Art of the Table is feeling some backlash after complaints about a group of Big Gulp-drinking diners ballooned on social media. Seattle Met tells the story of an incident between Jennifer Muscatel McLeod and James Beard-nominated chef Dustin Ronspies.
McLeod, who along with her family recently dropped more than $400 at the Fremont fine dining spot, had been given the go-ahead to carry in Coke during previous meals, but on a recent visit forgot to bring her preferred soda along to dinner. After trying and not liking non-alcoholic options on the menu, a server politely directed the group to a nearby 7-11. They returned with Big Gulps, finished the meal, and left a generous tip.
That evening, McLeod read the following on Art of the Table's Facebook page: "While dining at AOTT is ask [sic] that you please refrain from bringing 48 oz Big Gulps to dinner. It just looks bad. #nogmo #nohfcs."A second post: "It also makes chefs really irritated."
Several Facebook comments affirming Ronspies followed. The chef went on to apologize to McLeod's husband over the phone and remove the posts. He tells Seattle Met critic Kathryn Robinson: "I got a little freaked out when they came in with these Big Gulps, and I should've addressed the situation directly." He follows up: "But I don't understand why you would walk into a farm-to-table dining room with Big Gulps! A lot of people were on my side in this too…I'm torn between both sides."
The McLeod's aren't planning to return, nor are the "well-connected" Mercer Island family's friends.
· Restaurateurs Use Social Media to Shame Annoying Customers [Seattle Met]
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[Photo: Art of the Table/Facebook]