News & Features

Graham Boots Twittering Dolinsky

June 29 2012 - 12:57 PM

Steve Dolinskys Twitter on Charlie Trotters

Steve Dolinsky’s Twitter on Trotter’s –via @stevedolinsky

Steve Dolinsky is pretty much revered at restaurants. His 8×10 is enshrined at seemingly every out of the way gem. He writes an excellent blog.  However, yesterday, he was given the boot from Graham Elliot’s place because of his Twitter comments, last September, where he leveled Charlie Trotter’s while he was eating the dinner.

Graham’s message post-boot: “sorry, i can’t serve anyone that tweets negative things about a restaurant while eating in that restaurant. #CharlieTrotters

Twitter is a spontaneous and immediate communication channel. So isn’t Dolinsky doing the right thing? Or is he disrupting his own experience. And what’s the right reaction? Remove the offending phone-wielder? Is that really the right move?

It’s been mentioned that Elliot worked for Trotter and there might be some mentor-protection aspects to this decision. What makes it different is that he said “while eating”. It’s similar to Grant Achatz getting upset at food photographers during a media dinner. I’ve been asked to not take pictures at Next of other people’s food but otherwise they’re supportive and probably amused by the number of people snapping pix of their own dishes (myself included).  While some say correctly that it’s an interruption to other diners what makes it more interesting to me is that it’s an interruption to the Twittering-diner or the photag-diner. Does my camera/phone get in the way of my experience? Sometimes I make a point to put the phone away. Other times I feel the need to shoot away.

Dolinsky/Graham Elliot

Dolinsky/Graham Elliot –via @stevedolinsky


And we’re being trained to do just this. I was at a media lunch yesterday where we were encouraged to use our phones, DSLRs, even iPad’s to take pictures of the food, the chef and the room. There’s a hashtag for everything. Graham knows this and takes advantage of it and Dolinsky too. Graham broke the news at Eater pretty quickly. Steve has his response on his site too.

When it goes beyond documentation to criticism, the words “snap judgement” come to mind. You might not see the forest for the trees if every course is a tree worth a tweet. Say that 5 times fast.

Would Roger Ebert critique a movie scene by scene as he watches it? Or a concert?

When I asked Steve about Twitter being an interruption he responded,

“I think twitter and photography mid-meal does interrupt the enjoyment of a meal, so now, I just snap quick photo and then tweak/filter/post afterward.

I try not to make snap judgements, but part of Twitter is the instantaneous. If I’m scarfing tacos, much easier to tweet/post; if I’m at Alinea or Next, I’ll wait until afterward, unless I just put something so spectacular in my mouth, I just gotta scream to the rooftops!”

These days everyone has an opinion and everyone’s a critic. Restaurants are struggling to keep mud off their faces but telling certain people they can’t have an opinion is not their right, nor is it necessarily a smart move unless you believe that there’s no such thing as bad press.

–Josh Brusin