cam back with the correct change. Needless to say, we left NO TIP, & have never returned to that restaurant.

    Everyone should always check their receipt to make sure they aren’t being overcharged for food they didn’t order & then check you change if you pay in cash!!!

  48. DallasGirl says:

    I have been a FREQUENT Mi Cocina diner since it’s inception (and at multiple locations). I think the complainers of the world will always find something wrong with every experience. I love Mico ~ NEVER had a problem and will still go back…so will my family. I actually went last night just to see if I would have a bad experience and NOPE – perfect and yummy as always.

  49. Gastronome says:

    The thread here is so self absorbed and negative — the thread on the story at NBC5i.com sees things from the point of view of a waiter making $2.13 per hour plus tips, with only a few hours per shift where people are actually eating that waiters make their money (from which they are often required to tip out their bussers and hostesses). They then have to declare 18% of total sales to the IRS (with computers and credit cards there is little room to fudge). With what they are left with they pay their own rent, clothing, food, and in a lot of cases the college loan (no bailout for waiters). Tables that don’t move during rush hour is an issue for all waiters and waitresses, who are in essence entrepreneurs renting a limited number of tables for the night to make a living. By the way, the affronted customer was not asked to leave, but merely to open the table by moving to another part of the restaurant (such as the bar) — the card reads “As we are in the restaurant business, if you are sitting at this table without eating or drinking — during peak hours — we may ask you to sit at another table”. There’s no good way to ask a camper to vacate a table, but from the waiter’s perspective — kudos to Mi Cocina for addressing the issue.

  50. Bethany says:

    Isn’t it pretty simple? If you’re feeling rushed, one warning to the server to be proactive – “Hey, I’d like to finish my meal, and I plan on ordering dessert or another drink, so I’d like the check after that.”

    If they continue to rush you, the tip is smaller.

  51. Hasaan says:

    I one time ate here and then I had a headache. It was a very bad headache. I was rubbing my head and after that, I went to the bathroom. By the time my tacos arrived, it had gone away. But then a man entered the restaurant carrying a pizza. He said it contained Polish sausage. At any rate, I was wearing my best jeans and then the waiter refused to bring me any peanut butter. I will certainly steer clear of Fadi’s next week.

  52. REG says:

    I love Mico! I always go there before hitting up Silver City who coincidentally serve excellent pink tacos

  53. kkepner says:

    My wife and I lovemi cocinas environment and the food is always great. However, we have never had good service. Most of the servers speak little to no english and we usually get something on our order wrong. But it is close to our house and has a great patio sowe will continue to go. If I received that notice I would cancel the rest of my plans and stay until I was the last one there.

  54. Self absorbed Dallas says:

    Gastronome @ November 7th, 2008 at 10:08 am

    The thread here is so self absorbed and negative — the thread on the story at NBC5i.com sees things from the point of view of a waiter making $2.13 per hour plus tips, with only a few hours per shift where people are actually eating that waiters make their money (from which they are often required to tip out their bussers and hostesses). They then have to declare 18% of total sales to the IRS (with computers and credit cards there is little room to fudge). With what they are left with they pay their own rent, clothing, food, and in a lot of cases the college loan (no bailout for waiters). Tables that don’t move during rush hour is an issue for all waiters and waitresses, who are in essence entrepreneurs renting a limited number of tables for the night to make a living. By the way, the affronted customer was not asked to leave, but merely to open the table by moving to another part of the restaurant (such as the bar) — the card reads “As we are in the restaurant business, if you are sitting at this table without eating or drinking — during peak hours — we may ask you to sit at another table”. There’s no good way to ask a camper to vacate a table, but from the waiter’s perspective — kudos to Mi Cocina for addressing the issue.

    You could not have said this better. I am amazed also at the self absorbtion attitude on this thread. I have not dined at the WV Mi Cocina, but I am a regular at the HP, Preston/Forrest, and Skillman. I have never experienced this “so called” bad experience. The food and service has always been exceptional for me. The menatality of this thread is very typical of a certain clientele. This clientele usually has new money, thinks the customer is always right, and milks the service for every penny, and completely self absorbed, but tries to hold a certain image.
    Mico…you’re awesome!

