Underground Restaurants Get Little Sympathy Here

Couple of weeks ago, we got an email that sounded pretty grim: someone had tipped off the Liquor Board, and now Western Civilization was going to collapse. Around town, bloggers cried foul, falling right into the outlaws’ trap. No and no, wrong and wrong. These guys aren’t romantic Zorros, they’re behaving like petulant teenagers.

Might as well piss off our good friends at Gypsy, Vagabond, Caché, OnePot, KillTheRestaurant and Culinary Communion. You got busted. Somebody called the Liquor Board to complain that a cooking class used—oh my God—wine to deglaze a dish. Argues the state: if you use a controlled substance (like wine), you’ve gotta get a license. And not just some one-off, ten-buck Class J permit, either.

Well, you’d think the sky had fallen. “Betrayal!” said the email announcement by Culinary Communion’s chef Gabriel Claycamp (in photo at right, before auditioning for the Food Network).

Well, now, look, fellas. Every restaurant in the state (except, maybe, Minnie’s) plays by the rules. They pay rent while you use private premises, they pay utilities and insurance, they pay B&O on their gross receipts, they pay accountants and lawyers, and, above all, they pay their effing taxes. 13.7 percent on liquor sales, my friends, in addition to sales taxes and all the rest.

You want to be like Costco, complain that you’re so big you deserve “special treatment?” Think again. Costco lost its suit against the Liquor Board last month. You want “special treatment” because you’re edgy and underground? Hey, every legitimate, taxpaying restaurant in the state will fight you, tooth and nail. What makes you think you’re so goddamn special that you can thumb your nose at the world?

You’ve been on national TV, for heaven’s sake, with Anthony Bourdain! How can you complain about being betrayed?? Ya gotta decide: are you having a private dinner party or running a restaurant.

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2 responses to “Underground Restaurants Get Little Sympathy Here

  1. And look! Now the Swinery is dead! Claycamp, ya gotta follow the rules, just like everyone else.

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