Please, leave your messy brat at home.

I won’t wait 24 hours to respond to this story;

He didn’t do that Wednesday after a customer posted a one-star review on the Elements at 8th Facebook page. Instead, Derheim typed a hasty defense of his manager and in doing so ignited a summer blizzard of controversy that could take months to thaw out social media users.

It started when Todd Gannon posted his review on Facebook, mere minutes after finishing his meal. But there was more to it than just a night out for four adults and a toddler.

Gannon, who did not respond to a paid Facebook message asking him to contact me, wrote, “Food was lousy, and the manager followed us out in the parking lot to tell us to bring a toy for our son next time so he doesn’t bang on the table. Thanks for ruining my wife’s birthday.”

His son had done a little pounding on the table, Gannon acknowledged, estimating it lasted 60 to 90 seconds.

In an early response to Gannon’s review, Derheim wrote that Gannon’s 2-year-old had caused $300 damage to the table and invited Gannon to come back and see it. Another response asked Gannon to contact the restaurant with “any offer of restitution.”

First off, let’s get the little things out of the way. I wouldn’t say the food is lousy at Elements, I would classify it as ‘unmemorable’ and not worth the trip. Which is disappointing, because I like the atmosphere and enjoy having drinks there, just eat before or after you leave. It also surprises me, because Pinnacle, who manages Elements, also owns TRE Lounge, which is hands down one of my favorite fine dining establishments, always good service and the food is fantastic, every time. I think some of the issues Elements has is that they are being micro-managed by the Hilton franchise, but that is only an assumption.

As for the kid pounding on the table, there is a simple solution; LEAVE YOUR KIDS AT HOME WHEN DINING OUT! It’s okay to take kids to places that have play lands etc, but it is not the duty of a server to babysit your child, or to get on our hands and knees to pick up little pieces of torn up mac and cheese and cheerios off the floor. When are people going to realize that when your kids are old enough to behave in a public setting, that is the time you take them out to eat with you, not before. Oh, and I have heard all the excuses, my favorite BS line, “We can’t find or afford a babysitter.” Then guess what STAY HOME! There is so many expectations of restaurant employees these days, especially from young parents (who typically are crappy tippers on top of it.) How would you like it if you invited me over for a dinner party to your house, I puked on your table and threw my food on the floor, screamed at everyone, then left. You wouldn’t be happy – THINK ABOUT THAT the next time you dine out with your little Angel. I hope Elements makes the man pay for the broken table, double.

Many people complain that JL Beers is a 21 and older establishment, mostly parents of young children. I think it is pure genius.

Someone sent me this the other day. They want to propose legislation next year in SD to end ‘involuntary’ tip-outs to support staff. Many people don’t realize that servers only get paid $2.13 an hour in SD, they depend on their tips. Many restaurants require (especially national franchises) that the servers tip out support staff (so the restaurants can avoid paying them). It can be upwards of 20% of your tips. When I worked full-time as a server a couple of years ago I figured I tipped out (my tips) about $4,500 a year. This is money I earned. The fact of it is, when you tell customers about it, it infuriates them that not only that we are paid a low wage, but we have to give our tips away. Support the movement END tip share in SD!

If a bill comes forward next year in Pierre, I plan to testify.

In preparation for the night I most dred waiting tables (I actually had the night off but was asked to assist) Here is a little something to remember when leaving the tip, a classic from my folk hero, Jack Logan.