Kendall Jenner was an unsatisfied customer at Mercer Kitchen in Manhattan last week, prompting a sidewalk clash with her waitress. However, the restaurant maintains that the incident wouldn't have occurred had the 18-year-old budding model not tried to order alcohol.
Yahoo spoke to famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who owns Mercer Kitchen as well as 23 other restaurants worldwide, about the drama that played out with Kim Kardashian's little sister at his eatery. Waitress Blaine Morris followed the teen and her friend, Stephen Baldwin's daughter Hailey, out of the restaurant to collect money for an unpaid bill, and claimed Kendall threw the money in her face, according to a tweet posted Aug. 5 (and later deleted). Jenner has called the server's claim "absolutely ridiculous" and her lawyer has reportedly threatened legal action against the waitress.
"It's pretty much what the papers say," Jean-Georges says about the story, which first appeared in New York Post's Page Six. "They came in for dinner. They asked for drinks. We can't serve anyone under 21; we could lose our liquor license, so we can't do that no matter what. What happened is they walked out on their check. Ms. Morris, who is no longer with us, walked after them and they threw money in her face."
Jenner's attorney sent Morris, who's also an aspiring actress and appeared on MTV's Skins, a cease-and-desist letter, calling her tweet "completely false, fabricated and defamatory," according to E! News. The lawyer also apparently asked for Morris to publicly apologize to Jenner.
While Jean-Georges wasn't called upon to apologize, he offered one anyway, though maintained that the entire thing could have been avoided had the teenager not tried to consume alcohol in his eatery. "We are sorry about the incident but we cannot serve alcohol to a minor, which is the bottom line," the chef says. "I apologize for the waitress going after her, but Ms. Morris was accountable for all the checks to be closed. It's an unfortunate incident. It's too bad. Hopefully they'll forget it and come back."
So the Kardashians are welcome back in his well-known restaurants? "Of course, of course! They always come in," he says. "But when it comes to the rules and regulations of the city, there is nothing we can do about it."
As for Morris, she no longer works at Mercer Kitchen. She was so upset by the incident that she left that night. Further, restaurant employees are not allowed to tweet about customers on social media, so she would have been in breach of that company policy anyway. (Morris could not be reached for comment for this story.)
Now Jean-Georges just wants to put all this behind him and focus on more important things — like food! "Both sides were upset, it was an embarrassing moment, but it is what it is," Jean-Georges says. "We try to do our best always. I came to this business 40 years ago to please people and to accommodate everybody, but sometimes [things happen] and it's unfortunate. There's not much we can do about it."
A rep for Kendall has not yet responded to Yahoo's request for comment about whether or not she was trying to obtain alcohol underage, though Kendall didn't deny that part of the story on Twitter. Instead, she tried to clarify that she didn't throw money at the waitress "or act that disrespectfully," adding, "I was raised better than that."
On Tuesday night, those good manners were on display when Kendall and Baldwin again dined out — but on the West Coast at Pearl's in West Hollywood. A restaurant source tells Yahoo that the girls were among a larger group eating at the establishment. After noshing on oysters and lobster ravioli, they had fun in the restaurant's photo booth.
"Kendall was so nice to the staff and seemed to be in a great mood. Both she and Hailey were super sweet," says the source. And when they departed, they "left a very big and generous tip for their server."
Everybody seems to be trying to move on.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Kendall Jenner
- Jean-Georges Vongerichten