Yelp is well known for being a virtual septic tank where the dregs of humanity pause to render their opinions on the local Cheesecake Factory. Yet that didn't stop Buzzy Sklar, owner of the forthcoming burger chain Sliderz and former owner of Burger & Beer Joint, from taking to the review site over the weekend to slam North Dade favorite Yakko-San for refusing to change the TV channel to a football game.
"The owner of Yakko-San has to be the biggest asshole in the restaurant biz," Sklar wrote on his personal Facebook page before calling for a boycott of the popular restaurant. He also lobbed racist epithets at owner Hiro Shigetomi's wife May. "Everyone complains about the dragon lady owner," he wrote. "She would be even busier if she treated people right."
In an interview Sunday, Sklar didn't retract his statements and said they weren't racial in nature.
"If she was a white Jewish woman who played canasta with my mother up in Boca, I would have still used the same vernacular," Sklar said.
A Yakko-San representative responded via the restaurant's Facebook account by saying the restaurant is not a sports bar, and though there are TV sets in the dining room, they're tuned to the Travel Channel and Food Network.
"We can't make everyone happy, even GOD can't," they wrote. Neither Hiro nor May could be reached for comment.
Sklar insisted that review websites are rife with complaints about the long-favored Japanese spot's service. Indeed, like many restaurants, Yakko-San has its fair share of gripes. Customers have complained about the inability to return improper dishes to the kitchen, desperate pleas for servers' attention, and one employee's attempt to throw a barstool at a customer.
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SHOW ME HOW
Sklar's racist online bloviating overshadows and draws attention away from what remains one of the most important issues in Miami dining today: service. At this point, it's become a cliché to complain about inattentive waiters, dirty silverware, and poor kitchen timing. By comparison, in Chicago this past weekend, lowly food runners at forgettable breakfast joints returned to check in after dropping plates, and servers issued fierce apologies after spilling even the slightest drop of water onto a table.
At countless Miami restaurants, the most memorable of server-patron interactions are limited to "Everything good, bro?" It generally comes five or ten minutes after eating has ceased and the table remains littered with dirty dishes.
The nature of Sklar's rant likely renders it ineffective, but it's larger point remains. Meanwhile, his latest restaurant is slated to open later this week in North Miami Beach. After such proselytizing, he ought to be showing all of Miami how it's done.