Put up your dukes
Houston waiter denies he challenged no-tip customer to a fight: Restaurant getsglobal backlash
A heated Reddit post has unleashed a barrage of prank phone calls and angry emails upon the proprietors of TQLA, the Washington Avenue restaurant known for its unique take on Southwestern cuisine and more than 170 types of tequila.
The ruckus spawned from a birthday dinner on July 15 during which confusion about tabs and appetizers purportedly lead a TQLA waiter to ask one of the diners to "step outside" after the customer wrote "NOPE!" on the tip section of the bill. ( Eater was first to report on the original complaint).
"U think ur pretty funny with that tip dont you?" Luftwaffle88 remembers the waiter saying to him when the two crossed paths in the rest room, writing it text messaging style. "Why dont we step outside so I can show you how funny i can be?"
"We want to make this right, but we haven't been able to corroborate the story yet. By no means, do we want to dismiss a negative experience like this."
Mike Nelson, who opened TQLA in 2010, tells CultureMap that the server claims to have said nothing of the sort.
Restaurant security footage shows the diner leaving the restroom after the reported argument only to return moments later. Camera records the man blocking the door and angrily speaking into the bathroom while the waiter was still inside.
Another waiter was called to the scene to mediate.
The owner says he attempted to reach out to the customer through others at the birthday dinner, but has yet to hear from the complainant, whose post garnered more than 1,000 responses on Reddit, most of which simply relayed other bad restaurant experiences at other establishments.
"We'd love to speak with the man who posted about the incident," Nelson says. "We want to make this right, but we haven't been able to corroborate the story yet. By no means, do we want to dismiss a negative experience like this."
In his post Luftwaffle88 details an evening fraught with complications — a table of 10 with five separate checks, botched orders and a frustrated waiter. Nelson offers a similar story given to him by TQLA staffers, who detail a rather worked-up customer in what appears to be tense situation for all involved.
"We would never tolerate this kind of treatment to our customers, but we're frustrated that we can't speak with the guy on Reddit," Nelson says. "Right now we're getting emails from people from across the country who've never been to the restaurant.
"Complaints like this affect the 40 other servers here who do a great job on a regular basis."