Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New wine bar for 14th and Florida promises small plates, short fuse

So the Mrs. and I just returned from a lovely weekend up in NYC, filled with sunshine, lots of walking and some great food. I don't know that the NY aesthetic necessarily appeals as a place of residence, but I do love visiting there.

And speaking of food, while we were away word got out about a new wine bar/restaurant opening up in the Solea condo building at 14th and Florida. (Thus filling our neighborhood's gaping hole in the wine bar department...j/k.) Du Vin Osteria seems to be your prototypical wine bar, serving a selection of cheeses, small plates, charcuterie and other goodies. I'm sure it will be good. And while the business model might seem a tad bit redundant, were always happy to see new businesses opening up along the corridor.

However, it seems that Du Vin's owner, Mr. David Shott, wasn't too happy about a comment made about his establishment on ustreetgirl's blog:

Tonight, I removed a comment on my post “Du Vin Osteria coming to 14th and Florida” because the owner of Du Vin Osteria, David Shott, sent me an email requesting me to do so, because he found the comment libelous. He also stated he would take legal action if necessary.

It is with regret that I write this post and removed the comment. I wish Mr. Shott had come to me in a more friendly manner and had not immediately written the words “legal action” to a young professional who blogs on her spare time. I was trying to promote Mr. Shott’s business. I posted the comment because it seemed to raise relevant concerns about Mr. Shott.


Now, to be sure the blogging community has a duty to act responsibly with regards to the posting of potentially libelous/slanderous information, and that includes the comments that are posted on our blogs. But the tactics employed by Mr. Shott are...questionable, at best. Threatening legal action? How very "DC" of him. What about saying, "Hey, there is a comment on your post that isn't accurate. I'd really appreciate it if you would take the comment down. In the meantime, I'd love to meet with you to tell you more about what we're planning at the restaurant and to share some photos with you."

It's called dialog, and it can go a long way towards building solid, positive relationships with those in your community--bloggers, residents, etc.--who can help your business. Instead, what he has created is a lot of negative publicity for his establishment. (As you'll note, we aren't the only ones to pick up on this.) Let's hope that Mr. Shott's skills at restaurant management are better than his media relations skills.

24 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Could not agree more with you. There are ways to do things and obviously Mr. Shott's was the wrong way.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

That's really jerk behavior. As a consumer I can vote with my wallet and I guess I'll keep my wine bar visits limited to Room 11 and Vinotecca.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers want to have their cake and eat it too.

The typical blogger wants to be able to write about/speculate upon what are basically unconfirmed rumors.

But when someone then calls them out for writing something that is inaccurate, bloggers get all upset and act like their blog--their serious journalistic endeavor--is not being taken seriously.

In order to be taken seriously you have to play the part. Maybe "ustreetgirl" should have contacted the owner of the restaurant to ask him for comment BEFORE posting, so that she could keep an eye on her story and on the resulting comments. That is what a professional journalist would have done.

Sure, the owner probably didn't have to threaten legal action against the blogger. However, you have to remember, bloggers, that a restaurant owner has serious skin in the game and is risking real money, whereas the part-time blogger who posts gossipy, breathless stories about new businesses without so much as doing some very basic due diligence, does not.

EdTheRed said...

Um, Anonymous? The issue was with a commenter, not with ustreetgirl's original post. Maybe you should try reading through things before you get up on your high horse and start berating unpaid writers for not behaving like paid journalists.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, inaccurate doesn't mean libelous or slanderous, and I'm not thinking this guy had much of a case.

Erica Amina said...

Yeesh! The place isn't even open yet and I already DO NOT want to go to Du Vin Osteria. The guy sounds like real turd in the punch bowl, I've been dying for something to open in that space since I must look at that ugly building every time I sit on my couch. But now I wonder if this new wine bar will be worth the effort. I think I'll walk the few extra steps down to Dickson which has some of the nicest people in the world working there.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Dickson, Vinoteca, Cork...it's not like there's a shortage of options around the neighborhood, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Ed,

Maybe you should read my post more carefully before you got on your high horse to criticize it.

