Friday, 29 January 2010

Every gambler knows that the secret to survivin' is knowin' what to throw away and knowin' what to keep

For many years here the customer has been able to be wrong … it’s just the address that has changed slightly.

I must have been in this town longer than the journalist who wrote the following article, or he/she would have referred to times past. There was even an article in the very same newspaper within the last month; similar story but at least that customer mentioned that the food was good!

Before the site where the new multistory rises up from the street was prepared for the building which houses the restaurant Tramontana, there was a old Darwin house which housed the Mississippi Queen, a restaurant which was renowned for it’s good food and eccentric owner. He was not shy of chucking a fruity or, for that matter, a table full of plates if the customers did not meet his requirements. Locals knew the situation and the rules and behaved accordingly. You nearly always got a very good meal in quaint surroundings and sometime, an added floor, or table, show.

Legends were raised under the roof of the Mississippi Queen, and gained amplititude as stories were told and retold. What a pity, perhaps that was all before the time of YouTube. John Spellman was never a man afraid to make his view quite clear to anyone who happened by.

IT SEEMS Darwin has found its answer to Seinfeld's Soup Nazi. (link to news article)

The character in the hit '90s US sitcom was famous for the excessively strict regimentation he constantly demanded of his patrons.

And it seems John Spellman has adopted a similar "no soup for you" regime at his new Darwin restaurant.
A patron was less than impressed with their treatment on a recent visit to Spellman's Tramontana.
In a letter to the NT News the customer said the night was, "less than enjoyable but certainly memorable" then proceeded to detail the happenings.
Everything from having to share menus, slack service and "unbelievably rude" management was mentioned.
To add insult to injury, when the customer complained, the response was that it was "obviously not their type of restaurant". The manager then took a $10 note out of the register and told the customer to go "buy yourself a hamburger".
When ConfideNTial contacted Mr Spellman to hear his side of the debacle, he was surprisingly unapologetic. "They were very difficult customers to begin with," he said. "The party had originally booked for 30 people, and the night before confirmed only 16. That's $1000 lost in turnover - so, yes, I was cross to start with".
Throwing the old adage "the customer is always right" straight out the window, Mr Spellman said the group insisted on splitting the drinks bill and claimed they were charged for a champagne that was never received. The customer wrote a letter of complaint to Mr Spellman - he was going to reply, but "restrained himself".
"I have tamed my act," he said. "But I was tempted to send them a voucher for McDonalds, because that's where they should have been."
The unhappy patrons have vowed never to return.

I am saddened to advise them that they probably won’t be missed, and perhaps the old adage of “any advertising is good advertising” may work in this case and remind some of the old customers of the Mississippi Queen (who have been probably dining quietly for the last couple of years) that Spellman is back in business!

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