i’ve been really curious about sitwell’s for months. i first noticed it going to a movie at the esquire, and then again doing some mad-dash holiday shopping on the ludlow drag. recently i had reason to take myself through the doors when three friends decided we should meet there for a sunday afternoon of knitting and girl-talk.
i like sitwell’s for a number of reasons: it’s funky and has that cool bohemian i’m-a-smart-college-student-type feel. the crowd is young-ish, hip-ish, and tends only slightly toward the white-kids-wearing-dreads-and-too-much-patchouli sort. it’s crowded and noisy and generally has a happy but laid-back vibe.
but i might also dislike sitwell’s for that same vibe. it would all depend on why i was there.
if you’re in the mood to sit and gab, sip coffee that you don’t care to have refilled, and people-watch, then you’re in the right place: sitwell’s will likely entertain you for several hours. however, if you’re in the mood to, say, eat and actually get table service, well, you might be in the wrong place. the food is good (well, the cheese quesadilla i had was good) but you have to be willing to yell and scramble to get it. and usually, i’m just not.
our server came to our table, and none of us were ready. she did come back–this time–and two people ordered coffees. i told her i’d need a few minutes, and would order something when the coffees came. but i asked if i could have a glass of water in the meantime. she said yes, but she clearly meant no. when the coffee showed up i asked for the quesadilla. “anything else?” um, well, i’d like some decaf, but not quite yet…right now i’d really just like that glass of water. “oh, sure, yeah, ok.” when my quesadilla showed up 20 minutes later, i asked again if i could please please please quench my parched throat. she was very apologetic and brought my water immediately. maybe 10-15 minutes later i was ready for my decaf. but i never got a chance to ask for it, because the server never came back to our table. oh, she eventually showed up when she needed the table space and so dropped off our check to kick us out, but by that time i’d spent 30 minutes trying to get her attention (no luck) and looking around, wondering if the coffee was perhaps self-serve (nope). since i was too fed up to brave any additional exchanges with her, i gave up, went home, and brewed some damn decaf myself.
now, had i not wanted service, my time at sitwell’s would have been quite lovely. i was especially charmed by the sitwell quote on the front of menu: “i am an electric eel in a pool of catfish.” and it’s hard not to feel, oh, just plain smart, and cool, and interesting, and oh-so-early-twentieth-century bohemian when you’re sitting in a place named after the lovely ms. sitwell. so i’ll go back. but i just may take my own coffee.