The latest New York restaurant trend to hit our coast? Suing Mario Batali! TMZ reports that two staffers at Pizzeria Mozza are suing owners Batali and Joe Bastianich, claiming that the partners were hustling tips from servers both here and next door at Osteria Mozza. The suit practically mirrors a similar allegation in Manhattan, where a duo of servers at Babbo are suing Batali and Bastianich for not paying overtime and illegally distributing tips. So, what’s the accusation at Mozza?
Seeking "unspecified damages," the former Mozza bartender and server claim that the owners established a wine program where a percentage of tips paid by credit card were directed, subsequently landing in the pockets of Mario and Joe.
It’s hard to believe men with this kind of dough would need to skim tip money, but alas, sheistier things have occurred in the restaurant business. Responding to the Babbo suit, Bastianich explained to Eater last month, "We’re going to fight this to every inch of the law, because we know we’re right. We’re not going to let them shake us down for a quick settlement. We’ll fight this to the end." No word yet from either restaurateur about the West Coast allegations.