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Sympathy For The Restaurant Industry

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Bubby's in the Hands of Mystery Blogger Gwen Butler

Gwen Butler, the anonymous blogger we unmasked as the creator of Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry, never officially confirmed that she was the Boston bartender who got $2.75 million from a random patron to open (unsuccessfully, it turned out) her own restaurant. And she would never tell us exactly what she was doing in New York, either. (It was obviously something, since she stopped updating the blog back in September.) But now we know she’s the director of operations for Ron Silver’s restaurant group, including Bubby’s, recently reopened after a DOH closure. Will Butler be able to turn the place around and fight off all those roaches? It’s a cliffhanger worthy of an Internet roman à clef! Related: Is Our Mystery Roman à Clef Writer the $2.45 Million Boston Bartender? Bubby’s DOH Report: Closed Thanks to Biblical Swarm of Roaches

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Bourdain Gets Skewered in the Latest Roman à Chef

PBJ
Another day, another pissed-off restaurant worker writing an Internet roman à clef. This one, penned with panache by a one Peanut Butter Jesus, isn’t quite as delicious as Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry, maybe because it’s not quite as obvious who the players are. At least one person’s identity is unmistakable:
People he played that game with now fly around the world and tell TV Chefs their broccolini blows. They have three assistants you have to get through just to say “fuck you, meet me at Siberia in twenty minutes”. That game is gone, now filled with cookbooks and TV spots on Today, filled with front of house managers sitting on their ass in their offices during service.
Alright, so that takes care of the man with no reservations. But who are the other characters and venues based on? Here's what we're dealing with:

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Is Our Mystery Roman à Clef Writer the $2.45 Million Boston Bartender?

After we brought to your attention the dishy fictionalization of Sam Mason, Keith McNally, Graydon Carter, et al that we’ve grown totally obsessed over, Fishbowl New York picked up on the story and got Abbe Diaz to deny that she was the author, as we initially considered. So who is the author? We’re now almost certain it’s Gwen Butler. You may or may not remember her as the Boston bartender who tried (and failed) to open a restaurant using the $2.45 million that one of her customers gave her on a whim, then started a blog called the Full Comp only to shut it down after posting an item described by the Boston Herald as “an XXX-rated diatribe” against her ex-boss, Garrett Harker of Beantown’s Eastern Standard Kitchen.

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Chef Roman à Clef: “I'm Not Abbe”

Keith and Jody
Yesterday we speculated that Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry — a new site that is fictionalizing restaurant-industry players — was the work of PXThis blogger Abbe Diaz. The pillorying of Sam Mason, Keith McNally, et al sounded pretty much like e-mails from Abbe. But the author insists to us: “No, I’m not Abbe. She's the original, the godmother of restaurant blogs and general awesomeness. I'm not worthy.” Hmm — suspiciously high praise.

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Chef Roman à Clef Continues; Keith McNally Pilloried

Keith McNally
Yesterday we treated you to the first chapter of a story seemingly based on Sam Mason and his trials and travails with Tailor. We can now confirm, after contacting the author — who is remaining anonymous (even to us!) because he or she is “notorious within the industry” — that the story is based on Mason and Johnny Iuzzini as well as other players. “Yes, I plan on continuing,” assures the well-connected scribe, “and yes, I have inside info. I’ve been getting a lot of mail, but I would never run anything that I hadn’t triple-checked to be true.”

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What to Read While You Wait for Tailor to Open — Sam Mason: The Novel

Sam Mason
If you miss following Sam Mason’s quixotic adventures now that the Launch is kaput, fear not — an anonymous blog Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry is offering “meta-fictional restaurant drama set in present day New York City, served in a convenient serial” and the first story details, in rather purple prose, the agonies of Sean Kasen (sounds kind of like Sam Mason if you mumble it, no?), a young, media-plagued chef opening his first restaurant who is up against “the punishment that comes when you attempt to create something perfect but fail” and also the fact that “being handsome and very talented when you are a chef is a burden.” Oh, the humanity!

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