Is Our Mystery Roman à Clef Writer the $2.45 Million Boston Bartender?

After we brought to your attention the dishy fictionalization of Sam Mason, Keith McNally, Graydon Carter, et al that weve grown totally obsessed over, Fishbowl New York picked up on the story and got Abbe Diaz to deny that she was the author, as we initially considered. So who is the author? Were now almost certain its Gwen Butler. You may or may not remember her as the Boston bartender who tried (and failed) to open a restaurant using the $2.45 million that one of her customers gave her on a whim, then started a blog called the Full Comp only to shut it down after posting an item described by the Boston Herald as an XXX-rated diatribe against her ex-boss, Garrett Harker of Beantowns Eastern Standard Kitchen.

Below are some reasons you should believe us. If youre not a fan of inside baseball, lets leave it at Trust us.


  1. In a message thread on Abbe Diazs forum PX This, a member named Snax coyly evades implications that she is behind Sympathy. Elsewhere on PX This, Snax is identified as the blogger behind the Full Comp, i.e. Butler.

  2. The mystery bloggers over-the-top praise to us of poison-pen blogger Abbe Diaz is extremely reminiscent of Snax/Butlers initial fan letter to Abbe.

  3. Abbe and Butler are friends (or at least friendly enough to get lunch), which would explain how the mystery blogger got hold of e-mails to and from Abbe.

  4. Butler announced her blog the Full Comp to the world via a post on Craigslist. The author of Sympathy did the same.

  5. There is crossover between Snaxs PX This posts and the mystery bloggers writing e.g. Tiger Beat is mentioned in this chapter and this post.

  6. The first-person character in Sympathy interviews for a GM job this was the position Butler had at Eastern Standard Kitchen.

  7. Though the mystery blogger has been careful not to reveal his or her identity to us, certain things revealed off-the-record in e-mails lead us to believe he or she, in light of the above details, is Butler.

So there you have it. We suppose the big news here is that this skewering of the NYC restaurant industry is written by someone who has only been working in it for less than a year. Publishers, you might want to adjust your advance offers. Even if she was ranked seventeen on a list of the 25 most stylish Bostonians.

Related: Grub Streets coverage of Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry