Phantom Gourmet: Jackasses 3

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 03/14/2011

This post is long overdue.

On Friday, 2/25 I published a blog post including an open letter to Mike and Dan Andelman, co-owners of Phantom Gourmet, Inc., calling for a public apology for the inappropriate, sexist and deplorable comments they made on their radio show on 2/12.

For those of you who are unaware of the comments, Mike Andelman disparaged a restaurant hostess, calling her dumb, moronic and a monkey after she denied his request to be seated before the dining room opened. Mike also denigrated hostesses as incompetents who can’t do anything else in life. (The audio clip from the program can be found here.)

Dan Andelman asked Mike how the hostess looked from the back, and made other inappropriate sexist comments.

On Saturday, 2/26 Mike and Dan addressed the fallout from their comments on the radio. The program on the 26thalso marked the return of Dave Andelman who was vacationing during Mike’s encounter at the restaurant and his offensive rant on the radio. The Andelman brothers had a great opportunity to show some real class, but instead, made a mockery of the entire incident.

Some highlights and lowlights from the radio program of 2/26/11:

Dan: This is the biggest controversy that has happened in this company in a long time.

Dave goes away for 2 weeks and during that time, a, happens to be the only 2 weeks in history that a, there was a, a, a, well there was a huge controversy regarding Phantom Gourmet, this particular radio show.

Mike: There wasn’t a controversy! Danny, there was an article written about me in Names and Faces, now that is the Boston Globe’s Inside Track.

Dan: You said some remarks that were reported in the Globe.

Mike: This was not on the I-Team, ok. Joe Bergantino is not knocking on my door.

[Joe Bergantino left the I-Team in 2008…]

Dan: The Globe has never talked about us ever in 4 years. A, Dave goes away for 1 week, a, where, you know, the boss is away so Michael decides to play and Mike goes on a little bit of a rant, it catches fire, it catches the attention of Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein of the Globe and they write it up. Now Dave, you still have not heard the clip?

Dave: I have not heard the audio source…

Mike: You have not read the Pelican Brief? That’s what they’re calling it out there in the foodie community.

Dave: [Before listening to the audio.] Let me just preface this by saying I am seriously surprised that anything we would say on this show would be worthy of news in the Boston Globe. Honestly, who cares?

Dan starts to read the Globe article.

Mike: Facetious is not in quotes. I don’t even know what that means… I called David and I said, listen, give me a good word that means like jackass, always kidding around. He goes, satirical, and I’m like crap, I can’t use that in a sentence…

Dan prepares to play audio of 2/12 radio show.

Mike: Before we go to the tape Danny, can I just say 1 more thing? The reason this came out in the Globe is because Grill 23, which has to be one of the highest-grossing restaurants in the country…

Dan: Great place. Big business.

Dave: Prints money.

Mike:they [Grill 23] decided to issue a statement against what I said on this radio show, even though they didn’t hear it. They had seen a transcript of it.

[That statement is patently false. Grill 23 management did hear the audio of the 2/12 segment that was posted on the 96.9 website, then later taken down after my blog post.] 

Dave: Our family probably has collectively spent, I don’t know, 10k there over the course of the years. We’ve covered it on the show 100 times saying it’s a great place to go.

Dan: It is a great place.

Dave: Now I am a fan of Grill 23 and I think it is, honest to God, I think it is funny that they issued a statement like it was a politician that was doing crazy bad things. [To this point, Dave has still not heard the tape.]

Mike: (Reading statement from Boston Globe made by Grill 23 owners.) “Himmel Hospitality is shocked and saddened at the personal attack that has been made on an employee in such a public manner.”

I disagree with that [with what, Mike?], and respectfully, since they couldn’t figure out which employee it was. I was going to apologize, but they don’t know who it is.

Dan plays a portion of the clip of the 2/12 show when he asked how the hostess looked from behind.

(Tape is paused)

Dan: I apologize for my rude, insensitive comment about her back. [To Dan’s credit, he did sound sincere.]

Audio continues:

Mike: Danny, the fact that you consistently take the side of the restaurateur or just a really stupid maître d’  or a hostess over your family time and time again…

If the owner of Grill 23 was standing next to this dumb hostess, this moronic hostess who was just getting her, uh, jollies off by sticking to the rules of her little brochure in a little binder…This little monkey, her only job is to look at this binder and say don’t let people in ‘til 5:30.

Dan (to Dave, CEO and spokesperson): Do you think this was so controversial that it should have been in the Boston Globe? Are you offended by what Mike had to say?

Dave: [No acknowledgement of Mike’s ‘dumb’, ‘moron’ and ‘monkey’ comments.] I don’t even think it’s interesting enough for us to be replaying it on our own show. [3 brothers laughing hysterically] I’m waiting for the bomb to drop. That was it? That’s what you had to bother me for in Aruba and all week?

Therein lies the problem. By virtue of ignoring the offensive comments, and supporting his brothers, Dave now joins Mike and Dan in thinking it’s ok to make and defend disingenuous, odious remarks. So much for older and wiser…

Dan: Michael, now that we’ve heard it, do you have something to say to New England? 

