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“Better than we thought.”
Review of Gugliani's Italian Grill - CLOSED

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Gugliani's Italian Grill
Cuisines: Italian
Restaurant details
Reviewed 14 August 2011

We arrived in Houston yesterday to drop off daughter at college. After a tussle at the Hobby Airport Avis desk with a non-functional GPS and a non-functional back seat, we arrived at the Marriott Medical Center (see separate review) brain dead and hot, hot,hot. By the time we walked the mile to Rice Village, a little enclave of shops that seem to inhabit every town with teenagers and income to spare, we were ready to implode. We settled on Gugliani's mostly to make sure our flip flops didn't melt into the sidewalk and to avoid a family feud 48 before saying goodbyes to daughter. We almost turned around and left: when we entered half a dozen large tables full of six year old kids were inhaling pizza. But as soon as we sat down, things looked up. The waiter was attentive and helpful; the a/c worked great; and they know how to pour a glass of wine at Gugliani's, which made me very happy indeed. The noise level, even with all the munchkins, was more than fine. We had veal, pasta, fried calamari, and a tomato-mozzarella salad, all of which were prepared well and quickly. This is not haute cuisine, it's just a good Italian family restaurant. But any place that serves efficiently, lets you try the wine before you order, and serves crisp not soggy calamari gets my five stars in this category. Total bill was $62 for glass wine, two non-alcoholic drinks, two appetizers and three entrees. This place is also conveniently located smack in the middle of Rice Village, but away from the Ann Taylor-Gap-Bed Bath b.s.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Jean-Marie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (11)
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4 - 8 of 11 reviews

Reviewed 2 July 2011

The Rice Village location used to be Collinas. Same good food, but now they charge $2.50 extra for a house or ceasar salad. Gets crowded and loud on weekends. Covered patio is best when crowded. Very good pizza and lasagna. I also enjoyed a $15.99 day's special of salmon with a white wine sauce over pasta. They let you bring in your own wine for just $5 corkage fee. Most entrees run $11-15 and are pretty delicious!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank WorldTripperTexan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2011

Dear Mr. Gugenheim,

I am writing with regard to my dinner at your 2400 Times Boulevard location of Gugliani’s this evening (February 26). I’d like to preface this message by saying that I have lived in West University since 2000 and frequently dined at Colina’s/Gugliani’s and ordered their delivery. On all of these occasions, I have enjoyed the food very much and had pleasant service experiences. In fact, I have hosted two professional events at this very location, confident that they would go off without a hitch. My intention, by recounting my history with your restaurant, is to assure you that my extremely negative experience this evening is neither exaggerated nor reactive; I was prepared for a great dinner and had several disturbing interactions with your manager, Mr. Ramon Nieves, instead.

I arrived at Gugliani’s around 8:20PM this evening with my husband and another couple. We sat outside and received prompt service of bread, water, and glasses to supplement the two bottles of wine that we had brought. As a group, we ordered an appetizer, a salad, and four specialty pizzas. Three of these pizzas arrived, as ordered, but one that was requested without onions came with onions but lacking olives instead. The waiter apologized for the mistake (which is no doubt accounted for by the similarity in those two words) and offered to have the pizza re-made the correct way. He explained that it would take 10 minutes to make the new pizza. Since I had ordered that particular pizza, I felt that the choice was mine, and declined the waiter’s offer. I did not want the others to wait 10 minutes to begin eating their dinner and knew that I would be able to sneak a few pieces from their pizzas. The waiter apologized again, asked me if I was sure, and upon receiving my confirmation, went back into the restaurant.

We enjoyed the three pizzas that had arrived and were not disturbed, in the least, by the simple misunderstanding that had taken place. The difficulty arose about 15 minutes later when the waiter returned outside and informed me that since we had ordered four pizzas, he would need to charge us for four pizzas, and, this time, offered to bring out the correct pizza that they had just made. Needless to say, I was surprised that a pizza had been made for me against my wishes and even more surprised that I was being asked to pay for the restaurant’s mistake. I explained to the waiter (not yet agitated) that he would need to take the fourth pizza off the check. He explained that he couldn’t do so and that he had already spoken with the manager. I requested to speak to a manager as well.

During the next 20 minutes, I watched the man I would later identify as Mr. Nieves speaking with our waiter, making large hand gestures, and holding his head in his hands. Our waiter returned to our table after this long exchange and explained that the manager was occupied with something in the back and would be out shortly. I’m sure I do not need to explain my surprise when Mr. Nieves finally emerged, 10 minutes later. Apparently Mr. Nieves was not aware that he was perfectly visible sitting at restaurant table while we waited for him to “handle something in the back.” I am also certain that waiting a total of 30 minutes to speak with a manager is not part of your service strategy.

