The Washington Post has an epic story today about the shitshow that is Galileo III and the crumbling of Roberto Donna's empire. It is filled with stories of disgruntled employees, lawsuits, debts and even a dirty kitchen. By all means, if you've got some time to spare do read the whole thing right here or check out the highlights below:
1) On changes to Galileo III: "What was once a robust, sometimes adventurous 24-dish dinner menu when the place opened in early October has been whittled to 18 simpler plates, not one of which is Donna’s signature (and time-consuming) risotto."
2) On lawsuits: "Not even a year into its existence, Galileo III has been sued multiple times in D.C. Superior Court. The complainants are all looking for the same thing: the cash they claim is owed them."
3) An inauspicious opening: "The restaurant had been sued before it even opened."
4) On the current state of Galileo III "Donna did say, however, that he has not been asked to vacate the space at 600 14th St. NW. 'Tomorrow, I don't know,' he added."
5) Former bar manager Chris Cunningham on paychecks: "'I'd get my check, and I'd [race] across the street and cash it,' said Cunningham."
6) Former pastry chef Wendi James on paycheck retaliation: "It was the dirtiest kitchen I ever worked in,' she said. 'The line cooks were like, 'If I wasn't getting paid, I wouldn't clean [the kitchen].'"
7) On Donna paying his debts: "But at the current rate of repayment, Donna will never satisfy the debt. ... Over the first year of Donna's repayment plan, the amount he owes has actually increased by more than $5,000."
8) On what those debts are: "Donna’s court-ordered debt in those three cases alone stands at more than $1 million; he has paid, as of mid-August, just $7,115."
9) Arlington Country Treasurer Francis X. O'Leary on Donna: "Nailing him is like nailing mercury to a board."
10) Hilda Staples on his chances for future investors: "I know for a fact that there are big pockets out there .?.?. that just want to hang out with big-name chefs."
Galileo III [Photo: Norry H./Yelp]