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Iconic Brooklyn eatery Discriminates Against Jews in Religious Garb: Workers

It’s unortho-docks!

The iconic River Café on the Brooklyn waterfront in DUMBO — famous for its floating-barge dining room that offers sweeping views of lower Manhattan — discriminates against Jews dressed in religious garb by requiring them to pay a minimum of $25 per person to sit at the bar, according to one current and one former employee.

The reservationists — who stand at the entrance to the popular wedding venue and tourist destination — are instructed to use code words to alert the maitre d’ if anyone wearing a yarmulke, “religious hat” or “strings” asks to be seated at the scenic bar, the workers say.

“There are several notes in a book that the reservationists use,” said a current employee at the restaurant, which opened in 1977. The book is kept at the greeting stand. New notes are added periodically by management, and employees are expected to read it before every shift, staffers said.

WRONG FROM WRITE:Two notes provided by an employee of The River Café on the DUMBO waterfront (right) seem to instruct eatery staff to discriminate against religious Jews — over concerns they may not spend enough money — by enforcing upon them a unique minimum-payment policy.

“The book says that if two religious Jews come in, we call ahead to the maitre d’ and say, ‘Is there space for two at the water bar?’ — in which case a minimum of $25 will be enforced that is just for Jews wearing yarmulkes or any sort of religious hat,” a staffer said. “The terminology in the book is ‘special hat’ or ‘religious hat.’ At the bar, the $25 minimum is only enforced for Jews.”

Restaurant officials denied the claim.

“The $25 minimum applies to everyone,” said Teddy Dearie, assistant manager at The River Café. “If it wasn’t applied, that is just someone not doing their job. The phrase ‘water bar’ I’ve never heard before. That phrase, or any deviation from the policy that’s been in place for several years, is not condoned by the restaurant and is indicative of an individual not performing the duties for which they have been hired.”

Images of the reservation book were provided to The Post to back up the employees’ claims.

“If they look as if they will only order water (not that we stereotype or anything) mention the minimum right away,” one note says. “If they ask for the bar and there is room, tell them there is a minimum at the bar as well.”

Another note reads: We “have decided that when people come in for the bar and are A. wearing sweat pants and B. religious top hats and strings, you must say for A. gym bar and for B. water bar. Thanks.”

On Thursday evening, The Post sent a Jewish couple to the bar. The husband, wearing a yarmulke, and the wife, dressed in a simple long skirt, were told the bar was full.

They were told they could sit on the empty terrace and pay a $25-per- person minimum.

Five minutes later, two Post reporters, wearing no religious garb, were seated on the terrace and were not required to pay a minimum. The bill for a coffee and a gin-and-tonic totaled $18.51.

The River Café — a non-kosher eatery famous for its $100 three-course prix-fixe menu featuring lobster, foie gras and rack of lamb — has become a popular date spot with Orthodox Jews, who are required by their religion to choose public places for dates.

Current and former employees said these couples come for the view and non-alcoholic beverages, and are frowned upon because they take up seats and don’t spend enough money.

Source: The NY Post

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Posted by on October 21, 2012. Filed under Jewish News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to Iconic Brooklyn eatery Discriminates Against Jews in Religious Garb: Workers

  1. Chezky

    October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I myself can vouch that it is true, i have been there many times and was either refused a seat or told there is a 25.00 minimum

    Great that they are exposed

  2. Really?

    October 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

    This is a perfect example where a story does not paint the right picture.

    This is a non kosher restaurant that pays a lot of money for its location, it has a magnificent view and because of that every day 7-8 Jewish dates show up there for 2-3 hours, they don’t buy anything because its not kosher and take up space from patrons that want to eat and drink there.

    What are they suppose to do?

    So some chusid got upset because they requested some money of him, called the Post and here it is.

    Its an embarrassment to our community that we don’t understand proper behavior

  3. 770 Fan

    October 21, 2012 at 10:34 am

    The reason they didn’t have a minimum for the non-Jewish date is because they don’t charge a minimum ONLY for people that made it a habit to come there and not buy anything.

    Shamefully and despicable how far some will go to be a schnorer