Mark Kuller, owner of Estadio and Proof (City Paper‘s pick for D.C.’s “Best Restaurant” this year), set-off a shitstorm of debate with his comments in a recent Examiner story about Friday’s city-sponsored youth event in Chinatown. The quote, as it appeared in the article: “[I]t’s a mistake to have a youth engagement event in this area. The police have tried to disperse the crowds in London, too. If you don’t think that can happen in the U.S., you’re wrong.”
The blog Greater Greater Washington even encouraged folks to boycott Kuller’s popular restaurant as a result of that remark.
Kuller now tells City Paper alum and current WaPo politics writer Mike DeBonis that his feelings about tonight’s street-closing youth event were a lot more complicated than the article portrayed. For one thing, he points out how disruptive the soiree will be for Proof customers:
We will lose use of our patio, have seriously impeded access to the restaurant, and no valet or street parking on our busiest night of the week. It is not unreasonable for me to consider the well being of my business and the 40+ people who’s livelihood depends on it. Furthermore, we have the daunting task of explaining the situation to 140+ guests, most of whom have had reservations for weeks and are expecting business as usual, without damaging hard earned goodwill. I understand the concept of sacrifice for the greater good – I walk that walk regularly – but we should not have been put in this fire drill position. Proper advance planning and a balancing of competing considerations would undoubtedly have produced a better result for all involved.
Read Kuller’s full comments here.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery