Well, it's finally happened: I seem to have been banned from a restaurant. Liberty Kitchen, the new oyster-bar-and-local-beer joint that opened this week on Studewood in the Heights, has my name emblazoned on its door, captured inside a red circle with a slash through it.
I guess that means I'm not welcome.
Here's the backstory. Last year I gave an unfavorable review to BRC Gastropub, another restaurant owned and operated by chef Lance Fegen and managing partner Shepard Ross[CORRECTION: Ross is not affiliated with Liberty Kitchen], who made such a success of the Glass Wall.
Fegen complained mightily about my review in at least one online forum, alluding darkly to "all this trouble" he had had with me in the past. By which he apparently meant a brief and relatively mild mention of the Glass Wall in this blog post.
Fegen and Ross are talented guys, and I've said so more than once. I wrote a positive review of the Glass Wall and gave Fegen major props when he was at the late downtown Zula, where he first began making a name for himself locally.
When Glass Wall opened, I posted an admiring first look on my blog. Even at BRC, I found something to love and spotlight, writing a Burger Friday post praising the burger and the fine selection of craft brews on tap.
So I'm a little nonplussed that Fegen seems to think I have it in for him. I liked what I read about the concept of Liberty Kitchen (there are never enough oyster bars for me), and I was intrigued by the unusual beer program, which will offer craft brews solely from local Karbach Brewing, some of them made specifically for the restaurant.
Oh, well. Criticism can be hard to stomach, as I know only too well from reading my blog comments week in and week out.
I've got to admit I'm amused to see my name on a restaurant door with a red slash through it. I mean, I was once hung in effigy at a restaurant banquet, and I felt strangely honored.
And if the whole thing is just a sly publicity stunt to draw some attention to a new venture, I tip my hat.