When I was finally able to speak with Mr. Nieves, I began by (calmly still at this point) telling him that I did not understand the issue. He explained that we had to pay for four pizzas because we ordered four pizzas. When I explained that we were only eating three due to a mistake on the restaurant’s part, he insisted that we must pay for all four and offered to bring out the extra pizza. Perhaps it is useful to remind you that I asked the waiter not to order a corrected pizza and note that we had finished our dinner at this point. I went back and forth with Mr. Nieves multiple times and, though I cannot remember every word that was spoken, I can assure you that the only ones I was listening for were notably absent. Mr. Nieves did not apologize a single time and would not budge on insisting that we pay for the pizza which, for all I know, was never even made. I have no shame whatsoever in saying that I became very angry during this exchange and stated, bluntly, that there was no way I was paying for the absent pizza. When Mr. Nieves again refused to compromise, I explained that there were only two possible outcomes to this situation- either we would pay for what we had consumed, or we would pay for nothing. He, obviously bluffing, responded that he “would not like to involve the police.” Unfortunately for him, I was not deterred in any way by this threat and, in fact, would have gladly witnessed Mr. Nieves receiving a ticket from the West University Police Department for calling in such a ridiculous situation and, in turn, diminishing the resources available for real emergencies. The police did not show up, leading me to believe that they were not called and, eventually, our waiter returned to clear our plates and ask if we were ready for the check.

When the itemized bill arrived, we realized that all four pizzas were included on the bill. I have attached here an image of this receipt in order to illustrate my complaint, and ensuing confusion. My husband and I walked inside and I asked Mr. Nieves to please explain why we were being charged for all four pizzas. He told me that we were only being charged for three pizzas because the waiter had already paid cash ($17.31) for his mistake. I was horrified. I have never before seen a restaurant run like this and cannot even imagine a general manager purposely humiliating an employee in order to make customers feel guilty. He was also unable to explain why our check still contained four pizzas and insisted that the circled total did not include the fourth pizza. For reasons I still do not understand, it seems that appetizers and pizzas are tabulated separately and that complementary items cannot be removed formally from the receipt. Suspicious, I asked for a clean itemized receipt enumerating the items for which we are being charged. Mr. Nieves explained that in order to do that he would have to void this one and then print a new receipt. When we asked him to please do so, he refused. I never received a corrected receipt and was forced to trust that the total reflected only what we had eaten. In the end, we paid $83.05. I’d like to emphasize that, by this point, I was very unhappy with Mr. Nieves and shared with him my feeling that he was, without question, the worst manager I had even encountered. I also pointed out that the windows from the patio put him in clear view of customers awaiting his attention and highlighted how outraged I was at his ploy to make us feel guilty for the waiter’s sacrifice. Once again, Mr. Nieves failed to apologize or offer any solutions for our dissatisfaction. Instead he offered me a small comment card.

I would like to emphasize that I am not unhappy with the food or table service at Gugliani’s, as evidenced by tips in excess of 20%. In fact, the waiter apologized profusely for his mistake and refused to accept our insistence that the person responsible for our unhappiness was Mr. Nieves alone. I have never before interacted with such an uncooperative and incompetent manager. Even more appallingly, though, I have never witnessed a manager purposely humiliate an employee in front of customers with the intention of making the customers feel guilty for refusing to pay for food they did not eat.

I would like several things done to correct my experience tonight. First, I would like our waiter, XXXXX, refunded the $17.31 he paid for the absent pizza and I’d like him to receive an apology from both Mr. Nieves and yourself for the way that he was treated. Though XXXXX made every attempt to smooth over the situation and take responsibility for the mistake, I cannot in good conscience, allow him to take responsibility for the horrendous management that surrounds him. Second, I would like Mr. Nieves fired from Gugliani’s. It is unacceptable to run a restaurant, particularly a neighborhood place like yours, with managers that humiliate employees and badger customers over the price of a 16” pizza. Mr. Nieves’ behavior, in addition to running off customers, warrants legal action from employees related to a hostile workplace. He is a liability to the profitability of your restaurant and the well-being of your employees. Finally, I would like to receive further correspondence from you including a personal apology, in writing and signed, from Mr. Nieves. While I will not know whether you meet the first request, I will certainly know if the second and third are met. In the interest of transparency, I’d also like to share that I have posted this message online at restaurant review websites in order to provide some accountability for these requests. Should this dispute be resolved through your response, I am happy to revise those posts with an explanation that the problem has been handled.

I appreciate your time and consideration in this matter and sincerely hope that you take immediate and sufficient action. I like Gugliani’s very much and would like to return.

1  Thank 02272011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2010

This is my second visit to Gugiliani's in Meyerland and I will not be returning. The service in this restuarant is slow. Additionally, when an issue arose, the manager chose to rely messages via our server as oppossed to coming to speak with us personally. The pizza is average and provide no unique flavor. Ultimately, the food at this restuarant is not worth the the price or the poor service.

2  Thank saintsfan25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
Houston, TX
Reviewed 16 March 2010

Lame bland pasta, chicken portions too small, very little flavor, not italian place

Thank A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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