me and my DSLR were chased out of a South Park district burger bar early Friday evening.

Mr. Manager, Juanenito, didn’t like the way I did things. Mind you, I was just waiting for my medium rare cheeseburger to come…

Yours truly took some well framed shots of the 3 day old restaurant, was finishing up the cream of broccoli soup and chatting up the hostess when Mr. Manager came over. He didn’t introduce himself, but insisted on asking who I was. Just the little ‘ol me I said. The gentle giant insisted next time – no dude, I don’ t think there’s gonna be a next time – I must identify/introduce myself before eating/clicking/sitting. I retorted I was merely diner, and seeing this is the only 3rd day of ops, they SORELY needed the business. Mr. Manager insisted I did things the wrong way.

After his huffing and puffing, I changed tactics and attempted to strike a friendlier conversation by asking if the restaurant has indeed only been only 3 days. He hums and haahs without looking at me, I ask again, he turns his back, walks away, goes behind the bar and starts gloating to the bartender(?): I knew he was a “blah blah blah.” Bartender replies with wonderment: how did you know! etc.

Hey, genius, I’m the ONLY patron in your main dining room on a Friday nite, grubbin’ solo, rockin’ an SLR camera, clicking away (no flash, NATCH).

Continuing on, Manager Jaunenitos mentions, all within ear shot, he knows how bloggers worked and apparently we should introduce ourselves before 1) eating 2) whipping out the cameras. The take home thought of the evening: He didn’t like “the way [I] did it”.

With that in my mind, I knew Manager Jaunenito simply didn’t like my blue motorcycle jacket. I mean, it’s not the fact that the rest of the diners were black, it’s not my messy hair, it’s not my cheap watch. Had to be motorcycle jacket… So I got up and left, all the while looking at the burger the server was about to bring out. Manager Jaunenito wanted to do me a favor by paying for my $5 cream of broccoli soup. Such a class act, brother!

PS. Apparently no one is important unless you write for the Los Angeles Times. It’s all quite a shame really, because the burger, which Jared, the uber nice waiter, mentioned was on the way, looked mighty lovely from afar.

Mother Road
836 S. Grand Ave
feel free to email Mr. “e. jaunenito pavon II” – general manager (all in lower case, ala e. e. cummins)
jpavon@motherroaddowntown.com
Mother Road on Urbanspoon

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  • Now I want to go back with you, in matching motorcycle jackets…. and I’ll bring my full size dslr too. LOL

    MyLastBite´s last blog post..Bazaar News

  • jin

    wow. i can’t believe it. i want to follow you BACK to that restaurant with my sony ex-1 and a full boom mic and DP + sound guy and see what he says. could we? oh please oh please.

  • Wow, what an asshole. I’ve only had one similar thing happen to me in over nearly 3 years of food blogging. Most restaurants are more than happy for the good reviews and free advertising they get from people like us, but every once in a while you come across a jerk like this who doesn’t understand the power of blogs and word of mouth. I hope this news of how they treated you spreads far and wide, and I’m glad you posted this so everyone will know this place is run by a total prick. instead of the good review they probably would have had if you had not been harassed and treated so rudely they now get this instead… which it seems they very much deserve.

  • The only time I’ve ever been treated poorly by a business owner was with the Crocker Club. To this day not only will I never go there, but I actively recommend that people avoid it.

    It’s crazy what the term “blogger” makes business owners think.

  • Man, I’m sorry. I’ve noticed stuff like this also, like at Food events for example. The attitude of some chef’s change to a type of snobbishness as soon as I tell them I am a ‘foodblogger’. I just think they think of us as a bunch of yelpers/chowhounders (majority aka food jerks) that spinned off.

    Kind of why I started labeling myself ‘food writer’.

    Teenage Glutster´s last blog post..Current Economy Student Foodieness: Packed Lunches and Snackage (Babaganoush, Pomegranate and Mint Sandwich)

  • Trisha

    WTF? He’ll definitely be losing business now (whatever little business he had in the first place). Hahaaha.

  • Corey

    I don’t get the black joke. Are you uncomfortable with black people in a restaurant? So you didn’t even eat the food? Were you trying to review the food? What is this website?

  • Boo! So you didn’t even eat the burger? 🙁

    WeezerMonkey´s last blog post..Spoon-Feeding

  • Crazy! and the pseudo-masochist that I am, I may just try to go to Mother Road with my wimpier looking digi-cam to see if I get a similar treatment.

