No-kids policies have been controversial for the few restaurants who’ve dared to try one. Was that why a Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Florida sided with a wee patron in banning another sort of customer from the premises? Whatever the motivation, monkeys are reportedly no longer welcome at the Stuart location, even on Mondays. And that’s just one of the nightmare-caliber upheavals that stung restaurants in recent weeks, from In-N-Out to a Canadian Dairy Queen.
Here’s the skinny.
Monkeyshines not appreciated
Our relatives one rung down the evolutionary ladder will have to try a Maggiano’s or Olive Garden if they’re looking for a welcome from an Italian restaurant in the greater Stuart, Fla., area. The local Carrabba’s doesn’t want to see their likes again after a mishap last month forever ended what staff and customers had come to call Monkey Mondays.
A couple that regularly frequented the restaurant were known to bring at least one of their four pet monkeys along at the start of the work week for a (human) meal on the patio. Other patrons reportedly loved the chance to see the capuchins, the small species of monkeys that may be best known as organ grinders’ sidekicks, as they kept their owners company.
Everyone seemed content with the arrangement until an 8-year-old patron disregarded warnings that the monkey sitting tableside in a high chair, 9-month-old JoJo, should be approached with caution. According to local media reports, the boy grabbed JoJo, who responded by biting the lad’s finger. That led to a complaint filed with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. An investigation led to the discovery that JoJo had not had his rabies shots, though the offending human youngster suffered nothing more than a small cut.
Not willing to take further chances, the Carrabba’s reportedly set a no-monkeys rule—just for the nonhuman sort, not headstrong 8-year-olds.
Stop the presses: In-N-Out contributes to political campaigns. That has to be a first for a restaurant chain (insert eyeroll here.)
Some California politicians must not realize that restaurateurs routinely contribute to favored parties and candidates, Democrat and Republican. When local pols learned the family-owned burger chain had given $25,000 to the GOP, one turned to Twitter to call for a boycott. “It’s time to #BoycottInNOut - let Trump and his cronies support these creeps... perhaps animal style!” wrote Eric Bauman, chairman of the California Democratic Party.
The party quickly walked back Baumann’s statement, describing it as a personal view of the chairman, not the organization. In any case, the outcry was such that Bauman himself said there was a mistake—he never meant to call a boycott.
And what did In-N-Out have to say about the matter? It pointed out that it gave equally to Democratic and Republican organizations within its home state. “For years, In-N-Out Burger has supported lawmakers who, regardless of political affiliation, promote policies that strengthen California and allow us to continue operating with the values of providing strong pay and great benefits for our associates,” it declared in a statement issued to local media.
‘We stink. Here’s a reward if you can say why.’
One of the more vexing restaurant mysteries of the summer has finally been solved, much to the relief of a Dairy Queen in Calgary, Canada. The ice cream outlet had been beset for more than three years by a reek reminiscent of rotting eggs, and management couldn’t figure out why. In desperation, the store posted a note on its front door earlier this year, offering sleuthing customers a free Blizzard every week for a year if they could deduce the source of the stench.
Despite the offer, no nose could track the smell to its cause. Finally, the local utility company tried a Hail Mary, turning off all gas-fired appliances in the building to see if the restaurant was still drawing fuel. It was. That led to finding a small leak in a gas pipe, which was promptly fixed.
Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.