Dearest Leslie Brenner: Here's How to Make Friends with Proof & Pantry

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Hey Leslie Brenner!

I don't know you. I'm Alice. I don't know what you look like, but lots of chefs in town tell me they know what you look like, and that you're never truly dining secretly in their restaurants. I imagine that you look like the above illustration that took me one hour to draw. You're smiley and pretty and fun. That's what I bet. We'd probably be good friends -- you bitching about servers, me saying, "Oh, Leslie."

See also: If Proof + Pantry Really Wanted to Avoid a Morning News Review, its Plan Backfired

I write you because you're all up in my Inbox lately, and I feel like if I'm going to be reading so much about you, I should say hi. So, hello there!

One blogger girl emailed me and a whole list of other people, saying that she wrote a blog post about how everyone should boycott you. She was promoting a #boycottbrenner hashtag. I'm not really sure, as a diner, how boycotting you would work. Am I supposed to not go to the restaurants that you review? Am I supposed to stop not reading The Dallas Morning News?

It seems like Proof & Pantry maybe tried to find a way to boycott you. I read that thing Nancy Nichols wrote about how Michael Martensen and Friends refused to take your money so that you wouldn't review them because they didn't want to be tied to your rating system.

And then my Internets blew up with Brenner hate. I'm sorry about that. I know what it's like when people call you mean names like, "you're a 12-year-old boy!" and "Slow News Day" and say that you know nothing about food. (At least in my case, it's all true.) I do have some ideas for you, if you want to make friends with local restaurant people again, though. Complete all or just a few of these and I think you'll be BFFs with everyone in no time:

1. Give every restaurant one star. If you're keeping the star system everyone seems to hate, treat everyone equally. People always like it when everyone gets the same thing.

2. Change your star system to a whiskey system. Instead of using stars to rate every restaurant from a Steak & Shake to modern cuisine, really truly unify things with the power of booze. Base your reviews on how many whiskey shots it took for you to start liking the place. This way, all the reviews will be positive. If a place gets zero whiskeys, cool! If it gets 10 whiskeys, we all still win.

3. If Proof & Pantry refuses to let you pay for dinner, invite Twitter to come there with you every night and eat with your special Free Forever coupon. "Yes, that'll be a party of 80 at 8 p.m. on Every Night. Name's Brenner." Proof & Pantry probably won't like you after this, and they might kick you out, but at least you might have new Twitter troll friends. Maybe you could finally get that $30,000 dinner you made up.

4. If Proof & Pantry refuses to let you pay for dinner, send them $500 of Tiff's Treats every night until they change their minds. (Tiff's Treats are good, but trust me, after the third day it's like, "OK. I'm Snikerdoodled out.") This will work.

5. If they still refuse to let you pay, send Proof & Pantry a singing telegram apology every day until you get a call from them during which they say that you're friends forever. Song should probably go something like, "I'm sorry you don't like me and my stupid stars and stuuuuuuuuuuff" to the tune of Boyz II Men's "End of The Road."

6. If the Proof & Pantry guys are still not into letting you pay for dinner at this point, you've got only one choice: Rain. Boom box over your head. "In Your Eyes."

7. Ask really nicely if you can meet with Martensen and his crew, and then come to some kind of happy agreement about a system that would actually work for Dallas diners. If the star system is universally hated, maybe it's time to ditch it. Or, ya know, keep pretending to be anonymous and begging for proper wine service in barbecue joints -- your call.

I hope you have a great week, and please be sure to chest bump Martensen for me when you see him.


Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.