The most-recent episode of Food Network “Mystery Diners” was titled, “Venue Vandals.” Charles Stiles and Megan came to Brick, New Jersey to meet with Manny Martins, chef and owner of Spanish Potato Grill. He has been at the current location for four years. Because he needed a larger location, he planned to move, but vandalism, which included broken equipment, stolen pictures and graffiti halted the move. Manny knew that he made enemies along the way, especially in the kitchen, where he insists on perfection. He wants to look at Toni, his manager who is the only one with access to the other location, Frankie his sous chef and anyone else on the staff.
Charles explained that they would wire both locations and do background checks on his staff. Megan will pose as a server and hope to find information from the staff. With two locations, this is a challenge for “Mystery Diners,” but they will get at the bottom of it.
They identified all the staff on the hidden cameras, Daniel; the private investigator Charles has on staff had some concerns after doing background checks on the staff. Dan headed for the control room and told Manny that criminally, all people checked out clean, but with further investigating, he found that Frankie, the sous chef met with a local realtor who gave him a signed lease for the new location. Frankie has access to the private recipes and could be opening his own restaurant. Manny wanted to go down and choke him, but Charles wanted to wait to see what else they could uncover.
Megan is a new server-in-training and asked Toni about Manny. She said he is very intense and not to piss him off. Toni seemed to show the same views about Frankie as Manny did; especially that he is too inexperienced to open his own restaurant. Toni told the waiter that she was bringing the POS computers over to the new restaurant and would be right back. Charles had Dan follow Toni to the new location because the POS system was worth $29,000.
Megan went to speak with Brian and asked about Manny; he warned her that he was nasty and not to piss him off because he acts condescending toward them and gives fewer shifts. When a customer called for reservations for five people, Crystal the hostess told them there were all booked. She suggested they came to the new location in about a month at an address that was not the new place. Manny stated that they never turn new people away. Back at the restaurant, the fire alarm went off. They saw Crystal, the hostess who gave the wrong address pulled it. As Dan stayed at the new place, he spotted Brian, the waiter whose shift just ended, use his own key to go inside. He threw the boxes of imported vases from Portugal and threw them on the floor. He then spray-painted Manny Sucks on the wall. He then picked up the POS box and was walking out as Dan made a citizen’s arrest showing his badge. He then brought him back to the control room. Manny was livid when he brought his staff of backstabbers in to face Charles.
Charles told Manny he might want to reevaluate his methods before something like that happens again. So Manny went back to the restaurant personally to cook dinner for Charles to say thanks. Since being fired, Frankie lost his lease and has been unable to secure another location. Brian was contacted by authorities and returned all stolen items. Crystal denied any wrongdoing and moved on to new employment. Manny opened his new location and reports that business is better than ever thanks to Charles and his staff of “Mystery Diners.”