Locally Grown

Defection, Deflection, Datebook Dissection aka Wini-Gate

Note: This post was originally written on Thursday, but due to time constraints was not finished or posted.  I am including the original post, but more of the story has unfolded…so now this is happening:

Wini-Gate part 1

Being inside the kitchen-sphere gives one a great insider view into the hearts and minds of those who have decided that they have what it takes to please the palates of the eating public.  One of the common complaints from these hard working owners and chefs, after bad customers and slow business, is the dreaded Restaurant Reviewer.  Cries of foul play, unfairness, favorites, and the like can escalate into the more-popular-than-you-would-think “well, if I see that so-and-so come into MY restaurant, I will just tell them to leave.”  This is a comment that is generally prefaced by much drinking or similar shenanigans, and is always a tough talking empty threat…until now.


La Mie Owner Joe Logsdon ended what could be hundreds of years of threats of denial towards Reviewers this week with the shocking treatment of our very own Datebook Diner.  DD and her Husband attempted to enjoy dinner at La Mie (Now that La Mie has purged itself of Le Jardin, which was a restaurant which served dinner in the La Mie spot and was owned by former Grand Piano Bistro chef Tag Grandgeorge), when they were met with the Brick Wall of Denial from Mr. Logsdon.  To get the inside story on what happened you should read DD’s account of the event. My truncated version is this:  Winni and her husband showed up very close to closing time, were met by owner Logsdon, and were turned away.  I, for one, and pretty shocked at this brazen denial of not only someone who would like some food, but someone who’s opinion on food is generally trusted by the general public.

But does the general public (that means you) need to rely on the opinion of a few professional foodies, or are we ready to trust our digital peers?

Added Friday, Dec 3:

There has been much dicussion/argument regarding Wini-Gate as to who was right or wrong in this situation and I firmly stand on the side of Mr. Logsdon.  I know that those of you who follow me on twitter were treated to a “you don’t know the whole story” while trying to argue for the DD’s valor, and I am sticking to my story.  I WILL share the other side of this incident when and if I speak to the guy who reached down, grabbed his stuff, squeezed a little, and felt that pain that lets you know that you have cajones to fly that Mission Accomplished flag, Joe Logsdon.  Joe, who may go down as a hero to anyone out there in the industry who wanted to treat their local food critic to a little bird watching.

Anyhoo, i suppose I should go earn a real living at my actual job.  This will earn you all a special Saturday edition of Locally Grown, as we aim to stir the turd in the punch bowl until it is properly incorporated in the punch party we call the DMZ Dining Scene.

The Cook


17 Comments so far
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La Mie isn’t officially open in the evening yet, is it? I was under the impression that they’re not official, yet.

In other words, Dear Reviewer stated the only way he could guarantee there wouldn’t be a review based on that pre-opening, after-closing visit, was by turning her away, and she was shocked. Drama!

Comment by Mike

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I am more interested in whether he really told her to “grow up and have some kids,” as she claims in her blog post. Suggesting a woman isn’t a real adult unless she has kids is not ok in any context.

Comment by desmoinesdem

Are you kidding me? That’s a pretty skewed assessment of his statement. Fucking WOW. I do believe that he wasn’t inferring that a woman isn’t grown up until they have children, he was saying “stop your temper tantrum big-britches bullshit and grow up.” And maybe if she had kids she would understand that he offered to change his plan of going home to his kids and cook her dinner. He has a family with which he was about to go home and spend time.
Wini was also exercising some real a-hole customer skills by showing up at that time to begin with, then making demands. We of the restaurant biz appreciate all business, but the 5 til close people are generally (if staff is still on the clock) are costing more in labor than they are spending. That’s fine, but not from a so-called professional diner.
And once more, that ia what you got from all that? Mind boggling.

Comment by locallygrown

To be clear, if I showed up at a restaurant that was closing I would say, “Oh, I didn’t realize you were closing. We’ll come back another night.” I think it would have been perfectly acceptable for him to say, “Sorry, we’re closing and I gotta get home to my kids.” That’s what he should have said if he didn’t want to be reviewed yet. Instead, he offered her a deal and then pulled rank on her when she declined.

Comment by desmoinesdem

I dunno, Occam’s Razor would lead me to come to the same conclusion as desmoinesdem, not jumping through all the logical loops that you say. You may be right, but upon first glance (or hearing), I would be offended, too.

Also, by her account, it sounds as if she’s not miffed by him saying he wouldn’t serve her, but by his snarky and inappropriate parting remark.

Comment by maria

Journalists are taught in their most basic news reporting classes that their forum should never be used to vent a grievance, or for personal reasons. I see this as both. My personal opinion? Unethical.

Comment by Stephanie

I think that’s a fair point, but it also would have been unethical for her to promise not to write a review in exchange for him serving her dinner. She can’t start cutting deals like that with restaurant owners.

Comment by desmoinesdem

How on earth is it unethical to agree to not review a dinner? She would be paying for it, there was no agreement that no review equals free food. And knowing Wini, she never takes freebies. She absolutely refuses to play that game. This was a clear (to me) situation of “if you want something, I will make you something, but we are closed and I do not want what happens here to be reviewed” like an off the record statement in food form.

Comment by locallygrown

I agree with desmoinesdem again. She probably wouldn’t’ve written a review, but she can’t start making promises like that in exchange for special treatment. It’s like the freebie thing. No special treatment, no special deals.

Comment by maria

It wasn’t a deal that was offered, and no free meal was promised. C’mon, Maria, you can read better than that.

Comment by locallygrown

unethical, but fricken hilarious. I had this whole line of local food articles planned, and now it’s just WiniGate. I suppose an expose on CSA can wait a few months.

Comment by locallygrown

I don’t think this would be an issue if he hadn’t taken a cheap shot at her. It was an even square off until then, then he took it to the gutter. Seems to me the owner of a restaurant should be more profesional than that.

Comment by Pat Mearson

I can’t believe you of all people wrote this comment. I enjoyed your “Rodney Dangerfield” analogy at the DD’s comments section.

Comment by locallygrown

p.s. Just to clarity… unethical on the part of DD. She got her feelings hurt. Too bad. Suck it up. Don’t use the Register to vent.

Comment by Stephanie

Doh. “Just to *clarify.” ::grumbles to self about proofreading before hitting post comment::

Comment by Stephanie

[…] be seated.  This scenario may sound VERY familiar to you tens of readers who experienced “Wini-Gate” in all of its […]

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