The Fork

The Fork: To Complain or Not to Complain

That is the question

Roughly one billion years ago, before the Earth cooled and before the advent of sites like Yelp-dot-com had convinced people they’re in any way qualified to write about food and such, your old pal The Fork worked in foodservice. We were pretty bad at it for the most part, but we made decent tips because of our ability to talk to people like they’re humans—which is to say that we didn’t speak in that, “GOOD EVENING FRIENDS, MY NAME IS CHAD AND IF YOU’D LIKE TO QUAFF SOME BEVVIES IT WOULD BE MY ULTIMATE FUCKING PLEASURE TO GET YOU THOSE SHITS!” way—but that’s not actually our point.

Our point is that we’re more than familiar with how people going out to eat are monsters (and we mean every last one of them, buds). This one time, a woman in our section at a popular local New Mexican joint had cleared her plate of every last bite only to start crying when the check came. “It was too spicy and it’s making me cry,” she said. “I’m not from here! I’m not used to food like this! I’m not paying for it!”


“We could’ve helped you at literally any other point before you ate everything on the plate,” we told her. “At this point, there has been a provision of goods and services, and you have made use of those goods and services—you must pay.”

Long story short, she made a huge stink, the owners (who are still awesome to this day) backed us up, and despite her threats that we’d lost a customer forever, that restaurant is still open as we speak. Which is our roundabout way of saying that people who go out to eat need to get the eff real, and we mean this from multiple viewpoints.

For example: Our boss recently showed us a thread on the Santa Fe Foodies Facebook group wherein a local woman bemoaned a local pizza joint not picking up their local phone. Her local husband had to travel locally to place their order, and the food was reportedly loco good. And so came the detractors; the “you should have said” people and the “you could have written that this way” people and the “I work in food, and lemme tell you something, lady,” people. It was enjoyable in a schadenfreude way, but also really silly on all counts. Allow us, as a gaseous being that now works with words but has forgotten more about working in restaurants than you’ll ever know, to respond in a couple ways:

1. Yo, that lady has EVERY RIGHT to trash any restaurant she wants online, and it seems to us the post-pandemic (not that’s it’s over, just that we’re all acting like it is) idea that all businesses deserve our unwavering support is silly. Since the dawn of people making things for other people, those other people could evaluate and speak of those things in any way they wished. Does that make them great people? Naw. Does it make them Super-Hitler? Also naw.

2. It’s true you should at least try to reach out to a restaurant about your issues before you take it online and sully their good name and all, but this is easier said than done. Foodservice people do not take criticism well. Why, we recall what it was like to have someone say their food was cold/wrong/weird/not what they thought, only for us to go into the back and commiserate with our fellow employees about what an idiot that person was being. Yelp is also littered with immediately aggressive responses to complaints from owners and managers. Still, most restaurants and restaurant people want you to enjoy your experience. Oh, it’s not about how it’s a noble profession and they sincerely care how you feel about anything or whether you truly had fun—they want you to enjoy yourself so you’ll tip more. And that’s OK! Like, when people say, “Oh, they were only nice for a tip?” OF COURSE THEY WERE! GOD! These are the same people who say things like, “I think that stripper really liked me!” We could get into a whole other thing about how the history of tipping is racist, how workers in almost all fields should make more, etc., but we kind of lost our original point, which is that yes, this woman has every right to complain online. Yet, if someone doesn’t speak to the business about it, we’re not sure what they think is gonna get better.

3. The defenders of the profession need to chill out. Not everybody is going to like everything, nor should they, and if you think Facebook is not just a complaint repository, you’re using it weird. Someone could always be nicer, probably, but “let people like things” rhetoric is dangerous. There was a brief discussion in regards to the particular Facebook thread we’re whining about that got into the concept of free speech. On the one hand, people seem to forget that free speech doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences/responses to that speech; on the other, living in a world where we all just agreed to shut up when we didn’t like something would be the death of conversation and pretty boring to boot. Weaponizing the word “negativity” anytime someone expresses displeasure kind of implies that we’re all to accept everything as-is. No thanks.

4. Businesses are not obligated to pick up their phones. They’re just not. That’s up to them.

5. Criticism can lead to better things. It’s true! We know the knee-jerk reaction to hearing you suck is to turtle up and lob epithets at whomsoever dared to lodge said criticism, but we’ve also seen it change things for the better. If a restaurant operates under the assumption that everyone loves them because they’ve never heard anything to the contrary, they’re likely going to keep doing what they’re doing and nothing will change.

6. In summation, be nice to the floor workers at restaurants and tip huge. The owners, though, and the managers? Let them know what’s up. As always, if a business can’t hack the idea of people not liking its food, it probably has no business making food for public consumption. We look forward to any “you’re wrong!” emails you jamokes are already composing in your sick little heads.

A good review of literally everything.


-You’ve likely already heard that Jambo Café owner Ahmed Obo plans to take over the old Bobcat Bite location just outside of town, but here’s a link to a story from the Santa Fe New Mexican’s Teya Vitu (the Reggie to our Archie) about that. For those who somehow don’t know, the location was once home to the finest burgers in all the land thanks to owners John and Bonnie Eckre. At some point, though, they were forced out of the building, opened up a new joint downtown (dubbed Santa Fe Bite), and all was well. Eventually, though, they were forced out of there, too, but they reopened in the old Tecolote spot in Midtown. Here’s another link, this one for the Santa Fe Bite site.

