Welcome back to Off the Menu, where we bring you the best and strangest food stories from my email inbox. This week, we have a new subject -- sordid tales of sex in restaurants. As always, these are real emails from real readers, though names have been changed.

The pizza flasher

"I work at a pizza delivery franchise, and as a night owl I frequently close our store, which doesn't stop delivering until midnight on the weekends. I met my current boyfriend at the store and we used to close a lot together.

"One night, my boyfriend came back from a delivery to tell me the lady answered the door completely naked. My boyfriend is generally a sheepish guy and said he just handed over the pizza while trying to stare past her and look basically anywhere but her body. Hey, at least she tipped and he got a free show! Apparently, she had also done this once before we started dating as well.

"About two weeks after this, my boyfriend and I are closing together on a Friday night. Orders are coming in pretty steadily at an hour 'til close, but we're looking forward to the pizza we're gonna make for our Netflix and chill. There's a loud beeping in the store indicating that we've received a web delivery and my boyfriend goes to check it. I'm sweeping up front, so I notice he looks a little taken aback as he reads off the delivery address.

"I ask him what's up and he tells me that it's the same address and name of the lady who flashed him two weeks earlier. I snort and say maybe he'll get another free show, but he really doesn't want to take it. I offer to take it since, whatever, the lady tips, right? I look up her order and find out she'd ordered almost every other Friday night (which is my boyfriend's normal shift) for the last couple months, but other than the two times she answered the door naked her order had been delivered by a different driver. I know she hadn't been naked for the other drivers because I'd have definitely heard about it -- we trade crazy customer stories as often as cigarettes.

"I've never delivered to this particular set of apartments before, but they are sketchy as hell. There are four buildings facing the road, none of them are numbered, and there are no exterior lights or parking lot lights. My boyfriend had given me enough direction to know which building I was supposed to go in. When I enter the building, I immediately get the creeps because there's a three-story enclosed staircase and NO lights in the building: It's literally almost pitch black. Carrying the pizza and the 2-liter, I stumble my way up all three flights of stairs and finally make it to the apartment and knock, trying really hard to control my breathing to disguise the fact that I am desperately out of shape and completely winded by climbing the stairs.

"I hear movement in the apartment and hear someone on the other side of the door. There's a peephole so I try not to look too disheveled, but then I hear the person walk away from the door. A minute later, she opens the door and greets me. She's not unattractive and probably isn't but a few years older than me, but looks a little wonky behind the eyes. As she goes to hand me the money, I notice she's wearing a bathrobe that isn't even tied -- she's just holding it at the waist. Then it sort of dawns on me all at once: She's been ordering every time and showing up at the door naked only when my boyfriend is there, and is ordering over and over again just to try and get him specifically.

"While counting out the change I make some small talk about how dark it is in the building, and how she should really say something to her building manager about it because it's in a dangerous area and it's also a hazard because people could fall. She replies with nervous laughter, saying something like, 'Yeah, it really sucks,' and I finally hand over the change -- minus the $3 she's told me to keep -- and the pizza. As she's turning to set the pizza and soda on an end table near the couch in her apartment, I laugh a little and say with more bravery than I have in my entire life, 'Oh, you must be the girl who's been ordering over and over so you can flash my boyfriend again! I know he's cute, but don't worry, we're not delivering out here ever again. We blacklisted this entire apartment building!'

"I say it like I'm amused and wink at her. 'It's dangerous out here, y'know!'

"Her mouth is agape and before she can say anything, I race down the stairs and back to my car just in case she has an angry boyfriend who isn't amused at not being able to film his weird amateur porn video.

"When I tell my manager what I did, he bursts into laughter. After explaining that the apartment building was super=sketchy and had no lighting whatsoever anywhere on the grounds, he agrees to blacklist them for delivering at night." -- Amy O'Reilly

Whatever floats your boat

"I once worked at a restaurant in DC. I was working at the bar early on a slow Saturday night when a woman came in by herself. She sat down, asked for a beer, and we chatted for 15 minutes or so. After a little while, a man in his 30s came in and sat at the other end of the bar from the woman. He seemed OK and soon asked me to give her a drink on his tab. I did, and he moved over closer to her. Then the restaurant got busy.

