If you know anything about Ina Pinkney of Ina’s, breakfast place and early pioneer on Randolph Street, it’s that she’s the generous earth mama of the local restaurant scene— Barry Sorkin of Smoque told us how, when he first opened having very few clues about the actual restaurant business, she called him out of the blue and educated him on the ins and outs of the local restaurant scene, who to call to get your hoods cleaned, that kind of thing. So the story should have been unbelievable, but it’s the internet, so people will believe anything. And the story was that Ina had turned away striking teachers last Saturday because she was against the teachers’ strike, and therefore SHE WAS THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD AND YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER EAT THERE. Mary Schmich has the real story in the Tribune, and it’s a typical mix of half-truths and bitter irony.
Irony number one is that Ina actually used to be a teacher, yes, in a union. Irony number two is that she had been serving teachers, recognizable in their red T-shirts, all morning. Irony number three is that “her restaurant is the most racially, ethnically, and sexually encompassing restaurant in the city of Chicago,” as one teacher who did get served that morning later put it. Which is maybe a little more than we need to know at breakfast, but okay. The half-truth is that 15 minutes before closing, she turned a group of Wisconsin teachers away from her patio, which had already closed as a section, but invited them to dine inside or visit a spot with a patio down the street. From her manner, that should have been clear, but one of the turned-away teachers apparently got herself good and steamed by the time she was back in front of a computer, and started a social media lynch mob.
So what does Mary Schmich say we learned from this? That the internet is no damn good? Not exactly, just another reminder that you shouldn’t jump to conclusions and come out swinging till you know what the hell you’re talking about. As our third grade teacher tried to teach us on the playground, long ago. [Tribune]