The year is not even half over, but we can say with some certainty that the award for worst public relations gaffe of 2016 might just go to Tose Steak & Sushi in Pearland, Texas. The owner of that establishment, Jimmy Chi, recently butchered a hog in the back alley outside his restaurant and was photographed by a passerby, who posted the photo to Facebook.
The photograph of the restaurant owner butchering the sizeable animal has now gone viral, of course. The Facebook posting—which has since been removed—read as follows:
"So this was behind 'tosi steak and sushi' on pearland parkway lol… as soon as the pictures were taken they drug the hog inside, came back and this I guess fryer was there, but the stool still is… I'm going to pass on this place if I get invited"
Chi is now on the defensive. He has met with various media outlets and tried to explain that the whole thing is just a big misunderstanding.
The restaurateur claims the hog was a gift from friends who recently had gone hunting. "They went on a hunting trip that I was supposed to go on, but couldn't, so they shot a couple hogs and gave me one," Chi told local news station KPRC.
He insists that the butchered hog was not sold in the restaurant—in fact, he says, it was never taken into the kitchen at all.
"I was just kind of curious. I'd never done it before. And I'd never ate hog before," he claims. Health inspectors found no evidence that the hog had entered the building. Chi says, "I want to apologize to all of my customers that it was really my poor decision to process that hog at the back alley." Chi says he's willing to shut down the restaurant for a day and perform a deep cleaning just to reassure any skeptical customers.
MUNCHIES reached out to Chi, who said, "everything that needs to be said has already been said," and declined to provide further comment.
According to KPRC, Tose Steak & Sushi doesn't have the best health department record. Last month, they say, the restaurant received a "D" from the Pearland Health Department. Chi claims the low grade was for minor mistakes including open containers, all of which, he says, have since been corrected.
Turns out, it's probably not the best of ideas to butcher a hog in full view of prying eyes, even if you do plan on being the only one to eat the thing.