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Daley Staffer's Tell-All Book...On Dining Out

By John & Susie Pratt in Food on Mar 1, 2005 5:04PM

Tired of waiting for a table at all the hippest restaurants? Or of snooty hostesses confirming your deepest fears that you are, in fact, nobody? A new book from a Chicago author may solve your problem and guarantee you the hottest tables, freshest food, and most obsequious service. Make Mine Medium Rare: A Diner’s Survival Guide, by Robert Scarola, is designed to help you and your fellow diners get all that you deserve on your evening out.

This all sounded good to Chicagoist until we read that Scarola is also, coincidentally, Mayor Daley’s Assistant Press Secretary. Now we are rethinking things. MMMR book cover.bmpNot that a Daley press secretary can’t write a book (insert your own Daley press conference joke here), it’s just that it seems sorta easy to get a table if, say, the Mayor is standing behind you.

And we can’t help but observe the unfortunate timing of the publication of this volume, just prior to Park Grill-gate, the quasi-scandal involving a Millenium Park restaurant in which Daley the Invincible quipped that “Everyone’s a friend of mine in Chicago.” Again, could this perchance explain Scarola’s ease in navigating the piranha-filled pond that is Chicago’s hip restaurant scene?

Or, possibly, he is just beautiful people.

A bit of research, however, leads us to believe that Scarola is the real deal. A known and respected foodie who has offered seminars to the staffs of the Smith & Wollensky and PF Chang chains, he seems to know his eating out. Moreover, the tips in his book basically boil down to developing a relationship with the entire restaurant staff, but especially your servers, through a little r.e.s.p.e.c.t. This makes much sense to Chicagoist, who has served time in food service and has more than once considered “accidentally” dropping a tray of drinks on random dirtbags with attitudes.

Scarola’s self-published book has gotten tons of good press (surprise!) and is available through his website, as well as the other usual suspects.