Most of the time, neighbors are the worst. I'm in a multi-year battle with the jerk a few doors down, which means that I report him for smoking in the hallways and he responds by parking so that I have to climb in through my passenger door.
It sucks, but at least he's not Tom Power.
The Washington, DC restaurateur has a long-time disagreement with one of his own neighbors, and Power has responded by hanging a large sign outside, facing the man's building.
The neighbor, identified only as Tim by The Washingtonian, said that this all started after the alley behind Power's restaurants, Corduroy and Baby Wale, was filthy, even by, you know, back-alley standards. Although Tim said he frequently sees broken glass, overflowing dumpsters, and ignored food deliveries, the last straw was after the kitchen staff hosed their facilities after a lobster special, leaving the alley smelling like a post-apocalyptic Long John Silver's.
Tim called the Health Department to report the restaurants and after inspecting both joints, the department concluded that no real violations had been committed. But that was enough to set Power off: He hung a huge sign in the alley which said "YOU NEED A BOYFRIEND" in large block letters. Get it? Because Tim must be gay, because he's complaining about Corduroy's garbage, or something. How hilarious!
Now all of Tim's neighbors in the Whitman condo building facing the alley have to stare at Power's sign, including a single woman who assumed that it was directed at her. (She went to Corduroy and promptly complained about it.) The Whitman's managers have also complained, but Power has basically said so what, Tim brought this on himself. "If the guy's going to keep harassing me, I'm going to harass him back," he told The Washingtonian. Power also said that as soon as he finds out Tim's full address, he'll be adding the man's unit number to the banner.
Everything about this sounds pretty dumb, especially because Power seems to be blaming Tim for a lot of things that he didn't do. He insists that Tim has been calling the health department on him for 11 years, and when asked to describe his arch-nemesis, the characteristics he mentioned allegedly don't fit Tim. (Meanwhile, Tim said that he's only lived at the Whitman for four years and this is the first time he's ever called the Health Department).
Power remains unapologetic and, despite the complaints, he's not budging. It will be interesting to see how the feud affects his restaurants. Corduroy, especially, has been well-reviewed and, in its mostly positive Zagat writeup, it is described as a "restaurant for grown-ups." If only you could use the same G-word to describe its owner.
MUNCHIES has reached out to Power for comment but has not yet received a response.