Most restaurants say the customer's always right, but there are also those that say the customer is stupid and fat and ugly and should leave immediately. The phenomenon is so rare that these places develop cult followings of masochists who are not unlike the culinary equivalent of abused-but-still-loyal puppies who can't help but nuzzle against the legs of their despicably violent owners. Here're five such restaurants that wear their rudeness on their sleeves.
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Wiener's Circle (Chicago) What's their deal? Late-night char-grilled Vienna beef hot dogs served with a side of verbal abuse. How exactly they're mean: The staff doesn't ask you what you'd like to order -- they yell, "What the f**k do you want, bitch?!" And although customers send the insults right back, if you take your comeback too far, you're likely to receive a hot dog to the face. Redeeming factor: If you ask for a "chocolate shake" and tip $20, you might see some boobs. Or another hot dog to the face.
Shopsin's (NYC) What's their deal? An Essex St diner which boasts a 900-item menu of dishes like Slutty Cakes and Blisters on My Sisters, Shopsin's operates on an unwritten set of rules, including no parties larger than four, to the dismay of Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt. How exactly they're mean: Even if you're deemed worthy of service, expect a high level of belligerence. But heaven help you if you take too long to order (you're out!), if they don't like the look of you (you're out!), or if you order something from the vegan portion of the menu (they'll label the order with an offensive note questioning your sexual orientation). Redeeming factor: Mac and cheese pancakes
Dick's Last Resort (Various locations, unfortunately) What's their deal? A national chain serving Southwestern-y comfort food, whose decor is plastered with flair that looks like it was stolen from a TGI Fridays located in a trailer park. How exactly they're mean: They throw paper and spitballs, put rubber bands in your food, and make you wear hats that say "I have herpes". Redeeming factor: You can buy a "Relax ladies, I'm hilarious" tee-shirt.
Ed Debevic's (Chicago) What's their deal? A decidedly retro diner whose glory days of enthusiastically condescending waiters are gone. How exactly they're mean: In their heyday, Ed's boasted a cast of slapstick character actors, but these days the schtick extends from throwing straws at your face to genuine meanness, like not opening their handicapped entrance for disabled customers. Redeeming factor: Yearly charity festival to benefit the Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Anti-Cruelty Society, which they would certainly not be accepted into.
Wong Kei (London) What's their deal? A 500-seat Chinese palace whose cheap food and free tea can't make up for their genuine disdain for the customers. How exactly they're mean: They'll throw the menu at you, throw the bill at you, talk rudely about you in Cantonese, and scream at you if you don't pay immediately after finishing your dish. Redeeming factor: Leaving a tip isn't expected and will in fact embarrass the staff.