Talula’s Garden owners Aimee Olexy (left), Stephen Starr (right)
It’s one of the dark secrets of the restaurant industry that cooks and other staffers are often made to do prep work — the peeling, chopping, and other tasks in the kitchen and dining room that must be done for a successful night’s service — off the clock, hours before their paid shift officially starts.
We reported last year that one Philly restaurant — Talula’s Garden, co-owned by Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy — was being investigated for these unscrupulous practices.
And now, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor has found that Talula’s Garden violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act relating to overtime, minimum wage, and record keeping for making line cooks, bartenders, and servers work off the clock.
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Left: Stephen Starr (photo by Jacqueline Larma/AP). Center: The interior of Talula’s Garden (photo via Starr Restaurants). Right: Aimee Olexy (photo by HughE Dillon).
The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating a cook’s claim that he and other employees at a Stephen Starr restaurant were forced to work without pay, Philadelphia magazine has learned. The scheme allegedly cost each of them thousands of dollars in lost wages.
Robert Fitz, a line cook at Talula’s Garden from 2015 through early 2016, filed a federal complaint in August. Fitz says he told officials that line cooks at the farm-to-table restaurant on Washington Square were expected to start work between roughly 11 a.m. and noon each day, but weren’t allowed to clock in until 3 p.m. The employees spent the off-the-clock hours preparing to begin serving dinner at 5 p.m., he says. Read more »
Photo | Brian Howard
“Anywhere But Here” is a new, occasional feature where we choose a restaurant that we loathe and tell you, the loyal Foobooz reader, all the other places you could go for better food, booze or service. We know you know this stuff. We’re just here to help. And we’re launching this new project with…
Today is National Cheesecake Day and, unsurprisingly, the brand spankin’ new Cheesecake Factory that opened last month at 15th and Walnut is celebrating its namesake holiday with half-price slices, a new flavor (salted caramel, because no one’s tried that yet…) and god only knows what else.
But you know what? This is Philly. And we can do better than settling for the Cheesecake mothership. So with that in mind, we’re giving you some options–for cheesecake, cheese and cake because we don’t care how you celebrate, so long as you do it Anywhere But Here.
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L-R: Sarah Megan Thomas, Alysia Reiner, David Alan Basche, Samuel Roukin and Roe Hartrampf
The cast of Equity arrived in Philly last week to begin filming a movie about women on Wall Street. Equity is the brainchild of Sarah Megan Thomas and Haverford native and Orange Is the New Black prison maven Alysia Reiner, and is the first film produced through their production company Broad Street Pictures.
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TLC reality star and upcoming Philly block party hostess Kate Gosselin brought her millionaire boyfriend Jeff Prescott for a twirl through Philly recently.
According to Us Weekly, in an article titled “Kate Gosselin Still Dating Millionaire Jeff Prescott — Get All the Details on Their Upscale Date Nights!,” Gosselin and Prescott were seen dining at “upscale eatery” Talula’s Garden on May 8th.
Later on, they hit the suburbs for a late-night gambling binge at Valley Forge Casino Resort “until the early hours of the morning.”
We’ll have to see if the mother of 8 brings her new man to the massive TLC block party scheduled at Penn’s Landing on May 30th (that is, if anyone cares … ).
The overnight water main break at 7th and Locust Streets is affecting Talula’s Daily and Talula’s Garden. Luckily, not because of water damage but because of water access. Talula’s Daily has a barebones menu and only iced coffee since it was brewed yesterday.
Talula’s Garden is awaiting feedback from the Philadelphia Water Department before making a decision on dinner service tonight.
UPDATE: Talula Daily’s “Secret Supper” will be happening as of 7 p.m. tonight. The market will reopen in the morning.
Bacon Pancakes at Grubhouse | Photo by Courtney Apple
There are only a few foods that one can happily eat for every meal and pancakes are one of them. Maybe it’s because lasagna for breakfast doesn’t flow as well, but pancakes for dinner is never a bad idea. No matter what time it is, pancakes can always be the answer to the question of “What would make me happy right now?” And here’s a list of some of our favorite spots to get the hot and fluffy dish.
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Earlier today we shared the big news that David Gilberg of Koo Zee Doo would be this summer’s chef at Morgan’s Pier. But that is far from the only chef shuffling that’s been happening.
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Leading off the news today, Starr’s D.C. outpost, Le Diplomate, got a big, wet, sloppy kiss of a write-up in the Washington Post. Roxanne Roberts gushed about the place (and about Starr), talking about the famous people who’ve come through the doors (Michelle Obama, Newt Gingrich, Joe Biden, etc) and Starr’s history.
For us, the most interesting stuff was about the restaurant itself and how it has quickly become one of the hottest addresses in a city full of very hot addresses. Here’s Roberts:
The bistro is the brainchild of Philadelphia restaurateur-impresario Stephen Starr, who made his fortune correctly predicting what audiences want — and even he’s surprised with the success of the Marais-inspired mob scene, his first foray into Washington. It’s not a power spot in the traditional clubby, steak-and-martini sense, nor the only French restaurant in the city.
But the guy from Philly guessed that Washington was primed for his meticulously detailed brand of theatrics. It’s not just about the food, or the wine, or the bread. What we want is an experience, this time a two-hour trip to Paris complete with crusty baguettes, steak frites and naughty pictures in the bathrooms.
Nice, right? But that’s not the only news on Starr today…
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Irish Bacon Grilled Cheese at St. Stephen’s Green | Photo by Jason Varney
No longer content wit’ Whiz, Philadelphia has become a cheese-lover’s paradise. Here are five cheese dishes you must try now.
Five cheese dishes you must eat before you die (or leave philadelphia) »