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Where Not to Eat--and Site of the Day

Nothing like a haughty restaurateur and a gaggle of hungry foodies to make for a delectable little tiff. If you're thinking of eating at Buck's Fishing and Camping, an ambitious restaurant with a locally famous chef (Carole Greenwood), a frustratingly skimpy menu and some rather good food, make sure you keep your camera in your bag and your opinions to yourself, because you could find yourself on the wrong end of a legal order.
That's what happened to Washington blogger Jason Storch, who, in service of his DCFoodies blog and his own tummy, visited the eatery on Connecticut Avenue NW in DC Chevy Chase. He enjoyed his meal and took a few snaps on his phonecam; then, before he could even get around to posting what would have been a nice review on his blog, he gets slammed with a lawyer letter--a cease and desist order that includes this fabulous bit of lawyering:

The food and contents of the said restaurant are propriatary and confidential.

It's the lawyer who can't spell, not me.
The contents of the letter aren't of much higher quality than the spelling. It's just horsepatootie, of course. Does the eatery own the food until I put it in my mouth, or until I swallow, or until I digest it, or just plain forever?
Sure, any business can post a sign saying No Photography--heck, it's their place and we have to play by their rules. But short of that sort of obnoxious overwrought overmanagement of customers' lives, what we do with our food is pretty much up to the diner.
D.C. Foodies--our Site of the Day-- is Storch and wife Amy, and it's a fun site with a very personal approach and lots of good dining adventures, written in an entertaining and informative style.
Why would Greenwood choose to be offended by a fun little mini-review/feature on a local blog that can only bring her some word of mouth and a few curious new customers? (His item, since removed from his blog, was kind enough; his wife even called a fish dish "the best fish I've eaten all year.")
Because Greenwood takes herself very, very seriously.
Unlike Storch, who defines his work on the blog like so:
People always ask, "Jason, are you a food critic?" to which I answer -- NO! I'm not a professional food critic! I consider myself a "foodie." A foodie is defined as "a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food."

Memo to foodies: Let's stick to places where the chef is more interested in creating an enticing performance and imaginative food rather than policing her image and browbeating her clientele.

By Marc Fisher |  January 9, 2006; 8:01 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Marc, why in the world would a grown man use the word "tummy" except when speaking to a small child?

Posted by: E in DC | January 9, 2006 2:50 PM

I've personally been amazed at the number of places where I've been ordered sternly to cease and desist with taking a photo in a place of commerce (not an art museum), even though the photos were meant to actually aid in the patronage of the place. Restaurants to IKEA, from clothing to eyeglasses, why are stores so concerned with people taking a photo to help them to buy something? In this case, I can't imagine one chef going to another restaurant to copy a meal and needing a camera, which would be one of the only justifiable reasons to guard the image of a meal. Any reasonable chef could do it from memory. Absurd and annoying.

Posted by: Trexor | January 9, 2006 6:29 PM

Well, Carole Greenwood has a history of abusing and setting herself above her customers. I think she'd be happiest if she could set her dishes behind velvet ropes and charge people to gaze upon their glory from a distance.

You can be sure I'd never be caught dead in any of her restaurants. There is plenty of food better than hers in the city, without the attitude.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2006 9:30 AM

I totally agree with the above -- I wouldn't ever spend one thin dime at one of her restaurants. It's a mystery to me why, despite repeated instances of deplorable customer service, Tom Sietsema continues to excuse her conduct and recommend her restaurants. Of course, given her track record, he's probably terrified of her reprisals should he warn his readers off...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 14, 2006 8:23 PM

Her food is excellent, and plenty of customers have dined happily at Buck's without incident. It's a shame that an attention-seeking blogger and his catty wife blew the incident up to gain publicity for their blogs.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 20, 2006 2:28 PM

You can't be 24238 serious?!?

Posted by: Max Ballstein | August 2, 2006 3:58 PM

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