For a guy who doesn't like drama, Bryan Dayton, a nationally-recognized bartender, sure knows how to set the stage. On graduation weekend last month the Oak at Fourteenth co-owner found himself facing a restaurant with lots of empty seats -- even though the place had been booked solid. And Oak had decided to open early for dinner, at 4 p.m. instead of the normal 5:30 p.m., to accommodate all the families feting their newly-minted University of Colorado grads. But fourteen people didn't show up for their dinner reservations, and that was after two big parties -- one of nine people, another of ten -- hadn't shown up for lunch.
So Dayton did what more and more restaurateurs are doing these days: He tweeted out the names of the dinner offenders.
To him, it was a way of getting out his frustration, akin to "kicking the trash can," he explains, and he quickly came to regret that impulsive move as comments piled in. Many were sympathetic to his plight -- he had, after all, opened the restaurant early, ordered extra food and paid his staff overtime.
But some disagreed. and hours later the normally affable Dayton pulled the tweet.
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Fair warning: You don't want to skip out on a reservation at Oak at Fourteenth. Not because Dayton might bust you -- but because the food at the restaurant, which I review this week, is just too good.