Michael: I do. Number one, um, I, if I do find out who the hostess is at Grill 23, and the Boston Globe says they’re not sure who it is, ok, I’ve talked with my wife, um, I want to ask the hostess on a date. I have a hall pass if she would like to go out with me. I will take her out for dinner, for dancing…

I don’t know Danny, you are always the ombudsman of this program. Dad said something about winos, you talked about her [hostess] wearing yoga pants and I called her a moronic hostess. You tell me Danny, you’ve got the final word.

Dan: Frankly, not even in the top hundred offensive or amusing segments we’ve ever done.

Now that’s frightening. I wonder who else they have offended.

Dave: No, there’s nothing even remotely interesting about it.

Dave: They [The Globe] do sort of try to claim there’s a massive online controversy. That’s just not factually accurate. There’s like 4 guys talking to each other online, I mean that’s ridiculous.

Talk about clueless.

Dave-Click here and read all the links imbedded in the post. Tens of thousands of people have read and talked about the inappropriate, derogatory and misogynist comments made by Mike and Dan, and now they’ll be talking about your defending them.

Mike: I do apologize when I said all hostesses are moronic and stupid, and I do 100% apologize. I’m not including the average-looking ones who do a very good job. [Dan laughs hysterically.] I am only talking about the hot ones who have no idea…

Nice job making a mockery of an opportunity to do the right thing. Suffering through another 3 hours of Andelman antics on the radio confirmed how ignorant and crass they really are.

Here is Mike’s original quote from 2/12 that he was referencing:

There’s not a hostess who’s not good looking because they’re incompetent and can’t do anything else in life. If you can’t model, when you’re good looking enough and not tall enough to model, you stand behind a little box and say, “How many?”

One hour into the 2/26 program I received the following email from Heidi Raphael, VP Corporate Communications of Greater Media, Inc., the parent company of WTKK-FM where Phantom Gourmet airs. Despite its brevity, the message says it all.

“Greater Media has a great deal of respect for service industry workers and does not endorse or support the recent statements made by the Andelmans during their paid programming show on WTKK. We do not speak for them, nor do they speak for us.”

None of the hundreds of current and former restaurant industry workers who contacted me over the last few weeks is buying Mike’s childish, I was just kidding, I’m just a jackass defense. Everyone remotely involved with the restaurant community, with any credibility, understands exactly what the Andelmans are all about. Introspection and decency are lost on them. Their long-standing reputation for crassness and classless behavior has been bolstered by this incident.

17 Responses to “Phantom Gourmet: Jackasses 3”

  1. ABdub says:

    I feel strongly that the haughty attitude of these guys is way too common in Boston, and leads to many more “isms” which are only imaginary walls put up to keep the control at the top, and stifle the free flow of ideas. Down with ignorance! I’d much rather see people in positions of power engage positively with the world they are surrounded by.

  2. Edward says:

    These self-aggrandizing windbags are far too comfortable with themselves and their idea that their opinions are the only ones that matter. Personally, I find that it defies logic that these buffoons have made such a success out of trading adverts for “reviews”… I hope they all go on a nice long vacation.

  3. Dee says:

    Having watched Phantom Gourmet for many years, I have often wondered about what happened to the relationship between the original host, Billy Costa, and the Andelmans. I imagined that Billy Costa created a rift by developing his own show, but now I think it was more complex. I had a connection friendship to the man who replaced Billy, Robie (not spelled right), who I thought did a good job, but left after a short time. Such shake ups made me wonder about the inner workings, but I have to say that I enjoyed the show much more when Dan Andelman took the helm. He’s goofy, but sweet in disposition. I’m not crazy about Dave, who seems a little smarmy, but I think their fatal flaw was introducing Michael, who was undisciplined and unprepared for his role. Just because you have the floor or forum, it doesn’t mean you have the right to spout crap. Save it for your private moments, and in public (since you have the mic) be more thoughtful about the people who work hard in this industry.

  4. Billy Conran says:

    Hi Patrick, Amber and I are both disgusted with these assclowns. They should be off the air. All 3 were born with silver spoons in their mouths ( pardon the pun ). We would love to have you on the show in the near future to discuss this. Take care, Billy and Amber

  5. I really love this blog and the way it doesn’t glaze over the self-entitled behavior of people like the Phantom “Gourmet” (if frozen pizza and pop tarts = good food) folks. How on earth do they have a show?

  6. ‘None of the hundreds of current and former restaurant industry workers who contacted me over the last few weeks is buying Mike’s childish, I was just kidding, I’m just a jackass defense.’

    No, man. I can TOTALLY buy that this guy is a jackass.

    Honestly I didn’t expect much more from these guys. I’d say all in all you can count this one in the win column.

    ‘There’s like 4 guys talking to each other online’

    Hey does this mean I’m one of those four guys? BTW not one of the people I emailed sent me anything back. Oh well. I’ve got other stuff to do with my time. Let me know when the shit starts getting deep in Boston again.

    Dignity and Respect
    Me, The JerBear

  7. Mike Q says:

    Patrick, maybe it’s time for you to have your own show. Restaurant reviews AND insider stuff from the business, like you do so exceptionally well here.

