Side Dish

My “Dish” column about why service is so bad in South Florida (“Shirt, Shoes, but No Service,” August 17) seems to have struck a nerve. Via e-mail I've received both complaints (think customers leaving restaurants with stains on their clothing) and compliments (try Basilico, and bring along those picky visitors). But one reader seems to think I was speaking directly to him. He writes, in part (and sans grammatical corrections): “I am a waiter.... I'm wondering if you have ever been a waitress and gotten stiffed by someone from Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Japan or someone Afro-American [his word, not mine]. Well, that's why you're talking so much crap. You don't know what it's like. We get $2.25 an hour and depend on the guest to leave 15 percent to us if were good. But we don't get it because they think they don't have to.... What a sweet @!&#%@ deal. No, we take it in the ass for these fucks and no one cares so fuck you and your mother, bitch. Love ya.” Dear reader, I can assure you that I've been in your (probably sweaty) shoes, as I've waited tables in three different states at a total of ten restaurants in eight years. The differences between you and me, however, are that I gave everyone the same good service, regardless of ethnicity, and that I made $1.82 per hour, so $2.25 does sound like a sweet deal. As for my mother, she's not entirely sure why you included her, but thanks for proving my point that there's too much rude and obnoxious service out there.

•Get your proprietary thoughts off Monty's. The Florida minichain, famous for its tiki-bar-and-stone-crab happy hours and Jimmy Buffett-style decadence, is expanding. The first out-of-state restaurant (there are seven locations throughout Florida, with two in Miami-Dade) will open in Atlanta on October 31. Owner Steve Kneapler currently is planning a second out-of-towner for Washington D.C. Just in case you were wondering, Monty's Atlanta will serve stone crabs in season, and Jonah crabs during the summer.

Kvetch: Let's be gracious for a moment. National magazines plan their issues at least a year in advance. So an article, which needs to be researched, written, edited, rewritten, copyedited, and fact-checked before it's turned over to the art department, which lays out the magazine, often is assigned a good twelve months before it's actually printed. It's easy to see how material can become outdated, or even be incorrect at press time. Still there's absolutely no reason why Mayya should have received a two-page, full-color spread in the September issue of Bon Appétit, which features “The American Restaurant: Our Favorite Places.” Not to beat a dead Chihuahua, but not once during its six-month run did Mayya qualify as a “favorite place.” The Lincoln Road eatery flamed out this past spring, plenty of time for the magazine to pull the info. Sure it would have messed up the nifty layout a bit. But isn't that why God created graphic artists? It just begs the question: How many other restaurants in the issue also have closed their doors?

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Jen Karetnick is an award-winning dining critic, food-travel writer, and author of the books Ice Cube Tray Recipes, Mango, and The 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami.
Contact: Jen Karetnick

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