Sat Jan 02 10:00am EST
Maurizio Terrigno owns Osteria de Medici, an Italian restaurant in Calgary whose menu admittedly had us salivating and probably had the same effect on the Edmonton Oilers, who selected the eatery for a massive New Year's Eve dinner for players, families and team officials.
Massive in the sense that the final bill came to roughly $18,000, according to Terrigno. But the Oilers were using a different math, according to the Edmonton Journal:
When staff presented the bill, the players were surprised at the whopping total. Terrigno says they demanded a discount on their bar tab, which included copious tequila shooters, fine wines, and $500 magnums of champagne. The liquor portion of the bill rang in at $8,000, Terrigno says.
But the team's spokesman says the restaurant's claims are false, and the team simply paid an amended bill with tip. They were expecting to be charged for bottles of liquor, rather than for each shooter.
The Journal reports the bar tab included "whipped cream-topped shooters with suggestive names, tequila, vodka, rum, beer, wine, and magnums of pricey Dom Perignon champagne." CTV reported that the group consumed 100 shots of tequila alone.
Terrigno has gone public and on the offensive.
The Oilers claim the restaurant adjusted the bill, they left $12,000 and "a generous tip of about $1,800," according to the Journal. Terrigno plans to donate the money to an Italian earthquake relief fund, which is just the sort of "it's not about the money" move someone waging a public PR war over money usually makes.
Oh, Terrigno also makes accusations about the players pulling rank and "threatening to my staff to the point of 'do you know who we are'" ... and yes, that sound you heard is someone grasping at straws.
Here's the deal: While we spend $12 for watered down rail drinks at a club, these guys are buying bottles of Goose for the table. That's the mindset in dropping $8,000 for booze at a restaurant, and there was a clear miscommunication here between what the group thought they were getting and what the eatery was actually giving them.
Sometimes, the owner of an establishment that did $12,000 of business from a large party acknowledges the mix-up, collects the dough and everyone learns a valuable lesson about assumptions.
Other times, the owner operates in Calgary and has a chance to publicly flog a team from Edmonton, even though his establishment relented on the bill the night of the meal. Then it ends up as national news, the Oilers look like snobbish athletes stomping on the little guy and Osteria de Medici gets a grande sized amount of free pub.
Obviously, there's only one great mystery left to this story: Who drinks 100 shots of tequila at a high-end Italian restaurant anyway? Isn't that like ordering a fine chianti at a taco joint?