Sunday Fact Fest, Episode 04: Robin’s right. Some Louisville (and SoIN) restaurants are not taking the COVID-19 pandemic as seriously as they should.”

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The link:

Robin Garr’s Taj Palace review at LEO: Great food and pandemic precautions, by me at Food & Dining Magazine.

My Saturday morning post at Food & Dining Magazine came about because Robin Garr did something that writers should strive always to do. His words at LEO Weekly stood me up, slapped me down, and said to me what needed to be said.

Restaurant and bar owners who aren’t tasking the pandemic seriously are helping to put others at risk.

The majority of media mavens covering the restaurant and bar industry aren’t holding them accountable, including me. Maybe it’s time for this to change; I’m not sure it even matters given the culture of abject denial hereabouts, but what I know is that denial can only make it worse. What I can do about it as just one person isn’t yet clear to me. In the meantime, it makes me even more grateful to work for people who GET IT.

My words:

 … Billy Joel was right; honesty is such a lonely word, inside or outside “the business.” Speaking as one who owned a restaurant and brewery for 25 years, your peers function as a professional family. We stay together, and we take care of our own. There are times when some of one’s brothers and sisters err, and the understandable instinct is to keep it in the family. I’ve done so in the past, and on some occasions, I’ve come to regret it. Telling the truth might have forestalled subsequent, larger problems for everyone.

Little white lies, fudging, averting the gaze, looking the other way? They’re incompatible with the duties of journalists, analysts and reviewers, for whom credibility is dependent on being truthful. It doesn’t mean click bait, cultivating confrontation or trolling, although there might be occasional heated discussions with the folks who sell advertising.

That’s where experience comes to the fore; been there, seen that, able to synthesize information, and capable of saying what needs to be said – factually, sans hyperbole. It’s neither calling out, nor cancel culture. It’s very much about rewarding the positive performers, not the negative deniers.

I’ll shut up now. Kudos to Taj Palace, a restaurant I’ve yet to patronize but intend to visit soon for carryout, now that Robin has explained to me exactly what I need to know: “Taj Palace takes tasty Indian fare and pandemic safety seriously.”

Robin’s words:

There’s no way to put this but bluntly: I don’t think some Louisville restaurants are taking the COVID-19 pandemic as seriously as they should. Why the worry?

You probably saw the news item about 11 Louisville businesses that got inspection blasts from Metro Public Health & Wellness over the Fourth of July weekend for failing to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

This matters: When I’m deciding where to dine during this pandemic, I want to have confidence that the restaurant’s management doesn’t slack off on health and safety.

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