-Souper Bowl XXVII is coming up this Saturday, Jan. 28, and we understand that it has completely sold out. But don’t flip out yet. First off, in short, it’s a soup-filled benefit for The Food Depot (which is a food bank, duh), and it features something like 19 chefs making killer soups. The event was on hiatus in 2021 and 2022, so this one’s kind of a big deal. And though it has sold out, as a bonus for actually reading this (and/or for being a loyal Fork Frend), we’re gonna give away a pair. We want said pair going to someone pure of heart, though, so email us at to tell us why that’s you. We’ll pick a winner Friday. And remember—there’s no “i” in Fork Frend.

-Word on the street is that Eldorado eatery Arable is temporarily closed. This news comes from Eldorado Living, which reports via Facebook that the closure should only last a couple weeks.

-Speaking of weird things going on in kitchens, we attempted to eat at both Second Street Brewery locations last Sunday evening, only to find signs on each door apologizing for the kitchens being closed. (We started at one, found it closed then went to another—in the interest of being specific.) The following day, the company announced on Instagram that its kitchens were still closed. Quelle surprise! According to our sources, staff at both the Rufina Street and Railyard locations walked out mid-shift over a disagreement with management over hours. As we write this on Tuesday, we’re told by a very nice person on the phone that the kitchens are back up and running and that staff had gotten their hours back. Let’s all hope it’s because they’ve been taken care of.

-ICYMI: Santa Fe Restaurant Week is totally back this year following a pandemic hiatus. Get all the details right here.

-We just learned about the Santa Fe Vegan Chef Challenge from reader Melissa H. The idea is that local restaurants commit to putting together vegan menu items and vegan diners can go eat those things and do social media about them and stuff. We think this is great! More here.

-1/2 Price Wine Wednesdays are back at Arroyo Vino. If you pop in for dinner on a Wednesday, you can get a bottle from the list half-off. Score one for you, oenophiles! You might wanna stop by their wine shop while you’re at it.

-Coming up on Thursday, Feb. 7, Slow Food Santa Fe joins forces with New Mexico Healthy Soil for a virtual screening of the documentary, Follow the Drinking Gourd. The film’s about Black food justice, and we bet you learn a thing or two. Get the details by clicking this little clicky.

-Reminder that Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it, and that many local restaurants will do special prix fixe’ll just wanna make sure to get your rezzies in ASAP. We’ll remind you again, but you can probably get on that now. Also, you can see Clueless at the Lensic for free that night (but you have to visit to reserve a spot).

-Lastly, let us say a resounding, “Oh, dip!” for El Chile Toreado and Horno, two Santa Fe restaurants now on the semi-finalist list for the 2023 James Beard Awards. As anyone who has been to either place will tell you, this is well-deserved. SFR even spoke to people from both restaurants, which you can read about if you click right here. Fave quote, though, comes from David Sellers at Horno, who says, “It’s super-validating and nice to be appreciated on a high level; and I think it’s cool that there’s the past, [the awards] were more geared toward ultra-fine dining, and you can see clearly in the stuff that’s nominated in New Mexico that there’s a shift away from that.”

We need some’s Pizza...


We asked if we should add a reader shout-out section, and y’all said yes, so here’s one now from reader Robert W:

I loved your shout-outs section. Kudos to some of the lesser known restaurants in Santa Fe. Meanwhile, I’m having a Reuben in Mucho Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe. Best sandwiches in Santa Fe and just about the best staff, too.

Nice, Robert—nice! We also love those sandos.

More Tidbits

-We don’t know how we missed this last month, but Consumer Reports says there could be lead and cadmium in dark chocolate. According to the report from December, CR found heavy metals in popular dark choco bars from Hershey’s, Theo and Trader Joe’s, among others. God, no!

-Oreo (being that cookie that came AFTER Hydrox, thank you very much) is set to release a new version of its sandwich cookie stuffed with other Oreos. Like, they mushed up a bunch of Oreos and made the cream filler with them and then put them inside an Oreo. That’s a lot of Oreo action and is thus called The Most Oreo Oreo. Yikes.

-This is just a link to a recipe from Tablespoon-dot-com wherein you’ll find chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Oreos. It seemed pertinent, we dunno.

-Trader Joe’s announced the winners of its Customer Choice Awards this week, and every person you know who acts like buying things from there means anything more than they went to the store is likely chuffed. CHUFFED! Items like the Chili & Lime Flavor Tortilla Chips and Sparkling Honeycrisp Apple Juice are just some of the winners. Now, as for those who’d vote in such a contest? Well, we don’t want to call them losers, but...

-Kentucky-dot-com (which one of our editors probably has bookmarked to read when he’s just not feeling Southern enough) reports that Sazerac, the makers of Fireball (being a disgusting cinnamon booze) are facing a lawsuit over the products they sell in gas stations. See, that Fireball mini you’re picking up at Allsup’s or wherever isn’t really whiskey, strictly speaking. It is, in fact, a malt beverage with trace amounts of whatever the fuck in it. According to the suit, the label, which looks virtually identical to the big bottle, describes its contents as “whisky,” with no “e.” So, y’know, someone is gonna sue about it.

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence

In the print edition of SFR this week, head to the Southside for stellar seafood courtesy of Puerto Peñasco.

Number of Letters Received


*Same as last week!

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)

“Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe.”

*We don’t really handle those, so...sorry?

Actually Helpful Tip(s)

“You ever added a dash of table salt to a PBR or Hamm’s?”

*Weirdly, our dad did that a lot, so we know about it, but we think everyone else should, too, and we salute you for spreading the ancient knowledge.

Regularly complained about,

The Fork

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.