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(Please Note: Often times links point to "current" articles. The link was correct at the time, but new information may have replaced it. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.)

Restaurant Report E-mail Newsletter

Your On-line Source for Food & Hospitality Information

Issue #3 July 29, 1997

(This publication may be freely redistributed in its entirety)

In This Issue

* Feature Article
* Links of Interest to Hospitality Professionals
* Reading List
* Contests @ the Restaurant Scene
* Additional E-mail Resources

* Promotional Opportunity!

Feature Article

NEIL STEIN, The Man Who Said No to the President of the United States of America
by Bob Bradley

It was an almost perfect event. Even the weather cooperated. They predicted hard rains, but what we really got was hard sun. President and Ms. Clinton; The Vice-President and Ms. Gore; George and Barbara Bush; the Carter's; the Mayor and his wife, etc, etc. It was just beautiful, and nothing was going to spoil this historic event.

Philadelphia was presented at its absolute best, and while there were a few protesters, the only thing missing was trouble. Ed Rendell was smiling. His future never looked better.

There was however, one small glitch. So small that the President left a day early, and so small that Philadelphia probably kissed the next Democratic Convention good-bye. It seemed so simple - the Clintons wanted to have dinner at the Striped Bass.

The Striped Bass happens to be a very popular restaurant, and it's next to impossible to secure an immediate reservation on a Saturday night. But the President of the United States could probably get the Beatles back together, and if he wants dinner, he gets dinner. All it takes is a simple phone call.

Unless the phone is answered by Neil Stein, the proprietor of the Striped Bass. The conversation probably went something like this Ö

"Mr. Stein, this is Bill Clinton calling. Hillary wants to have dinner in your fine restaurant. I would sure appreciate a table for 19, at let's say 8 o'clock."

"Mr. President, with all due respect, this is the Striped Bass. We're not talking about McDonalds. A party of 19 for a Saturday night? I do have something two weeks from Monday."

I first heard this story on WIP Radio, and predictably, they jumped all over Neil Stein. There had to be something very wrong with him to make such a decision. And it seemed most people, including restaurant owners were astounded that Neil chose this direction. I mean we're talking about the most important man in the entire world, and he can't get a table at the Striped Bass? How do you say no to the President?

I spoke with a restaurant owner in the D.C. area who was faced with a similar request. He said yes to the Clintons and the Gores together, and ended up in People Magazine. It's probably safe to assume that a Presidential visit to your establishment is a fairly dramatic public relations coup.

Yet Neil Stein said no. Place one-hundred restaurant owners in the same spot, and ninety-nine of them are showing the Secret Service around their kitchens - and posing for CNN.

And guess what, Neil Stein was absolutely right. What the media failed to tell us was that the party of 19 wanted the entire restaurant (for security reasons), which meant that the Striped Bass customers had to find someplace else to dine. And if you know Neil Stein, you know an owner who puts his customers first - even before the President of the United States!

According to Stein, "there was only one decision to make. We had 300 reservations for that Saturday night, and these reservations are made some eight weeks in advance. People come here for some very important occasions including graduations, anniversaries, important business deals, and things like engagements. You want me to tell someone that they can't get engaged in the Striped Bass because the President wants to have dinner in my restaurant?"

"I have 127 employees who know exactly where I stand with my customers. They know my priorities. If I make a decision that is good for the Restaurant only, and without regard to my loyal customers and my staff, the Striped Bass would never be the same."

It's easy to talk about concepts like customer loyalty. It's something very different when it involves the Commander and Chief. Neil Stein passed the ultimate test.

Links of Interest

Ale Street News
This is the on-line version of Ale Street News. Their web site is beautifully crafted, easy to navigate and loaded with content. 50+ stories on a wide range of brew topics are available, along with beer festival & event information and more.

Roadside Magazine
Fans of the good old American diner will enjoy this e-zine site.

Dictionary of Cheeses
"The A to Z of Cheese" They aren't kidding around. This dictionary by Pierre AndrouŽt is a comprehensive listing of over 350 cheeses and is touted as "the Internet's most complete listing of cheeses from around the world."

Glossary of Cheese Definitions
From the same site, this guide helps you interpret the descriptions within the "Dictionary of Cheeses"

Clicks of the Week
Here's a good place to start the next time you want to just browse some interesting food sites.

Nightclub & Bar Hospitality On-line
If your restaurant includes either a nightclub or bar, this e-zine is a good place to pick up tips on the latest developments and news to help you compete and stay fresh. Specifically you might want to look at some of their promo tips:

Reading List

Know Parking
For all you downtown restaurant owners, here's a piece with your name on it. Patrons of the their city's downtown locations should also find this interesting.

Interviews with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse
Two stories on the same thing - Isn't that redundant you ask? Maybe, but why not take two looks at one of the best chefs in the country.

Wine Spectator Daily Report
You know what they say, "a glass of wine a day is good for you." Well along that line, here's the spot to get your daily dose of on-line wine info.

Contests @ the Restaurant Scene

Omaha Steaks -
Win a $50+ steak package delivered right to your door!

Salvatore Gourmet Foods -
$200 in delicious prizes - Be sure to enter.

Promotional Opportunity!

Your company can appear in the next issue! Article submissions, press releases, URL suggestions, comments, questions and suggestions are all welcome. Send your us at

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