Most-Outrageous Things Ever Witnessed on Mystery Diners
After Richard and Marilyn of Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park, N.J., noticed that their lobster supply was dwindling without the sales to back it up, they called in the Mystery Diners. After some investigation, they caught one employee taking lobsters right out of the tank, putting them in a backpack and returning them to the ocean.
When Will, co-owner of Whiskey Dick’s in Las Vegas, noticed his female clientele was declining, the Mystery Diners found out that the manager was running a dating service for men from the bar. She even started passing out cards that promised free appetizers to male patrons when they came in looking for dates.
Something Smells Fishy
Mario, the owner of La Traviata — a restaurant specializing in organic, high-quality seafood in Long Beach, Calif. — got numerous complaints about the quality of the fish his restaurant was serving. The Mystery Diners discovered that the chef had been buying cheaper fish and advertising it as high-end. In this instance, they caught him buying carp to pass off as Chilean sea bass, and billing the owner for twice what he paid.
Dining in the Dark
Hernan, owner of Catharsis, in Miami, called in the Mystery Diners after he started getting complaints about his monthly Dine in the Dark event. It turned out that the waitstaff had come up with a point system based on how many inappropriate things they did while the customers dined wearing blindfolds. The staff were touching the diners, eating off their plates, going through their belongings and even taking them back to the wrong seats after leading them to and from the restrooms.
Looney's BBQ in San Leandro, Calif., has a signature hot sauce called Devil’s XXX that’s much hotter than a traditional one, but owner Ken worried it was getting served to unsuspecting customers. The Mystery Diners realized that the staff was using it to punish difficult customers, like one who complained about waiting and got sent home with a side of the hot sauce rather than the barbecue sauce she’d actually ordered.
Tastes Like Chicken
After hearing that his staff was serving meat to customers at his vegan restaurant, Mitch, owner of Source, in San Francisco, called in the Mystery Diners. They found out that while employees weren’t serving real meat, they were telling customers that dishes included real meat as a ploy to get them to try vegan cuisine. Once the customer took a bite, they revealed the truth.
Rick, owner of Uncle Billy's Brew and Que in Austin, heard rumors that his microbrewed beer was showing up at college parties in the area. When the Mystery Diners investigated, they discovered that two members of the staff were selling kegs to their fraternity brothers and drinking on the job.
Paul, owner of Nacho Daddy in Las Vegas, noticed that his restaurant was going through a lot of the expensive scorpions they use for their Scorpion Shot. The Mystery Diners sent someone in to check it out, and this investigator witnessed two employees charging $50 for a shot contest they created in order to pocket the money. They never rang up the shots, so the owner didn’t know about the missing scorpions or the $50 they were charging.
When Angie, the owner of Cha Cha Cha Salsaria in Honolulu, heard rumors that her food was being sold through a delivery service she had never approved, she called in the Mystery Diners. After they investigated, they found out that the employees had set up a new delivery system, using friends with boats to take the orders to their destination.
In a twist of events, the employees at a California restaurant called in the Mystery Diners because they felt they were being mistreated by the owner. The Mystery Diners found out not only that the restaurant was serving illegal foie gras under the direction of the owner, but also that the owner had been forcing waiters to ring up big tables as banquets so he could pocket some of the tips.
Sonny and Sage, owners of Hot Red Bus near Los Angeles, got concerned when they heard their restaurant was open the one day a week it was supposed to be closed. The Mystery Diners investigated and found out that three of the employees were running a pop-up restaurant on Sundays, redecorating the space and serving food made with the owner’s supplies.
Riemma Kitchen Warehouse sells kitchen supplies and appliances to local businesses. After customers started complaining about food residue found inside their newly acquired (and presumably unopened) appliances, the Mystery Diners investigated. It turned out the security guard was bringing in his brothers after dark to help him start a bakery. They were using the kitchen equipment to bake the goods and then cleaning it up to make it seem new.