    P.S. You’ve been assimilated into the twitter-hive, I see 😉

  • TonyC

    Corey, you’re missing the point. My comment about the black person clealry shows I’m comfortable as the solo non-Black diner. if you follow this blog, you’ll see I frequent every and single food establishment as long as there is good grub. see this post on Bludso’s which put ’em on LA’s BBQ map. Also see this post on Mom’s Burger in Compton. I wanted to eat the burger, but jaunenito basically told me to GTFO. And yes, I did “eat the food” – unless you chose to deny the cream of broccoli’s existence (see pix) as food?

  • and u took some mighty fine photos of his joint too!
    I’ve gotten a “hmph we get you bloggers here all the time, you’re no biggie” treatment when I whip out my camera or a “no photo plz” but never got kicked out …
    I’m not masochist enough to go there w/ my puny camera, I’ll just see what happens to HC when he does.

    Gourmet Pigs´s last blog post..The Newly Revived Pondok Kaki Lima in Duarte

  • Tanya

    Just a little “come to Jesus” fact: Manager Jaunenito was very rude (the jerk!) to you. However, decent manners DO suggest that asking permission to photograph an establishment is what I consider a more professional way to do blogging. (Ask the Los Angeles Times!) I always do this, and have never been turned down. The reason I do this is because some patrons may not be comfortable being photographed as they eat (yes, even black ones!) whether you’re aiming at them or not. Remember that at that moment you are on Private Property, not public, and the manager has the right to set the tone of his establishment in the way he wants, not YOU. Unfotrunately that sometimes means NO CAMERAS. I don’t necessarily agree with that policy, but it’s their right. Don’t mess it up for the rest of us downtown-you can always go outside onto public property (the sidewalk) and shoot the front of the place!

  • Tony J.

    OK. I found a place here to post this…couldn’t find it before. I also just noticed that you embrace the notion of “vengeance” as part of your MO. That’s too bad. So, as I posted on blogdowntown.com:

    Sino, I only answer your comment on MotherRoad here because most of the places you re-posted your hit piece don’t allow people to respond/comment to your post. What’s your REAL issue with this place. One minute you say that you are the only patron in the place, the next you find it important to point out that all of the other patrons were black. Which is it? Or are the other patrons non-patrons? Even in a hit job, what self respecting blogger/yelper/whateveryouwannacallit describes finishing up a broccoli soup without telling readers how it tasted, snaps off pictures without providing descriptions? You see, I was one of the black patrons in the restaurant and you were not chatting with the hostess but scowled and in VERY disrupting fashion began to snap off shot after shot in a small dining room. That got the manager’s (and the rest of us!) attention so he walked over and merely asked if you were a writer, blogger, or reporter. YOU LIED and told him you were just a guy waiting on a meal “lil ol me”. He then said that it would have been better if you had simply identified yourself and could have taken all the pictures you wanted. Then you walked out. The issue here is not you or your camera. After reading everywhere you posted this hit job on the place (and I told the manager you would) its clear your camera is your weapon. The blogosphere gives you a medium which to scowl through the city, snap off pictures, and blast places where other people intend to find happiness. You blast celebrities, bash new ventures, bash happiness, bash smiles, and have internalized a sense of cool that you hope to get agreement on without putting yourself out there. You have your OWN blog and won’t put YOUR picture up, yet you walk around disrupting dining rooms, levying assault on new ventures, using name that you think sounds cool, when the truth is you’re hiding behind that name. At my table someone had the Royale burger and we were having a conversation earlier that day about what you would want to take with you if you were going to be stranded on a desert island. She recalled that conversation and said, “Remember when you asked whats the one thing I would have to take with me?”. Stunning our entire table she pointed to her Royale burger and said “This”. Now, maybe you got into a childish banter with the manager, but if you’ve committed to reviewing then review. If you have beef with the LA Times or uh…journalism school…then prove why understanding things like making yourself the story and inadvertently appealing to prejudice are not important. Prove that the journalistic error of telling us you ate something and not tasting it or taking pix and not describing the place was an oversight. Since you posted this hit job all over the internet, I am sure you will accept this challenge. Since you have dissed EVERY burger place that has opened this month, go back to Mother Road, order the Royale Burger, and tell me if my friend was right. If she wasn’t I’ll introduce myself to you personally (publicly)on this blog and pay you for the burger, for at least taking the challenge. You don’t need to be a reporter and you don’t have to prove to me that you are a qualified reviewer. Just prove you at least got some soul since you’re using it in your name bro…

  • TonyC

    Tanya, thank you for your response.