"The next thing I saw was the two of them entwined, and then she started hitting him, saying, 'No, no!' I was the only employee in the place at the time. I ran around looking for help. When I turned around they were gone. Someone said they went to the bathroom. I knew she was in trouble, so I summoned up my courage and really believed that I was going to stop an assault.

"I opened the bathroom door only to see them making out with each other, and they seemed to be very happy. The woman told me that they were married and that this was something that they did to spice up their sex life." -- Catie Stroud

JASON HOFFMAN/Thrillist

Ooh la la, yum yum yum

"Back when smoking was still allowed in some restaurants in Kentucky, I was given the bad smoking section of our decrepit (we failed a health inspection due to faulty equipment) Louisville chain restaurant. Not an ideal start to my Friday night, but at least the tips usually somewhat made up for going home smelling like the usual pre-prepped fried grease AND smoke.

"This Friday night was different for some reason. The place was packed as usual: white-trash customers out for a big night ordering bowls of ranch with a side of greens to go with apps consisting of fried cheese, fried cheese in potatoes, and fried cheese on fried potatoes. Every table in the place was destroyed, everyone was weeded, and the line was out the door. Every table, that is, except those in my section. My eerily quiet yet smoke-filled section topped out at two tables for the night: one unremarkable table, and the table this story focuses on.

"There the three of them sat. The best comparison I can make is they sort of looked like the goth kids from South Park. The girl: moody, plump, self-assured. The guys: frail, sarcastic, and FABULOUS.

"Working in the heart of W Country in 2004, I was always extra-mindful to make it clear I was extending the olive branch to anyone a redneck might not want 'round them here parts. I hated the racism, sexism, homophobia, and general social attitudes that the mostly red state put on display on a daily basis. I was often the target of such scorn, as at the time I was in really good shape, deeply tan, and had long blonde hair. Unusual look for a young man in Ken-tubby at that time. I'm straight, but looking the way I did I got some 'F' (not fuck) words directed at me by customers while I was TAKING THEIR ORDERS.

"The point of this is that the non-hillbilly crowd -- even in a diverse city like Louisville -- seemed few and far between. People that were alt, artsy, etc. were usually kindred spirits. I didn't have much going on in my section and these people camped there FOREVER, so I'd talk with them every 15 minutes or so.

"I knew the night was a bust: It stood to set the record for my worst shift ever. But who knew, maybe the camping goths would be those rare unicorns that paid a decent rent on their three-hour stay!

"When I finally cashed them out, the financial tip was nothing memorable. But then there was the note. This had happened a few times, and while I never followed up on them it was always flattering. Expecting another phone number I'd never use, I opened it.

"'Ooh lah lah,
Yum Yum Yum.
Call us if you
want some fun'

"They left their hotel name, room number, and phone number. This was an invitation to join all three of them.

"Maybe I would have walked with more than $12 that night if I'd called them." -- Mike Matazaro

An intriguing flavor

"Some 15 years ago I was enjoying a late honeymoon with my now ex-husband in his native Australia.

"His parents lived outside Melbourne in a very pleasant suburb, and we were driving around visiting leafy petting zoos and charming antique shops. After a wallaby shook me down for pocket change, we retired to a delightful tearoom with actual lace curtains for refreshment. This was an important event because we were going to have scones with cream. 'Proper cream, not that watery American stuff.'

"We were seated in a room full of dainty little old ladies and antiquing ladies-who-lunch and served warm scones with a ramekin of Australian double cream. It was yellow, like Jersey milk, and fleecy like Devon cream. I took one look at the soft, silken peaks, and picked up the ramekin and licked at the contents.

