Graziano Graziussi, a 43-year-old lawyer from Naples, is a regular at Smith & Wollensky....The restaurant is getting some horrible press, but I'm sure people rip off restaurants all the time with the old forgot-my-wallet routine. If you let the guy leave, 9 times out of 10, you never see him again. I made up that statistic for rhetorical purposes. What do you think the statistic is? How much money do you think restaurants lose every year? They'll have to compensate by charging more to the people who do pay. But now they're stuck with the bad PR, because they called the cops on a photogenic lawyer, which means: 1. Focused outrage, 2. Ability to contact and talk to the press, 3. Big newspaper willing to run the story.
“I was going to leave my iPhone,” he said. “I suggested they bring a bus boy with me... It would have been an easy trip.”
One police veteran told the Daily News he wasn’t surprised to hear that the restaurant wouldn’t take the phone as collateral.
“How do they know that iPhone was his? It could have come from anywhere,” the cop said.
Readers of this blog might be thinking: Smith & Wollensky, where were we just talking about Smith & Wollensky? Was it in "The Great Gatsby"? It sounds like the name of the place that's been around long enough to have figured in "Gatsby," which takes place in 1922, but it opened in 1977. It adopted an old-fashioned image way back then. It was founded by Alan Stillman, the man who invented T.G.I. Friday's.
According to Stillman, there was never a Mr. Smith or a Mr. Wollensky involved. He opened the Manhattan phone book twice and randomly pulled out two names, Smith and Wollensky. The announcements for the opening, however, carried the names Charlie Smith and Ralph Wollensky. Stillman later admitted that Charlie and Ralph were the names of his dogs.What's the deal with Stillman and Friday's? T.G.I. Friday's started back in 1965. Stillman — Wikipedia says — was a "bachelor perfume salesman [who] lived in a neighborhood with many airline stewardesses, fashion models, secretaries, and other single people on the East Side of Manhattan near the Queensboro Bridge, and hoped that opening a bar would help him meet women."
At the time, Stillman's choices for socializing were non-public cocktail parties, or "guys' beer-drinking hangout" bars that women usually did not visit; he recalled that "there was no public place for people between, say, twenty-three to thirty-seven years old, to meet." He sought to recreate the comfortable cocktail-party atmosphere in public despite having no experience in the restaurant business.So he kind of invented the singles bar?
With $5,000 of his own money and $5,000 borrowed from his mother, Stillman purchased a bar he often visited, The Good Tavern at the corner of 63rd Street and First Avenue, and renamed it T.G.I. Friday's after the expression "Thank God! It's Friday!" from his years at Bucknell University....Aw. I'm rooting for this guy, who made his mom happy, by facilitating a million fucks, some of which were his. Ah! Here's a whole interview with him, complete with photos:
NCR: Did your strategy work? Did you meet good-looking girls?Ha ha. But, Althouse, get back to where you were going: that time we were talking about Smith & Wollensky on this blog. Yes. It was 9 days ago, and the story was about some job applicant who was presented in the press as a young guy who used what I called "the old honesty-modesty routine." Posting, I accepted the media cue that he was a gutsy, charming underdog, but — using Smith & Wollensky as my clue — I got suspicious in the comments:
Stillman: Have you seen the movie Cocktail? Tom Cruise played me! I was lucky enough to do it for three years — he only did it to make a movie. Even today, the advantage of being the guy behind the bar is huge. Why do girls want to date the bartender? To this day, I’m not sure that I get it.
A key line in the letter, as reprinted in the Daily Mail is: "I met you the summer before last at Smith & Wollensky's in New York when I was touring the east coast with my uncle, ***** ******"
Why put the name of your uncle in the letter unless it's intended to influence the hiring? Perhaps this person's seemingly refreshing attitude is just the cheeky confidence of a young person from a privileged background.
Would a guy working his way up from a working-class background ever write a letter like this?