  8. beaneater says:

    Remember when we were kids and we did something wrong, and someone called us out? We got defensive…

  9. Laurie Kerton says:

    So let me get this straight, Micheal instead of apologizing to this girl would like to take her out for a date? Im sure whoever this girl is would take a pass. And so now hot hostesses are clueless and the average looking ones can do a good job? Is he the pageant judge of hostesses and decides who is hot and who is average? What a douche. His arrogance is amazing. He definitely doesn’t think he did anything wrong. And Dave wonders why anyone would care about anything they have to say on the show? Isn’t that how they all make their living, by people caring about their opinions? Well since they have spent over $10,000 at Grill 23, they should be able to act anyway they want what a bunch of spoiled brats.

  10. Brett says:

    I can say without a shadow of a doubt that unless the Andelman brothers last dined there before 2003, then their 10k spending claim at Grill 23 is a lie, not that anyone will give that b.s line any credence anyway.

    Now, as far as these fools just plowing ahead, looking at their own foolish behaviour (at restaurants and on the air) without a single ounce of regret, one can only hope that the email you recieved from Greater Media is the first step in the much needed removal of the Phantom Gourmet hosts from Boston radio.

    Patrick, many thanks for following this story and not letting go. Too many (myself included!) would have looked at this and said “I did my part” and let it go at expressing some outrage. The way you have stayed with this and the way you have stuck up for the many nameless, faceless, hardworking restaurant workers in Boston and beyond means so much more than I can express in this comment section. Thank you.

  11. cara says:

    The Andlemans are just another example of the people that walk into restaurants these days and think they know everything about everything because they saw a show about it on the Food Network. The Andlemans should stick to reveiwing pizza joints and leave restaurant operations to the rest of us.

  12. Watching this play out is like watching a train wreck; hideous, but one can’t quite bring oneself to look away. The Andelman’s have no respect for anything and anyone but rather choose to be entertained by their own undeveloped “towel snapping in the locker room” mentalities. Everything they do and say reeks of pre-developmental adolescence, right down to their shoe scuffing “I was just kidding” defense.

    These overpaid oafs are shills for those who grease them and nothing more. By continuing to mock the very systems that help to run the restaurants they review they are cluelessly tearing away at the hand that feeds them. And I believe it is time for the feeding to stop! If you were to begin a petition to call for their removal I would be honored to be among the first to sign it.

    We need to call upon Ms. Raphael and the others with any sense at WTTK to hasten the ouster of these unrepentant idiots as a gesture of good faith to food service workers everywhere. There are many, many people in our industry who could make that time slot so much more useful and informative while still guiding Boston listeners to deserving (as well as guiding them away from undeserving) restaurants.

  13. Zeke says:

    Keep up the great job you do as an advocate for the hard working class people of our society. In any other work environment the Andelman Brothers would have been fired under Sexual Harassment policies that I believe all businesses are required by law to have in place & to enforce. The Andelmans & the corporate “BIGOTS” of the phantom gourmet are a disgrace to our society and are a prime example of why racism & sexual harassment continues to be a major problem today.

  14. MC Slim JB says:

    Dee, I believe the story on Billy Costa was that he and the Andelmans could not come to terms on a contract renewal. He did not start his competing TV Diner show on NECN until after he had left the Phantom Gourmet.

    Judging from the Greater Media release, it appears that the Andelmans pay for the airtime to run their radio show. It’s effectively an infomercial that would cost the station revenue to cancel. The show’s time slot is a radio dead zone (early Saturday evening), possibly tough for the station to find replacement paid-for programming. So they’ve opted to do PR damage control (“Hey, they don’t speak for us”) rather than kiss the Andelmans’ money goodbye.

    That the Andelmans would dig in their heels rather than apologize does not surprise me. What does amaze me is that these money-grubbing parasites do not grasp the folly of pissing on the industry from which they derive their living.

  15. Mike L. says:

    I understand the outcry over Mike & Dan’s comments and feel they should apologize for their comments. However, it is my opinion and always has been that the Phantom Gourmet radio show has always been a sarcastic comedy show and not a food show. If you listen to them on any given Saturday they insult each in a very personal way, laughing at themselves. When they go at each other I find it very funny. Having said that when they go after people who cannot respond or are ambushed they can go too far. Just one mans opinion. I will still listen, laugh and use other resources for my dinning pleasure.

  16. Katie Loeb says:

    These idiots are no better than the passive-aggressive idiots that leave horrible feedback on websites like Chowhound or Yelp while nodding and smiling that everything is fine during their meal. The anonymity of the internet/radio allows them to be assholes with no repercussions. But these self-important brats get paid for it. And don’t even have the common sense to realize their pissing in their own pool. They should be fired for sheer stupidity…

  17. Mike Q says:

    Two of my favorite blogs — Hyperbole and a Half, and this one — haven’t posted in a while now. Both are prime canidates for a book deal . . . I hope that’s the reason for keeping all of us waiting,that the publishing industry has finally woken up and offered them a contract. Patrick, I still think you should keep your eyes open for a radio talk show or even a restaurant review/insider TV spot.

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