A few days ago, I had the pleasure of dinner at Freda’s. I am a lover of seafood, so when I saw the billboard on 183, I knew it was a place I had to try. The opportunity came up when the Project Director of Parking Mobility treated me to dinner as a thank you for working on a project as a volunteer.
I myself, found this to be a nice place. Unfortunately, we were seated in an empty dining room because the host/manager thought we would be ‘more comfortable’ (we’re both wheelchair users). I didn’t mind, and actually preferred it, because at least we didn’t have to be part of a crowded, loud dining area and in this room, we could actually hear ourselves talk. Mack, however, had a different impression as you will read below. He makes a good point, many of whom may share with him, but I didn’t see the point of making it a big deal. I think that after 50 years of experiencing public discrimination, I’ve learned to pick and choose what to find offense. But I am glad Mack did and his review is below. Please read and let us know your thoughts and opinions.
As for the food, I thought it was damn good. We started off with fresh oysters. They were good but I’ve had better. I got the catfish and shrimp and both were excellent. I think Mack got the Stuffed Red Snapper which I think he enjoyed. We got the bread pudding as dessert and ohhhh my, it was divine.
I definitely plan to go back. – Renee
Review from Mack Marsh on Yelp.
Austin, TX 78750
I recently moved to the area and had the opportunity to take a volunteer and friend to dinner to thank her for going above and beyond on a recent project. I’ve been craving good seafood and read positive reviews about Freda’s. Since its not far from my house, I thought maybe I had found a gem so I made reservations. We arrived on time and checked in. Now, I happen to use a wheelchair and so does my friend. We were led through the bar area and up a ramp and into what appeared to be one of the private banquet rooms. The gentleman that sat us was polite but I asked, “Is it standard that you don’t seat people with disabilities in your dining room?” He stammered a bit and said, “No, not at all, I just thought you’d be more comfortable in here because its a little cramped in there.”
Now, a part of dining out is being a part of the energy and atmosphere of the restaurant…to be a part of the experience others are having. If your dining room is ‘cramped’, maybe you should rethink the layout of your tables. Not to mention the standards set by both the ADA and the Texas Accessibility Standards, it seems that its just good policy to ensure your patrons have room to maneuver and get around in your dining room comfortably. It was also pretty apparent to both my dinner companion and myself that our server was a bit perturbed at having to serve a table that was removed from his section and, at first seemed a bit short and impatient with us. After we ordered and received our apps the staff did seat a couple of other tables in the room but it was apparent when we arrived that the plan wasn’t to seat in that section. I will also note that when I made the reservation, I was very specific that we would need a table setup for two wheelchairs and the greeting staff seemed a bit confused when we arrived.
This type of ‘innocent’ bigotry is unacceptable. I have no doubt the gentleman seating us had no ill intent but to assume that we would be ‘more comfortable’ being segregated from the dining room is just that…a form of bigotry. It wasn’t too many years ago that an African American or anyone that didn’t appear to be of Anglo decent would have been seated away from the main dining room so ‘they would feel more comfortable’. By saying this, what you are saying is that the rest of your patrons would be more comfortable not seeing someone who doesn’t look like them. People with disabilities account for 20% of the population. They contribute $300 billion to the economy. 9 out of 10 Americans have a direct relationship to a person with a disability. Personally, I am a small business owner who happens to enjoy a meal in a nice restaurant several times per month and prefer to patron locally owned restaurants to the ‘cattle call’ of major chains. I also have a son who works in the restaurant industry and is a top server and bartender at another locally owned, upscale restaurant.
Now we enjoyed our meal. The servers seemed to be well trained, the food was good and came out at appropriate speed. I was a little disappointed by the expediter who seemed to be hurried and didn’t present well but I can attribute that to a busy Friday night. By all accounts, I would say that Freda’s would make my list to visit again…except that I just left with the feeling that we were not welcome and I refuse to patronize establishments that don’t seem to want my business. Its a shame, really.