If a person is going to post blog entries and host an open forum, then they have a responsibility to make sure that people don't make harassing claims.

Erica Amina said...

I'm guessing "anonymous" is Mr Schott, hiding because he's afraid to post in his own defense? FYI, a blogger is NOT responsible for the comments left on their pages. Shall we all meet at Cork on Vin Du whatever's opening night?

Mr. 14th & You said...

"If a person is going to post blog entries and host an open forum, then they have a responsibility to make sure that people don't make harassing claims."

Actually Anon, we don't. Not legally anyway. Now, we have (rarely) deleted comments on here that venture into personally insulting/defamation territory, simply because I don't want the blog to be used in that manner. But we don't typically censor comments, nor do we have to. The Communications Decency Act addresses this very point.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode47/usc_sec_47_00000230----000-.html

Anonymous said...

Erica,

I understand that the Communications Decency Act absolves bloggers from the responsibility for the content of comments posted about their posts.

But why would someonw want to have what was plainly a harassing post that personally attacked someone that none of us even know on their website? What value does that add to the tenor of the discussion?

I am an advocate for decorum and principled discussion to resolve differences. I do not think that we should lend our support to individuals who post harassing personal attacks online.

That being said, I agree completely that the business owner could have approached the situation in a way that would have avoided this uproar. Oh well.

Erica Amina said...

I don't believe that the blogger did want the nasty comment on her website - there is nothing to suggest that she did support the nasty comment. It showed up on her site, and SHE's the one who received the wrath of an uncivil response. The point is that the business owner responded inappropriately and thereby has created a whole world of ill will towards himself.

Anonymous said...

Erica,

Then we agree on both points:

The comment should have been taken down, since it was a personal attack, and

The business owner should have been more cordial to the blogger.

Erica Amina said...

No, that's not what I said. Bloggers aren't in the business of censorship.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Having read the comment in question, I don't know any blogger who would have taken down a comment like that unprovoked, unless they were threatened with legal action (however wrongheaded). Individuals are entitled to express their views and opinions, and no blogger that I know would moderate comments to such a maddening degree.

Pave the Whales said...

I love this guy's short fuse. He thinks that it's in line "decorum and principled discussion" to threaten to sue a blogger?

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to protest this establishment's liquor license application? I believe he's supposed to appear in front of the anc1b April 1st.

Anonymous said...

this guy Shott sucks. Everyone boycott his place. it's not like there aren't tons of restaurants exactly like this in the 6 block radius. I really wish ustreet girl didn't wimp out and kept the post up there. if he actually tried to sue, no doubt she'd have gotten a lawyer to get this case booted in 5 min pro bono (hey I might have even volunteered), and the negative publicity that would have surrounded any such lawsuit would have sunk Shott's restaurant before it even opened. Also disturbing to see that the prince of petworth blog has been taking down comments critical of shott/his restaurant without even any explanation, obviously someone else who caved to his bullying tactics. which is clearly why he continues to employ them.

ustreetgirl said...

Hey 14thandYou, just wanted to thank you for the support. I've been so happy with the strength of (the majority of people's) support I've recieved. Thanks guys!

DAPPER VAN said...

Seriously, another wine bar? Just another reason why I really hope that we get that burger joint on 14th and S. We need cheap food that isn't, like, KFC. Sandwich shop anybody?

Joe said...

Dapper Van, I'm with you. Another wine bar run by a nice guy might be one too many. One owned by a jerk definitely is.

Why don't we have a deli? Or a bagel shop?

xolondon said...

These blogs will likely outlast yet another wine bar in Logan anyway! ;)

Herb of DC said...

WOW! Now anyone who Googles Du Vin Osteria will read these blog posts. Smart guy!

Anonymous said...

I've met him a number of times before... I've found him to be pretentious, rude and unpleasant. So I can't say this surprises me at all.