Boston Critic: Without Illegal Aliens, There Is No Restaurant Business

Photo: The Phantom Gourmet

So declares the Phantom Gourmet, the ubiquitous, trenchcoat-wearing Boston restaurant critic. According to respected Boston watchdog blog Server Not Servant, the statement was made after Phantom posted on Facebook about restaurants that deliver, first suggesting lawsuit-addled Upper Crust pizzeria.

Many people took offense to the Phantom’s delivery suggestion, since, you know, the Upper Crust is currently under investigation for exploiting illegal workers.

Per Server not Servant, the Phantom chimed in with: “I’m sorry to tell everyone, but without illegal aliens, there is no restaurant business. Hurting this company, or any other company, is not what our state needs right now.”

Commenter Debbie Delia Fowle inquired: “Why is Phantom Gourmet assisting in advertising Upper Crust when they are under investigation for employment issues? I would think you would want to keep your distance until the end results come out.”

To which another poster, Bob Ullman, replied: “Exploitation of employees? Give me a break! If people are willing to work for X dollars an hour with no benefits then it’s their fault, not the employer. They are in a business, not a charity!”

The Phantom supported Bob’s statement: “Bob, good for you, they have hundreds of employees and do a lot for charity and generate millions in tax revenue, I would think we would all be rooting for businesses to expand and hire. Plus, the pizza is really tasty.”

Really tasty, or really shady? Patrick Maguire, who runs the Server Not Servant site, called foul: “Stop drinking the Kool Aid and read the full story. I don’t know anyone who supports or patronizes Upper Crust any more, even if they like their over-priced pizza.” He went on to ask: “Why did they pay a 350K in back pay as ordered by the US Dept. of Labor? They are also defending a complaint from a former operations manager (7-yr. employee), the District Attorney’s Office and several other agencies. Take your head out of the sand.”

Things escalated from there. In the wake of the controversy, Maguire took to his blog to pose some prescient questions for industry workers: Are there some restaurants or businesses that would fail without illegal or undocumented workers? Are these workers taking jobs away from legal residents who want them? If not, should we remain quiet as long no one is being taken advantage of? What are highly ethical restaurants doing to address the issue of illegal workers?

The Facebook war rages on at 100-plus comments. For the full rundown, visit Maguire’s site.

Without Illegal Aliens, There Is No Restaurant Business [Server Not Servant]

Earlier: Upper Crust: Giving New Meaning to the Word “Slice”?

Boston Critic: Without Illegal Aliens, There Is No Restaurant Business