Bartaco opened nearly 2 years ago. Almost immediately, Linda Gramatky Smith’s fax line rang.
Someone wanted to know something about the menu. That’s odd, Linda thought.
Then the fax rang again. There was a call about reservations. Then another, wanting to know if the restaurant offered takeout.
Linda and her husband Ken have had their fax number for 22 years. (She’s a 1960 Staples grad; together they run Gramatky Galleries, handling the works of her late father, “Little Toot” illustrator Hardie Gramatky.)
The Smiths’ fax number is 203-222-8220. Bartaco‘s number is 203-222-8226. There would not seem to be much confusion — except “8226” is actually the same as “TACO,” on your phone’s keypad. The Wilton Road restaurant paid some pretty pesos for that easy-to-remember number.
Unfortunately — even before a tequila or two — plenty of people read the letter “O” as the number “0.”
You or I would get pretty angry after the first couple of calls.
Fortunately, Linda and Ken are not you or I.
For 2 years, every time the fax line rings, they’ve answered it. Patiently, they explain the situation. Always, the callers are grateful. Nearly always, they compliment the Smiths on their patience and pleasantness.
In fact, the Smiths do more than just answer the fax. If they’re not quick enough to pick up — and the caller hears the fax “beep,” and hangs up — the couple calls back and gives the correct phone number. That kindness is always met with awe.
“We like Westport’s restaurants. We want them to succeed,” Linda explains, as if every Westporter who received at least 300 calls in 2 years — her estimate — would be so sanguine.
Bartaco has been responsive. They’ve added the numerals “8226” to their website, which has helped considerably. But the calls still keep coming — a few last week, Linda says. She thinks there are still some places (“maybe Yelp?”) that say only “203-222-TACO.”
Actually, Bartaco has done even more for Linda and Ken. The other day, they invited the couple in for a complimentary meal.
The Smiths had a great time. They loved the lively river scene, and the food was great.
Linda and Ken thanked the staff for an excellent meal.
In person. Not by phone.