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The Grey Responds to Customer’s Irrational Anger With Southern Grace

“I have the money so you will do what I tell you to do.”

Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano
Quentin Bacon
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas, covering the food and restaurant scene across North and South Carolina.

It looks like Savannah restaurant the Grey suffered an unpleasant interaction with a recent Google-reviewer customer. Posted under the name Daniel Levin, a customer says his request to order chef Mashama Bailey’s dish of foie with grits without the grits was denied. Perhaps forgetting he was in a Southern restaurant, Levin says he could not accept the staff’s reasoning to refuse the request and was asked to leave. He gave the award-winning restaurant a one-star Google review.

Owner John O. Morisano took to Facebook to defend the action of his staff, saying that the patron refused his table choices, swore at the staff, and made a declaration akin to “I have the money so you will do what I tell you to do.” Read the whole statement below.

Hey Daniel thanks for trying to join us for dinner with your family. In reading your Google review, I found much of it to be inaccurate so I would like to address some of it here. You began to ‘make your opinion clear,’ as you phrased it, long before you ever received a menu. It started when you refused the first table at which we attempted to seat you. We then offered you a second table and you refused that one as well deciding that while the first table was less than adequate it would have to do. For the record, we only have two types of tables for parties of four - booths and banquettes. You were offered both types and you refused both. Very occasionally a guest will do this as a way to assert their power. All it does, as it did the other night, is get the evening off on completely the wrong foot. If you truly do not like your table we will bend over backwards to make you happy, but the move of refusing tables ‘just because’ is simply not effective. On to the menu. The Foie and Grits dish we serve is about the combination of all of the ingredients on the plate. Pan searing you a piece of foie because that’s what you feel like eating has nothing at all to do with us or our menu. Under that logic, you could ask us for anything and we should cook it - like ‘hey, I really feel like a couple of eggs sunny side up with hash browns.’ Removing the grits, which is the primary component of that dish, makes it a fundamentally different plate of food that would not be on our menu and is not at all representative of Mashama’s style of cooking. As to your statement that we said you were ‘offending’ the chef, well, we would never say that. It is not about offending anyone and we would not use that as an excuse as that has nothing to do with our commitment to serving our menu. For us, it is a matter of serving the food that we know to be delicious because we have spent long periods of time developing the recipes and dishes that make sense. Finally, I was present Saturday evening for your interactions with our highly skilled and trained team. They were professional and very polite to you throughout your brief encounter in spite of your swearing at them repeatedly, insulting them and declaring to them something along the lines of - “I have the money so you will do what I tell you to do.” I put our team’s welfare and well-being above all else. We are about mutual respect and creating an enjoyable experience for everyone - you and us. We expect mutual respect from each other and we expect it from our guests. We employ a zero-tolerance policy for anyone treating any member of our team in a belittling or disrespectful manner and you, in my opinion, stepped firmly over that line. I gave the team the go-ahead to ask you to leave which is not a decision I take lightly but, luckily, I can count those situations on one hand since we opened three and a half years ago. I truly hope that you and your family found a nice place to have dinner and that you made the most of your time in Savannah. - Johno

Got this review on Google this weekend. As Google does not give us the opportunity to respond, I figured FB was the next...

Posted by The Grey on Monday, July 9, 2018

Is the customer always right? Should you go to a Southern restaurant and expect to not eat grits? Do internet reviews make us all worse people?

Google Reviews: The Grey [Google]
The Triumph of the Grey [E]