"'Oh my God, it's like eating pus*y!' I blurted out. My now ex-husband was not amused. But I think my current husband would be." -- Suzanne Forbes

"Sweaty flesh and God knows what else"

"I was managing at a mid-level Western-themed steakhouse in the early 2000s that served decent food but had the most tacky atmosphere you can imagine. Mounted animal heads, lots of Spuds MacKenzie posters, and neon beer lights were the highlights. We also boasted a large party room that could hold up to 50 people and be rented for special occasions. I think we rented it out maybe two times in the three years I worked there.

"This party room essentially became overflow storage for the restaurant -- or a place for servers to sneak cigs/bowls and the occasional pants shenanigans spot for the staff. It had a wooden door with a window and blinds, so it was a sure sign to any manager on duty that if the blinds were closed and the door was shut, then shenanigans were happening. Most importantly, this room did not have a lock on it.

"As most restaurant managers do, I drank heavily during my shifts. When I closed the restaurant, I would simply stay there and drink alone (high-fives!), but when I was the early out I would take off and head to the bars down the street to meet friends. To get to my apartment from the bars I would have to drive back the other direction, actually passing the restaurant on my way home. On this night, I had left at around 8 and left the other manager -- a nice guy in his mid-30s -- to close the restaurant. We closed at 10, and if you had your shit together and the place was empty you could be out the door by 10:15. I left the bars around 11 and headed home.

"As I approached the restaurant on my way home, I saw that the bar lights were left on -- not a huge deal, it happened sometimes. But as I looked closer, I noticed a whole bunch of cars parked behind the restaurant… where you'd think they would not be seen. I became concerned that one of our managers was treating his friends to an open bar after hours, which is super-douchey but had happened several times during my time there. I felt I needed to check it out.

"I walked in the kitchen door and it was pretty silent, but I could hear muffled music coming from somewhere. I peeked around the kitchen and there was no sign of anyone, but it smelled as if food had been prepared recently. I made my way out to the dining area, and while there was no one there, there was a strand of tables pushed together and the remnants of some type of appetizer buffet. I stared directly at the door of the party room and actually thought for a second whether I wanted to open it or just turn around and hope I passed out and forgot about the whole affair.

"No such luck: The nice manager who was closing that night came out of the door… wearing nothing but a party mask and a condom.

"Remarkably, he didn't see me and headed off to the bathroom (not wearing shoes, and that's fucking gross, even after what I was about to see). I opened the party room door just enough to peek in and there it was: about 30 people of all colors and sizes, male and female, just banging each other. They had lined the floor with air mattresses and sheets, and there were chairs and tables for different positions, all of which were being fully utilized. It was sensory overload. The room smelled like a nightmare, just sweaty flesh and God knows what else. At one point a woman -- who I soon realized was my manager's wife – realized I was there. At that exact moment the manager tapped me on the shoulder as a hush came over the room.

"I don't think I even said anything -- it was beyond words. My fellow manager begged and pleaded for me not to tell the GM or throw it up to corporate, and made all sorts of thin promises that a person makes when he is desperate not to get in trouble. I thought about it for a moment and figured that as long as he cleaned up the mess and made sure the inventory numbers weren't all fucked up I could keep his little secret. He thanked me profusely, then went back in the room and told his friends the good news, which was met with a cheer.  

"The next day everything was spotless and there was no trace of what had happened. I looked on the daily sheet and it read 'District Managers Meeting, 11:30-3:00 PM, Party Room.'" -- Craig Devers

Do you have a restaurant, home-cooking, or any other food-adjacent story you’d like to see appear in Off the Menu (on ANY subject, not just this one)? Please email WilyUbertrout@gmail.com with "Off the Menu" in the subject line (or you can find me on Twitter @EyePatchGuy). Submissions are always welcome! Also, we are now requesting submissions for holiday-themed stories, so if you have any stories pertaining to Thanksgiving and Christmas, please send them in!

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C.A. Pinkham is a guy who makes inappropriate jokes about Toblerones on the internet. Follow him on Twitter @EyePatchGuy.

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