Welcome to Eater's latest feature, Shit People Steal, in which we ask restaurateurs what items in their restaurant have been (or are frequently) stolen.
The Garden Cafe's plentiful patio. [Photo: Garden Cafe/Facebook]
Everyone's a suspect when it comes to pilfering produce from the Garden Cafe in Junius Heights. Mark Wootten, head honcho at the organic garden and restaurant, writes to us via e-mail:
" ... we've definitely had an issue with corn poachers. Little old ladies with BIG purses stuffed our parking lot corn right in there. There was also a lady that filled her son's stroller pocket with some produce. Oh, and one time we had a bowl of free Larken Farms peaches we were giving away. The bowl was next to a couple boxes of produce from Larken, and one ol' guy thought it was all up for grabs. He grabbed as many peaches, and pears as he could carry. Along with a huge cantaloupe. Couple days later he comes back and praises the produce and asks me if we're giving away anymore cantaloupes and pears."The canteloupes, in fact, are a particular sore spot for Wootten: "We only get like one cantaloupe a week, so I hate to see those disappear." However, there are some things at the Garden Cafe that Wootten says you can steal with his blessing:
"Actually, I'm all for people sampling the herbs. We can never really use all of them. What's great is when I go out there and see someone picking off a leaf of basil or something, and when they notice me they get this, "Oh shit I'm caught!" look about them. Then I have trouble convincing them that it's perfectly fine to take a few samples home with them. That's a great moment for me to drop the fact that we're actually a registered nursery and even sell small potted herbs and plants. It's only when they clear a plant that I get a little upset. Like what happened with the corn."Are you a bar or restaurant owner with thieving patrons? E-mail us your story.