The first couple of years were “war,” Yoon chuckled. Complaint letters started arriving (“absolutely hysterical gems”) and his “bacon on the burger” rule had a few people accusing him of being anti-Semitic. “Which was really funny, because my surrogate grandmother was this wonderful Jewish lady,” he said. There was even a phone call from the Anti-Defamation League asking if he could be more sensitive to customers.
Twelve years later, Father’s Office is still in business and customers aren’t quite as shocked when their substitution requests are denied.
Even a pregnant Victoria Beckham got a flat-out “no” when she tried to order a smoked trout salad (minus several ingredients) at Los Angeles restaurant Gjelena in May of 2011. Beckham’s dining companion that day, famed chef Gordon Ramsay, was not impressed. “I don’t think customers should be treated that way,” he said later.
Not everyone takes kindly to this treatment — more than a few unsettled customers have headed straight for the door. “You lose a certain clientele,” Doloto said. “I think there are just people that have to have it a certain way.”
“The main reason is that in Tuscany, different shapes of pasta are used for specific reasons,” Michael Schall, general manager of Locanda told TODAY.com. “As much as Olive Garden would like you to believe the contrary, pastas and their sauces are not all interchangeable.”
Danyelle Freeman, founder of the blog “Restaurant Girl,” has spent years exploring New York City’s restaurant scene, usually trying exactly what she sees on the menu. But at one restaurant, Freeman’s server made her party feel downright uncomfortable when a friend dared to ask about a substitution.
When you eat at Kenny Shopsin’s diner on New York’s Lower East Side, you play by his rules. Ask for a substitution and you will likely find yourself out on the curb, a victim of the eccentric chef-and-owner’s wrath.
“I think restaurants are forgetting they’re in the hospitality business,” she said. “If someone has an allergy, you really have to empathize and be accommodating.”
But Shopsin is far from the only chef with an inflexible “no substitutions or alterations” policy. Strict warnings have been cropping up on menus around the country over the past decade, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down as chefs at both upscale and casual restaurants follow suit.
When you eat at Kenny Shopsin’s diner on New York's Lower East Side, you play by his rules. Ask for a substitution and you will likely find yourself out on the curb, a victim of the eccentric chef-and-owner's wrath.“Some people tell me that they’re deathly allergic to something and that I have to make sure it’s not in their food. I kick them out,” Shopsin wrote in his book “Eat Me: Th