What Center City Restaurateur Got “Mugged” at the Pub in Pennsauken?

Sometimes palm greasing in a restaurant works. And sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes, well, sometimes it fails miserably and epically.

On Easter Sunday, the owner of a well known Center City restaurant took his wife and children to dinner at the Pub in Pennsauken. In case you don’t know the Pub, it’s a moderately-priced steakhouse set in a huge Tudor-style building just minutes over the Ben Franklin Bridge. The 62-year-old restaurant is known for its charcoal-grilled slabs of meat, salad bar, and for not taking reservations for parties smaller than 8.

The restaurateur, who shall remain nameless, has been going to the Pub for decades. He knew the score, and so he wasn’t surprised to see a long line when he arrived for dinner. The estimated wait time? An hour-and-a-half. “I heard my father’s voice in my head,” he recalls. “He said, ‘We better hit this broad with a C-note, or we may never get a table.'”

And so, the restaurateur handed the hostess a neatly folded $100 bill: “I told her, ‘I know this is a really tough day for you. I’m in the business, and I just want you to know that I appreciate the work you are doing.’ She smiled and said, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you, hon. It won’t be long.’ I’m figuring the deal’s done. This always works.”

Except it didn’t. After 45 minutes in the bar area, he went back to the hostess stand. “I figured maybe she forgot about me,” he says. “But I don’t know how she could forget. We’re all dressed nice and meanwhile there’s mooks in shorts with t-shirts on. I’m guessing no one else in the room slipped her a C-note.” He made eye contact with her, and she smiled. But no table.

After a total wait of two hours, he finally heard his name called. “She says to me, ‘Sorry for the wait,'” says the restaurateur. “I got mugged. One time when I was a kid, my father tore a $100 bill in half. He gave half to the host and said, ‘You’ll get other half if I get my table fast.’ I guess I’ll try that next time.”