Welcome back to Behind Closed Ovens, where we take a look at the best and strangest stories from inside the food industry. This week, we bring you a selection of stories about indefensibly evil customers — in two of these stories, the police actually had to be called. As always, these are real stories from real readers.
"I worked for a brewery/restaurant that had a lively summer music scene on the weekends. Our restaurant had a large outside seating area that would become extremely busy on these nights. A semi-regular group of families and older patrons would come down for the live music/food/beer. Without fail, we would have new patrons sit down at tables the moment they were vacated — people who did not have their names on the waiting list for these tables.
For the most part, we would explain the situation and they would go to the front and put their name on the list. One evening, a somewhat intoxicated younger couple pulled such a move. When our high school aged hostess came to explain the situation to them, the man quickly went about yelling at her and explained he wasn't moving. Our manager, deciding to avoid any further issues, agreed to let them sit at the table. They ordered a pitcher of beer with the same type of startlingly dickish attitude. Many of our regular patrons did not take kindly to this, and a lot of dirty stares were sent in their direction. This only added fuel to the fire and an uncomfortable calm settled over the back patio.
It was at this point that the couple in question looked inside to see me staring at them. I was waiting on tables, but had come to take a look at the morons who had brought a young girl to the verge of tears. It was at this moment that I locked eyes with the man. I can now safely say that I know how that one dude in Jurassic Park felt when he was hunting the raptors. The man stands up and looks at me through the glass mouthing something like "FUCK THIS PLACE" or "FUCK YOUR FACE." He then threw the glass pitcher of beer at the window, without breaking the glass or the pitcher. A couple of customers scream and the guy grabs his girlfriend by the arm as they try to make a quick getaway. I wasn't more than a foot out of door, yelling for them to stop, when one of our regulars took matters into his own hands. In one quick motion, this hero ran upon the fleeing couple and jump karate-kicked the man in the middle of his back before applying some sort judo hold on the ground until the police arrived to arrest him."
"I worked for a year in a very busy pub restaurant by the beach in the UK. Although we did a wide variety of meals, the restaurant was mostly famous for its fish meals; the most popular was our battered fish and chips (fries), using fresh-caught fish from the beach right outside the restaurant. One day a man and his wife came in. They ordered two jumbo cods with chips and a salad platter.
Now for some context; our jumbo fish meals were the biggest on the menu. You're talking a great hunk of battered and deep-fried fish that's over a foot long and weighs well over a pound, with a portion of chips that would make a McDonald's Supersize fries look like a Happy Meal portion. Seriously, I'd seen some man-mountains beaten by it in the past. This couple was...not exactly sylph-like, shall we say; the woman was smaller, so we thought she might not be able to handle all of it, but we figured the guy had a fighting chance as long as he didn't eat too much of the salad platter. So we cooked up two jumbo cod meals and a salad platter and took them out to the waiting couple.
When we put a jumbo cod meal in front of each of them, the guy looked indignant. "Why have you put the two jumbo cods on separate plates?" he snapped. "They're both for ME." He then tipped the jumbo cod meal we'd put in front of his wife onto his own plate, and pushed the salad platter towards her instead. "She's having the salad," he informed us, "because she needs to lose some weight."
And yes, he DID eat both of them. ALL OF THEM. Except for the salad garnish, because fuck vegetables, apparently. Then he banned his wife from having dessert because he wasn't going to, and "if I can manage to restrain myself from being a pig after a perfectly good meal, so can you, dear."
"I was working at a New Orleans inspired restaurant, in downtown Minneapolis. There had been a lot of police stings lately with underage drinking, so as a general rule, we just carded almost everyone. I went to my table for three (two men and a woman), asked for IDs, and two of them had state issued licenses. The last gentlemen, however, pulled out a handmade, laminated index card with a small picture of himself standing next to a BBQ grill, with his handwritten information on it stating he was 22. I explained I couldn't take that as identification (for obvious reasons), and he wanted to see a manager. As I was walking to the kitchen to get the manager, they got up and were swearing 'F this place' 'They won't let me get my drink' 'I come here all the time' and causing a ruckus, yelling loudly. They started to leave, and our 110 lb. manager was walking behind them to make sure they did so, not yelling or provoking them in anyway. The non-ID guy turned around, grabbed the back of her head, and slammed it in the doorway while calling her expletives. The bartender jumped over the bar to run after this guy, but they took off onto the nearby parking ramp and got away. The police and an ambulance were called, and our manager wound up with a concussion. All over an index paper ID!"
Do you have a crazy restaurant story you'd like to see appear in Behind Closed Ovens? Please e-mail WilyUbertrout@gmail.com with "Behind Closed Ovens" in the subject line. Submissions are always welcome!
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