Here’s a Tip: Anyone Can Be A Restaurant Owner On The Internet


We almost fell off of our chairs yesterday when we saw that the blog Consumerist had picked up a story from the comments–yes, the comments–of the City Paper’s online listing of Arbol Cafe. The big story being that commenters were sniping back and forth about Arbol’s purported policy of keeping server’s tips and Arbol’s owners had allegedly even written in, but seriously! It’s the internet and anyone can pretend to be anyone.

[Our current favorite comment: “Did anybody read the PW write up of Arbol this week? It seemed a desperate cry from the owners. It was all about how great the owners are. Not many mentions to the food. It seemed like it was geared at fixing this thread. The service wasnt mentioned until the last paragraph, when it stated that the service was poor, but it wasnt worth not coming. I am angered by PW printing this in a blatant remedy for Arbol. Looks like somebody was paid off!” Maybe the owners are using all those stolen tips to pay off our colleague Adam Erace? Ah, conspiracy theorists.]

Then, of course, the always-opining eGulleteers rang in with their pronouncements of doom and so did Phoodie and then Consumerist ran this ridiculous regurgitation and nobody ever bothered to actually go down there or pick up the phone and talk to the owners to see whether or not any of this was even accurate! Or maybe check with a former or current waiter for the same reason.

So we were glad to see this post from supersleuth Drew Lazor, promising the real story along with the full legalese from our favorite food-loving attorney PhilaFoodie. We are so looking forward to someone actually reporting on this story. We know you’re a famous Food Network star now, but what took you so long, buddy?

UPDATE: Arbol Cafe owner responds to Clog comments. The Arbol Cafe Question: Owner Beth Acuna says her piece [The Clog]

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  • Adam Erace

    I wanted to comment sooner, but it’s hard to walk over to my conmputer with my pockets being weighed down by all this money I’m being “paid off” by the owners of Arbol. If they’re so hard up for cash that they’re stealing tips, how could them afford to keep me on their payroll?

  • I found it amusing that The Cosumerist’s (local?) blogger Meg Marco, felt perfectly fine graffing my CP thread comment (the last kinda apoplectic one) into her post.

    However, I tried to make a comment to her post wherein I first claimed to be much more agnostic on the matter now than I was in that post, having looked into Arbol a bit more (do they even have servers anymore?) and then called the post out on taking a local online row into national profile without making even a basic inquiry into the facts (more worrisome since I have the aforementioned impression that Marco is a Philadelphian).

    Maybe it is because I used the phrase “helter stupid” (coined by Negativland to describe situations when older media makes these sorts of unverified bandwagoneering moves); but, while my profile has been included into The Consumerist probably built to impress advertisers’ “community,” my comment was never added into the mix.

  • Pedro

    You know, I followed every single one of the links you provided in the story, and I still could not tell you exactly what would happen to any tips I might leave at Arbol Cafe. It may be poor prose, it may be poor policy, but, whatever it is, it is poorly done.