Minnesota nice: "I’ll have the fish, but can I get chicken instead, no garnishes, and a bun with cheese?"
Translation: I don’t like this menu at all.
A minor substitution here or there, or asking the kitchen to leave off an ingredient, isn't a big deal... sometimes. Believe it or not, restaurants go through a lot of work preparing the menus. If you’re going to ask for substitutions, omissions, or additions, at least try to be respectful about it. Don’t order something and then request enough changes to completely transform the dish into something else.
If, for some reason, you find yourself at a restaurant against your will, and there’s nothing on the menu you think you can reasonably choke down, ask the server if the kitchen can accommodate a special request. Don’t try to magically craft an entirely new dish through word wizardry.
Minnesota nice: "I’ll be sure to leave you a huge tip..."
Translation: I didn’t like the service.
Ditch the passive-aggressive BS and ask to speak to a manager. Don’t be petty by threatening your server with a small tip. In all honesty, if they're that bad, they probably aren’t expecting anything from you at that point.
Minnesota nice: "One word: Yelp."
Translation: I'm pissed.
Threatening to take your restaurant rage to the social arena is weak sauce at best. And if you’re actually going to do it, warning the wait staff ahead of time doesn’t do a damn thing to change the overall situation. Again, this is a job for the manager. Restaurants want you to come back (unless you’re an absolute jerk), and the manager will almost always do his or her best to take care of whatever issue you’re having. Restaurants are a part of the hospitality industry, after all. Hopping onto Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ (HA!) isn’t going to do you any favors. It might actually make your friends and family think you’re some kind of rampaging asshole -- especially if this kind of behavior is a habit of yours.
Sign up here for our daily MSP email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Twin Cities have to offer.
Keane Amdahl is a veteran Twin Cities food writer who just wants everybody to be happy. Follow his gleeful antics on Twitter @FoodStoned.