This week I ran across an article of particular relevance to this series. Most of the regular readers know that each week I give an award to the restaurant hero of the week named after Chef Jonathan Justus. I guess the bad review he received on yelp did not hurt him too much. His restaurant was recently named the best restaurant in Kansas City by the new Zagat survey. Congratulations to Justus Drugstore. What makes it noteworthy in this series is that the byline on the story is the namesake of the restaurant jerk award, REDACTED . Worlds are colliding. With that lets turn to the real news stories of the week.
Let’s start with the most talked about story of the week. Gus Tinucci was probably pretty stoked to get to cater practice for the Minnesota Vikings. That was until Randy Moss insulted his food and stormed out. Tinucci came up with a brilliant way to raise money for charity, make some kids happy, and show that he does have great food. Randy Moss was dropped by the team a short time later. Score one for the restaurateur. (Minneapolis, MN)
I have always been taught that in case of a robbery to just give the robber whatever they want. You rob a restaurant I work at and I will make you dinner. That being said criminals should be a bit more discerning about what they take. If you take a man’s pants in a robbery, it should be a direct violation of the criminal’s code of conduct. (Ft Myers, FL)
This guy had a better idea. He ordered tacos, but then decided to rob the place before he was served. Patience is a virtue. Once he gets caught he will have many hours to think of how wonderful those tacos would have tasted. There is also a great twist in this one of coworkers looking out for each other that gives me faith. Score one for the back of the house. (Flint, MI)
A Chicago plumbing inspector was taking bribes for letting owners slide on meeting safety codes. He was sentenced to 41 months. Seems like a stiff sentence for only making away with half of a years salary. I know building codes are annoying when opening a restaurant, but it is probably in the owner’s best interest to put the money towards fixing the problem and not a bribe. (Chicago, IL)
Those codes are actually there for a reason. A basic reason is to not have your restaurant burn to the ground on opening night. Someone is going to have some explaining to do on this one. (Gorman, TX)
Follo0wing codes can also prevent a severe carbon monoxide problem. Ruth’s Chris in Baltimore allegedly had one. The employees won the first lawsuit against them for $34,000,000. Now the same lawyer is going back for round two with a fresh set of employees. Another great reminder to follow safety codes and not cause permanent brain damage to your employees. (Baltimore, MD)
This one is just depressing. Two thoughts come to mind. First, parents, be careful with your kids. Second, keep an eye out when leaving the drive thru. Stories like this need to cease immediately. (Rexburg, UT)
I need a lighthearted palette cleanser after that one. We all know that election season became a little obnoxious. The television ads are over, but those yard signs tend to stick around much longer. One restaurant owner decided to take it upon himself to help with that problem. I personally find the idea brilliant. (Loves Park, IL)
If I had two awards for the restaurant hero of the week, California Pizza Kitchen would win one. Not just for providing some of my favorite readers, but also for this story. A 59-year-old widow, who just lost her husband of 40 years, got a surprise on her most recent visit to CPK. A free dessert is always nice, but a check for $100,000 is much nicer. (Houston, TX)
Before I wrap up, I want to return to the great “Show-Me’s” debate from last week. For those of you who missed it, this is a concept similar to Hooters based out of Missouri (“The Show Me State”). I am not a fan of the concept, but ridiculously uptight moral crusaders tend to piss me off. This week there was a meeting to discuss the zoning and liquor license. The excuses they used to fight this thing were unreal. Expect Naperville, IL to become the drunk driving capital of the world and property prices to drop to Bhopal, India levels if this restaurant opens. There may also be a high chance of the sky falling down. (Naperville, IL)
This weeks Chef Justus Award for the restaurant hero goes to Tara Gillio. Ms Gillio is a differently-abled cook who through the help of Hands on Educational Services and the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay has been able to really impress some folks. After having a very difficult job hunt she was hired at the Grand Hyatt. She excelled so much that now she travels the country helping other people in the program. If you have never worked with people who face these challenges, you are really missing out on a truly enriching experience. I have worked with many people over the years, but the pair of challenged dishwasher I worked with over a decade ago still provide me with inspiration to this day. (Tampa Bay, FL)
The REDACTED for restaurant jerk goes to the Charleston Police Department. It turns out that the Charleston Police Department has a reason for not solving “The Great Chinese Restaurant Robbery Spree of 2010”. They are blaming the language barrier and are encouraging restaurant owners to higher translators for cases of emergency. I have a better idea. How about the CPD hire a translator to protect these tax paying citizens before the number of robberies hits two dozen? (Charleston, SC)
Now it is time to visit the scoreboard.
The points were not particularly spread out this week with the South Atlantic and the East North Central both scoring four points. This ties the East North Central with the West South Central for second place. The South Atlantic retains its lead, but now faces a new challenger. With only a few month left in the year, this is heading down to the wire.
The world came up with two very similar challengers this week. Both stories feature politicians up to no good. British Assembly Member Mick Bates pulled out the drunken, “Do you know who I am?” Meanwhile a party including Australian Labor Minister Nick Sherry was kicked out of a restaurant. After serving the celebration party for my Congressman’s well behaved staff this week, I am disappointed in other country’s politicians. Politicians behaving badly does make for a great story though, so I am giving the points to the world. USA: 6 The World: 5. This is turning into a competition.