  55. MARIA VILLA says:


  56. We got there at 8 p.m. on the dot last night, West Village for a table for seven. We were told “25 minutes.” We kept asking and asking, and really got no response or clear time, “25 minutes,” over and over. They were MORE than happy to serve us margaritas all of that time until at 9:THIRTY FIVE, we were told “another 25 minutes.” You really don’t want to piss off a group of gay guys. SO, we left and went to Uncle Julio’s. Great food, service, atmosphere and somewhat less expensive. I’ve noticed quite the pushiness at the Taco Diner and MiCo at West Village. Gone are the days of just hanging out. I am willing to tip WELL over 20% and have given an extra $25.00 when I get an amazing experience. I really like Mico’s food, everywhere. The Preston Forest Bar is heaven without kids. There’s a fine line between giving great service and rushing me. We all have boundaries. There’s a great article in the NYTimes about the co-dependent relationship we have with waiters.

  57. Dooner says:

    Wake up and smell the profit line. Restaurants make their true profit via alcohol sales. Duh! The longer they make you wait and drink, the higher their profits.

    Mr. Good, you may be literally a “good guy,” but you’ve got your work cut out for you. You’re starting to look like the EMS of Mexican restaurants.

  58. Clearing things up says:

    “the diner has received an apology and an invitation to dine on the house.”

    As the informant, I have heard from the couple that submitted the email quoted at the top. They have not had a response from Mi Cocina nor have they received an invitation to dine on the house… Just thought I’d clarify that.

  59. Maria V. says:

    Mi Cocina is great, what Mr Good need to do is to make sure he has the right people working there. Racism against black people, rushing the tables, drug dealing, sexual harassment, etc, etc.

  60. kenny says:

    I have found that the people who complain about service at MiCo, without fail, are unattractive.
    I have never had a problem there, with service, food orders, early check placement, etc.
    You just need to be better looking.

  61. RT says:

    MARIA VILLA, please remove caps lock. After that please take a stab at decent grammar and spelling. Thx, bye!

  62. Kym says:

    A couple of years ago at Taco Diner in West Village, my girlfriends and I were served Mambo Taxi’s in short highball glasses. Up until that point $8 would buy you a tall highball glass of Mambo Taxi…to add insult to the injury, the short glass was barely 3/4 full. We called the waiter over and complained about it and asked for all of our MT’s to be filled to the top. He REFUSED! Just flat out refused and gave us incredible attitude about it…we eventually caused a small scene – mainly because of his rudeness. When the manager FINALLY came over, he very snottily and reluctantly agreed to repour the drinks. To be honest, we weren’t sure how much a victory it was, as our food had yet to be ordered and none of us certain we wanted to eat anything coming out of the kitchen after all that (i.e. spit, anything else you can think of, tossed into our meals)…just sayin’….

  63. Craig says:

    The three times I have been to MiCo at West Village, the service has been horrible and the food marginally good. There are SO MANY other great tex-mex places to dine. Don’t waste your time and money at MiCo…

  64. Danno says:

    Took my mom there for her BD.
    The service and food were very poor.
    I have tried the other mico chains and had better service but the food was still poor. We love Blue Mesa.

  65. PR says:

    Obama will fix this bad service.

  66. chris says:

    MiCo, Taco Diner and the rest of the uppity uptown texmex establishments have always been a pathetic joke. I prefer a real mexican place, such as Cuquitas on Henderson or El Ranchito off of Jefferson. At least there I know the mexican food is authentic and the drinks are strong 😉

  67. Dan M says:

    I think it always smells like b.o. on your clothes when you leave Mi Cocina…bad smell..bad service.

  68. momr says:

    My family has patronized the Mi Cocina Preston Forest since the week it opened. While nowadays we do take out more than eat in, we have always found the food good if not a bit pricey. My 2 oldest children have moved away and Mi Cocina is the first meal they want to eat when they return to Dallas to visit.
    I agree that the framed “policy” was uncalled for. However we usually go to Mi Cocina when we are in somewhat of a hurry–we know we’ll get in and out quickly (except on Friday nights–too many little kids).
    Isn’t Mi Cocina listed as one of the best restaurants in the current issue of D???

  69. Derek says:

    MiCocina (Me Dirty) is lousy. They have really declined since a few years ago. The food is “so so”, and the service staff seems more and more rude any time I have gone in.

    For good mexican food and service, all Uncle Julios.

  70. Randy says:

    This is easy to resolve. With this type of established business behavior I’ll never set foot in this restaurant chain again. If they think they can thrive with this model, more power to them. Idiocy, but that is their privilege, as it is mine to react. Leaves more market share for the better restaurants who deserve to thrive. Bye, Bye, MiCo.

  71. I have to say, enjoyed the read, thanks.

  72. markez linda says:

    Very nice information. Thanks for this.