As many of you have already heard (judging by the number of you texting us and whispering in our ears in the last week or so), Casellula is closing.
Now that it's official, we can acknowledge the murmuring questions from our industry friends, many of whom asked whether publishing his interview caused the closing, or whether we hated Brian. Neither of these things are true, obviously; a restaurant doesn't close because of one bad review, and we consider Brian to be a friend.
Brian was just as honest as our anonymous reviewer, and despite being widely vilified for it, stood by what he said (with the exception of the "real jobs" quip; he has since apologized for that characterization).
We respect that he didn't back down in the face of backlash, as doing so is part of our core values at Tipped Off. Sure, it upset a lot of you, but we definitely got some quiet feedback from people in all positions that they agreed with much of what he shared about the state of the industry in Pittsburgh. They were happy to have been given a voice, and Brian (perhaps because he must've known that the closure was coming) was ready to be the one up against the firing squad.
So while many people were upset and uncomfortable, we ask you to recognize that these are feelings that will arise in us as we embark on our efforts to build a healthier and more fruitful communication between management and staff. You won't like everything you hear, but sugar-coating it, or name-calling for that matter, will get us nowhere.
It's time we lean into the discomfort and push through to a better industry.
We want to acknowledge Brian for taking a leap of faith and trying to help make the industry better, and offer our condolences for the closure of his restaurant. Anyone who's done it or witnessed it knows that people don't (or shouldn't) open restaurants for the money, the glamour, or the fun schedule -- none of these things exist in excess while running your own restaurant -- they do it for the love of food, wine, and the dining experience, and their passion for bringing that love to the masses. That's what Casellula tried to do, it's sad that they will no longer be able to do that, both for its staff and its customers.
How are we going to work together to elevate the rapidly-growing service industry in our city? It won't be through gossip, or trash talking, or fighting. It will be by being fearless and honest and respectful, and by continuing to talk to each other.
So thank you to Brian for boldly starting the conversation that Pittsburgh needs to have, and that we are just beginning to address.