What would the “Roberto Donna Hall of Fame” look like? Would there be golden plates with “Italian Stallion…Romancing Diners and Wetting Palates” inscripted on them? Perhaps there would be pots and pans hanging from the ceiling in tribute to the infamous “Iron Chef”. The walls most certainly would not be without a heavy handful of salt dashed here and there – “to bring out the natural flavor.” And what would the Hall of Fame be with out the lingering scent of Donna’s nightly tradition – a Monte Cristo #1.
Most would agree that such an amazingly talented Chef of his stature is deserving of such recognition. After all he set the tone over 20 years ago for fine Italian cuisine in Washington, D.C, achieving grand success early on in his career, with an upwards of 10-12 restaurants at one time. Guests who have dined in any of his restaurants often sing praises of the quality ingredients and combination of flavors he uses to make an ordinary dish one whose taste still lingers. And those that have worked for Donna over the past several decades have stood by the Chef’s natural born talent making music in the kitchen.
However there are those that would question Donna’s induction into the “Hall of Fame”. The undeniable service issues that his restaurants have afforded guests has plagued Donna to this day. Some have described it as “Italian chaos”; others dismissed it as “part of the character” of an Italian restaurant. Any guest who dines out frequently though is left with an unmistakable understanding of what has been taking place – 20 years of history unraveling like overcooked pasta – slowly and painfully.
For Donna employees, the experience has been even more disheartening. The countless days, nights, weeks, months and years of indentured servant-hood, manipulation, and loyalty for fear of retribution has had many servers, bussers, line cooks, dishwashers and bartenders paying homage to Donna, with no escape for anyone who is imprisoned by his regime. Donna’s empire has gained fame and fortune at the expense of his employee’s welfare and ability to put food on the table, pay bills and provide for their families. The self-sacrificing individuals who have worked to serve Donna’s guests every meal savored and every glass of wine toasted deserve what they worked for – their paychecks.
The courts recently decided in favor of Donna’s employees, but he can’t pay his debt. Donna’s next restaurant may have limited “visiting” hours, with a long corridor, high ceilings and an array of bars; where numbers are given instead of stars and pots and pans not allowed; where Donna the Chef will be serving “lifetime guests” anything but fresh pasta. Unless he can pay back those he stole from.
Help Roberto Donna by helping his employees receive what they earned – a paycheck. Help keep Roberto employed by dining at Al Dente in Washington, DC. Every dollar you spend helps pay his paycheck and makes it possible for his former employees to garnish his wages. You can also help Roberto by contributing to his “Bailout” fund.
All contributions made on Roberto’s behalf will be dispersed to former employees by their legal counsel and according to what each is owed. When Roberto’s employees have been paid, your contribution will help cover their attorney’s fees and court costs associated with his “Bailout”. Remaining funds will be used to hire Roberto to work for his employees at their new restaurant – Salvato by Roberto Donna (Bailed Out in English).