High-end restaurateur weighs in on dispute

KATIE SCHNEIDER, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

CALGARY -- The Edmonton Oilers players' refusal to pay all of a nearly $17,000 bill at a Calgary eatery was definitely offside, says another high-end restaurateur.

The gloves were off New Year's Eve after a dispute erupted between a large group of Oilers players and staff of Osteria de Medici in Calgary when the team racked up a tab of $16,796.39 before tip and then demanded a break on the bill, according to the restaurant's manager.

The team members, who in the end paid only $12,381.45, have since sorted out an agreement with general manager Maurizio Terrigno.

But the fact the group of nearly 50 people demanded they pay by the bottle after the fact was a bad move, according to Wayne Leong, owner of Melrose Cafe and Bar in southwest Calgary.

The group tallied up half the bill on alcohol, ranging from shots of tequila to pricey wine and champagne.

"Out of the blue I don't believe you can say, 'Can I have bottle service?' " Leong said. "I think that if they were to negotiate it at the beginning ... but not after, whether they were a regular customer or celebrity.

"If it's after the fact, that's not cool for sure."

He said restaurant owners who want to provide bottle service must apply for a permit through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

Many celebrities have dined at Melrose, but not usually with expectations for a break on the bill, he said. And if they do, they call ahead.

He said he feels for the management of Osteria de Medici, who claim the players also became threatening during the dispute.

Oilers spokesman Allan Watt had earlier said the players had a prearranged menu on the evening in question.

KATIE.SCHNEIDER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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