Negatively Fourth Street



Photo source.

I really, really, wanted to think of something redeeming about tonight’s restaurant experience to close this post with because it’s really my goal to share C’Ville’s best rather than moan and groan. Unfortunately, all I came up with was that Grady was oh so well-behaved even though he had to sit, tied to a chair, for what felt like forever. What started out as a craving for a quick, light dinner turned into an over two-hour debacle on the Downtown Mall at Positively Fourth Street.

Positively Fourth opened last spring in the space formerly occupied by Enoteca. They’re known for their burgers, their ancho chile ketchup, and their shrimp and grits. Shaun and I had dined here once before when he was struck by one of his debilitating burger cravings. I remembered their menu boasted a smoky hummus, a decent entree salad list, and the oh-so-elusive veggie burger, so we thought we’d return. Little did we know it would slowly devolve into date night disaster.

We waited over a half hour for an outdoor table – no big deal. You assume that risk on a beautiful Sunday night when you’re packing a puppy. But when a big chunk of that wait is spent staring at a patio full of empty, dirty tables, watching staff member after staff member pass by the mess without batting an eye, you start to get antsy. And then, when a hostess with an attitude that puts her on par with Rachel McAdams’ character in Mean Girls tells you you aren’t allowed to sit because the “kitchen is on hold” [which for some reason means you can’t even sit and order a drink?], you start to get antsy and angry. Here’s the thing: the place wasn’t full. Not even close.

In retrospect, we should have run right then while we still had the chance. Alas, hunger got the best of us and so we stuck it out until we were given a table. Getting a server, drinks, the right order, or any order at all for that matter, was another story. My restaurant mayhem radar was going off, so I knew we’d have to order a snack as soon as someone came over or run the risk of waiting forever. So we ordered hummus, but did not receive hummus. What we did receive was some other random appetizer and a visibly pissed off server when Shaun said, “sorry, that’s not what we ordered.” Obviously, that was our fault. This was followed by wrong drinks, a 45-minute wait for sandwiches, shared eye rolls with other frustrated customers, an oblivious server, and a check that was oh so incorrect but we had been sitting there for so long that we just wanted to leave so we paid it.

I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that every link in this restaurant’s chain was so off that not even my perfectly roasted, cinnamon spiced vegetables were capable of redeeming the experience. Remember yesterday when I said I was a chronic over-tipper? Not so tonight. We left less than 5%, because it wasn’t as if the server was even remotely apologetic or responsive, or in any way attempted to pick up the slack.

Want hummus? Try Tea Bazaar, Fry’s Spring Station, or Mas. Craving a burger? The Local or Boylan will more than do. A veggie burger? Beer Run serves the “No-Bull” without the bull we got at Positively Fourth. There’s really nothing about this place that sets it apart from C’Ville’s standards, and nothing that pushes it into the pool with the best of the best. Don’t waste your time – even Five Guys is right across the block.


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Categories: C-Ville


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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