    Do not want to start a battle on restaurant “photo policy” as it’s been hashed to death elsewhere on blogsphere. There are dozens of sites DRIVEN by pictures of restaurant food (tastespotting, photograzing, biggestmenu, etc). Are you suggesting that a picture of the front of the would suffice? I’d disagree.

    Of course I’ve been asked to put away the camera (Craft, Church & State, etc.) and each time I’ve obliged and that is, obviously, NOT the point here.

    Can’t exactly remember which food critic wrote this but to paraphrase: dining out is akin to renting a small personal space in a restaurant. Surely Mr. Manager can “set the tone” as he pleases, but we are the paying customer, and we can chose to not ever participate this tone again.

    Rest assured, we’ve spent thousands of dollars in DTLA’s establishments: check my “DTLA” tag. No one’s trying to mess it up for anything, nor anyone.

    Tony, also appreciate your comments pointing out the glaring contradictions. I do realize the haste post needs clarification, and I will do so shortly.

  • To understand SinoSoul.com, one must meet Tony C.

    Gastronomer´s last blog post..Sprinkles Cupcakes – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

  • Neel Sodha

    I went to the Mother Road on Thursday night and introduced myself and was interested in writing a quick article for angelenic on his restaurant. Mr. Jaunenito requested that he first see the website and make sure he sees my name before he could grant me an interview. I sent him the information on Thursday night and haven’t heard back since.

    It’s unfortunate, I really want to promote this business, but I don’t appreciate the way he handled my willingness to help him out. The food is decent, prices are affordable, but the attitude is something that needs to be worked on. I may just walk past the Mother Road and into Gil’s next time I come by the Stilwell.

  • I completely agree Gastronomer… “To understand SinoSoul.com, one must meet Tony C.”.

    I had the pleasure of spending time with Tony C. at the Gold Standard event, and he is charming, funny and I sort of wanted to adopt him (as a little brother)!

    MyLastBite´s last blog post..2009 James Beard Award Nominees

  • Joyce

    True, TonyC is a charming, incredibly knowledgeable food junkie. True, it is a pleasure to dine out w/ him. I’m not sure that to understand SinoSoul, you need to meet him, since every word he writes exudes his passion for food.

    Does he pan restaurants? Sure–ones that deserve it. He also reserves some seriously high praise for eateries that fall on the other side of the spectrum. He’s hardly a snotty Angeleno, cultivating cool so that he can attack any that dare fall below his standards, so I think Tony J’s reply is unfair. It’s too bad that some restaurants only want to OK pics/reviews from people they’re certain will write nice, fluffy things about their food and decor. That kind of restaurant’s work will be for naught, since reviews net customers–who then come in and try the place out for themselves. If the food’s subpar, chances are that people won’t be back.

    For restaurants (hell, businesses in general) who’re afraid of the newfangled technology and every little person’s ability to speak up for their individual experience–simply because the management has no idea how to control it–this approach is the wrong way to do things…because after all, anyone who can review their food can also review everything else about their restaurant.

    For me, a restaurant isn’t just made on its food. Service always counts in determining whether a dining experience was excellent or merely adequate. For a manager to be this unnecessarily rude to a paying customer—whose only crime is taking pictures of his own food—is totally unacceptable.

  • sook

    i can’t believe you left the burger uneaten. tragedy!

  • “Blast happiness and smiles?” That’s going a bit far, yes? To all restaurant managers: All you have to do is ask that no photos be taken. Simple. Interrogating a blogger about who he is and is not – well, that’s guaranteed bad publicity and, really, quite idiotic.

    tien.´s last blog post..Daikokuya: Or, Absence Makes the Heart Grow Inpatient

  • OMG! I remember reading this exact blog post months ago! I didn’t realize it was YOU!

    YOU are that infamous guy!

  • Hey there! Just wanted to say that this is one well written article! Thanks for posting this. I was looking for a site that has this kind of info and I’m glad I stumbled upon this one. 😀 Keep up the great articles.

  • EE CUMMINGS

    My God Juanenito!

    You got really fat since i last saw you and you look like a fag.
    You writing sucks also…
    What a waste of a body!



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