April 30, 1982: Journal reviewer wears out welcome at restaurant with critique
Basile’s Restaurant pulled the welcome mat on the Journal’s food editor and restaurant reviewer after she gave it a less than stellar review.
“Judy Schultz of the Journal is not welcome at Basile’s,” read a sign at the entrance to the restaurant in the Continental Bank Building, 10250 101st St.
Cliff Gregory, Basile’s general manager, said the restaurant’s owners objected to a review that had run in the Journal three weeks earlier.
“It was a reasonably good critique, but there are some items in the article we don’t agree with.”
The last paragraph of the review, which began: “Meanwhile, across the street at the Four Seasons …” reflected badly on Basile’s because it mentioned a nearby competitor, he said.
Gregory also took exception to the statement: “If money is no object, you can have a reasonably pleasant evening …” The restaurant provided entertainment but had no cover charge. When that was considered, the restaurant provided good value, he said.
He also claimed a remark attributed to a Basile’s staff member was never made. When a lukewarm clam chowder sent back for reheating came back only marginally warmer, Schultz said the waiter quipped: “Next time I’ll stick my finger in it to be sure it’s hot enough.”
Schultz said she was reluctant to respond to the objections but stood by what she wrote, giving Basile’s no stars, which meant she thought it was average or below.
“When I do a review, I do it as objectively as possible and I always have a witness with me.
“I think we would all like to review our own work. It is very difficult for any restaurant owner to be truly objective about his own place.
“Business must be good if Basile’s can afford to turn away customers,” she added.
By April 1985, the restaurant, into which the owners had sunk $1.2 million, was behind $70,000 in rent, owed the city $75,000 in taxes, and the Toronto-Dominion Bank $250,000. A bankruptcy trustee was trying to find a buyer for the business.
Schultz, meanwhile, went on to write about food for the Edmonton Journal for 25 more years, submitting her last column in December 2007. Retired from the paper, she continues to write as a freelancer, dividing her time between Alberta and New Zealand. firstname.lastname@example.org