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WTF?! Ascension Coffee Should Nix its Valet Parking

Ascension’s valet emptiness (photo by Matthew Shelley)

I spent an early lunch on the lovely patio at Ascension Coffee today. The weather was perfect for a good scooter ride to the Design District, so I partook in Ascension’s deliciously balanced chemex pour-over and caprese style sandwich. Both were fantastic and soothing. I like this place. I wrote some pretty words about it when it first opened. Yet I struggle with the customer service and strict coffee etiquette they follow. (i.e. You can’t get a cortado to go, because it’s not a cortado if it’s not in a glass). Either who, while I enjoyed the breeze and city sounds overlooking Oak Lawn, I noticed a young man bring a valet stand over to the parking lot.

What? Is Ascension getting ready to host some kind of grand opening, jam-packed lunch gala? Even though there are only ~15 spaces in the small lot and not many options beyond that, the coffee-swilling aristocrats and happy hipsters inside Ascension didn’t seem to mind. Why does it need valet?

Over the course of 30 minutes, from about 11:20 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., I watched three cars depart in frustration after they were told to park along Hi Line Dr. if they weren’t going to use valet. Most of the spots were empty in the lot (see photo). To be fair, some folks just handed over their cars and strolled inside without any problems. Even so, I have some issues and questions. Although I didn’t get off my a** to ask the valet why the hell he was claiming domain over the small lot for lunchtime, it seems completely unnecessary to force valet upon patrons at a place that’s supposed to include comfort and convenience.

Ascension, I know you have nice food, but you’re not in an environment like downtown’s Stephen Pyles that truly needs (and makes) the best out of valet, since there isn’t any obvious parking nearby. There the streets are actually troublesome to move around. Has the opportunity to earn another buck for the valet company superseded the convenience and ease of use for Ascension patrons?

I have been a valet driver before, and I always like to tip well. There are times when it works and truly gives something of value to the customer. I just don’t see that need at Ascension. I think it’s just trying to project the image of a high traffic, established lunch spot. Or maybe Ascension is so service oriented and concerned for its customers that it doesn’t even want you to park your own car. In that case, somebody get a red carpet to distract me from the fact that valet is going to park my car 15 yards away from the front steps, and I’m still obligated to give a tip.

SideDishers, what do you think? Is valet too present lately?

 

29 comments on “WTF?! Ascension Coffee Should Nix its Valet Parking

  1. Well we didnt like adding the valet, either. Problem is, Hair by Charlie and Ascension share 14 spots close by and they fill instantly in busy periods, causing cars to back out onto Oak Lawn, a dangerous and frustrating practice. This week, because of the dangerous log jam occuring in the lot and on Oak Lawn, the three tenants, The Moth, Ascension, Hair by Charlie and the landlords decided that a complimentary valet in peak times may be the best method of safely and efficiently handling parking for all our customers. Therefore there are now two valet stands in the lot, one outside the Moth, and one in front of Ascension and Hair by Charlie. The cars are being valet’d in the close in spaces as well as in remote lots.

    For those who prefer to self park, there are 55 retail only car spaces behind the apartment block next door which are available for customer use, and there will be more directional signage coming in the next few days directing customers to those spaces. Also street parking is always available on Hi Line.

    Please feed back any comments and if you have a better solution for our lunch dinner parking crush.

    Russell Hayward

  2. maybe move the valet away from the entrance so it doesn’t perpetuate the log jamming as cars pull up to make use of the valet. A “valet only” sign on the street? build an underground automated parking garage beneath ascension with glass elevators and science facts about dallas wildlife? i don’t know.

  3. I’m wondering when it became custom to use the spaces closest to the restaurant as valet. Isn’t the point that you park my car for me because there isn’t something close? Otherwise what is the benefit aside from tipping someone to drive my car into the spot I’m already next to.

    @Russel Offering valet to park in the remote lots is a good service, but using the close by spaces as valet and telling people they can park a block away instead is not. That’s the very opposite of what valet is supposed to be for.
    Plus, having a few people valet the cars into these spots won’t cause a line and people self parking there will? Usually it’s the opposite.

  4. The log jam was cars pulling into the lot and not finding spaces, the backing out onto Oak Lawn… I love the underground option…

  5. Huh. I went the other day and immediately got a spot on the street about 20 yards from that parking lot. Never even occurred to me it was an issue.

  6. i was going to try this place but after reading this article, I’ll brew my own Douche with an extra shot of vinegar!

  7. You are correct. The valet parking service is supposed to be for the convenience of the customer, not the valet park person. On another note, the best use of valet parking is at the Equinox on Oak Lawn where you can valet park your car so you don’t have to walk far to work out.

  8. Reminds me when La Duni on Preston took over the parking lot on weekends…..Public/anystore parking!
    Thankfully it didn’t last long. I pulled up to JOjo late one Sat and the valet wanted $5 up front, went to Baker Bros across the street. I refuse to be hijacked by valets………

  9. My husband refuses to valet anywhere, any time, unless there absolutely is no on street parking. He’s from
    NYC and they don’t trust anyone with their cars. I have learned to live with it and you don’t have to
    wait for your car when you leave.

  10. What a big steaming pile of PR @#%&***! Accession and every other restaurant that does this are just using peak business times to charge guests even more. If the revenue stream wasn’t the factor then they could hire someone much cheaper to direct traffic in the parking lot without paying a valet company a lot more due to insurance costs. No one is buying it Russell.

  11. I pass by Ascension every day and keep going because the lot is full and you can’t drive through the lot. You have to back out onto Oak Lawn and it difficult. I am happy to hear they are using a valet company. I will gop there now but valets should use the remote parking spaces and let customers park there cars in the spaces closest to the business they are goinhg to. Just saying….

  12. @martingermany is exactly right! I valeted in college and the point of valet was for the convenience of the person shopping at the business or attending the event. The spaces up front were for people to park their own cars. We only came into play when those spaces were full. We would then go and park the cars at the far lot and RUN our asses off to and from to get your car. Somehow over the years things have gotten reversed. When I see all the spaces out front coned off for valet it infuriates me. What is the point? I’d park there myself if they were available. Instead I have to wait for someone to walk over to my car and bring it to me and then tip them for all their hard work. @Russell, do the right thing, open up the spots in front and make the valets park at the far lot. Make them earn their tips. If not, they are basically a parking lot attendent and I’m sure you can get someone cheaper to manage your parking lot.

  13. I never, ever patronize restaurants that offer Valet as the one and only option, without any self parking nearby.
    And, I go out 3-5 times a week. A lot of lost business for many of you. And, you know who you are. To me it is as others have said just a money grab to make more for the restaurant and the valet monopoly.

  14. While I understand your point, I have to say that drivers deal with the street parking along Knox everyday. Although frustrating, I’m far less likely to visit if I have to deal with valet. The amount of valet in a city with plenty of parking, has gotten out of hand (see Oak across the street). Additionally, Martin – below – is correct IMO. Valet should park cars in the furthest spaces: it’s not a profit center, it a convenience provided to entice patrons to visit your establishment.

  15. Steve Fields in Plano is another place that should DITCH the Valet Parking. Every weekend you see TWENTY open spots at the front door & NO ONE is using them. Its a waste of space, an irritation to the customer and offers NO value to anyone but the one little old lady who is dining alone that parks there…she’s the only one it seems I have ever seen use the valet.

  16. Valet parking is nothing more than a license to steal. And yes, you can read between the lines.

  17. I think the owner(s) of a prospective restaurant (or, any business) should consider their parking situation before development. We’re not NYC. Everybody here drives to their destination.

  18. Comment on valet, not Ascension. It infuriates me the most when I go to a restaurant, ususlly a steakhouse, outrageously priced to begin with, and the valet is not complimentary. I’m paying $40 + for a steak, a bottle of wine that is 3-4x markup, being told my reservation isn’t ready so I can get a drink at the bar, then valet isn’t complimentary? I will tip the valet $5 when it is complimentary. When it is $5 to valet, I am not tipping the valet.

  19. Russell, whilst I appreciate the explanation, what is the person (like me) to do when they are trying to pick up a coffee on the go? I love the whole experience of your coffee shop bar the experience of trying to park to get a decent cup of coffee on my way to a business meeting.

  20. I see your point, but another point – a harsh one – must be made. You operate a coffee shop. If customers can’t park for free within a few yards of the door, they will stop coming. We have plenty of choices.

    If you must have valet, take the other commenters’ suggestions to move the valet parking area (if not the valet stand) to a more remote area. And if your landlord allows it, put up signs designating a few spaces in front as “Ascension Coffee Parking Only”.

  21. Thought we’d found a gem when we discovered Ascension. Now the valet thing has completely turned us off. Stopped by Sunday when Hair by Charlie was not open and still had to contend with valet. Cones were in place along parking spots directly in front of the door! Perhaps Ascension owners should have considered parking issues before choosing a location. Yes, the coffee is good, but there are other spots where one can stop in without dealing with the inconvenience and tip expense of a valet. Adding a valet tip to the cost of a cup of Joe isn’t my cup of tea.

  22. OK, i believe the valet company and all involved have now found a solution that will work for those of us that just want to park as close as possible to our destination, and those that prefer to valet when parking is tight. From today the valet will be located at the far end of the lot, ALL the spaces that are unmarked or marked Ascension will be for self parking, ALL DAY. When they are taken, you have three options:

    1. Use the valet service
    2. Park in one of the 55 spots marked “Retail Only” behind our neighboring apartment building (enter off Hiline or next to Roche Bobois)
    3. Street park (lots of parking on Hiline all day)

    The Valet service will only operate from 11-2pm and from 5-9pm, and no spaces will be coned off.

    Thanks for all your input over the last week, i hope this new valet set up works for all. Pls feed back to me @beanchaser or @ascensioncoffee

    Russell

  23. Pingback: Ascension Coffee’s Valet Problem is Fixed, Thanks to Y’all | SideDish

  24. Horay! one sensible restaurant down,99 money grubbing restaurants to go. thank you accession!

  25. Thank you, thank you, Russell!!!! Wanted to bring a friend to Ascension today but told her about the valet, so we nixed the idea and went elsewhere. Now that you have the situation figured out, we’ll be in ASAP.