Exposing Northern's "story"

As the most frequent victim of your Fearless Consumer (three hits over a six-month period) [September 26, 2002: "Weitzner Properties: All three refunds– MIA," January 16, 2003: "Outstanding Exposure? Rave reviews prove elusive," February 13, 2003: "Over Exposured: My quest for truth at Northern"], I feel compelled to respond to at least the silliest of her attacks.

Posted prominently in the window of Northern Exposure is a spoof on the history of the restaurant. The story was written for the entertainment of our guests, its main themes are clearly fabricated, and the names of no real people are used.

For your reporter to state that any real employees or subcontractors were slighted by this document is beyond credulity.

The spoof describes the Alaskan food, "The innovative cuisine included grandma's special recipe boiled whale blubber patties, boiled seal intestines, and boiled walrus pancreas steak, all smothered in ripe, fried, aged babbaganuch."

The decor, "Decorated tastefully with beautiful stuffed caribou, reindeer, and Maine coon cat at the tables, wall hangings of discarded unwashed Eskimo igloo blankets, and lit by lamps filled with smoky virgin sperm oil, the restaurant was a sight to behold."

Describing the conversion to our current format, "The restaurant would now even have a menu. The customers would be given silver to use instead of the reusable pointed sticks so practical with all blubber items. Napkins would be given, but only one to a customer. The cousins would stop trapping their own food and buy it from purveyors."

What employee or other contributor to our success could I have offended, as argued by your Fearless Consumer, by not singling them out by name?

I attach a complete copy of "The Story of Northern Exposure" which I hope you will print in order that your readers may judge for themselves the accuracy of your reporting.

Robert E. Weitzner
Owner, Northern Exposure
northernex@cstone.net

 

 For space considerations, the entire story is published with this letter online. –ed.

 

WHAT FOLLOWS IS WEB-ONLY CONTENT:

 

The story of Northern Exposure

 

 Back in the dark days of the mid '80s, two young impoverished cousins from the ghetto of Brooklyn, New York, emigrated to the southern paradise of Charlottesville to seek fame and fortune in BAGELS. To their amazement they found this tiny backward city awash in high quality, modestly priced, and highly tasty bagels. So much for PLAN A.

Homeless, hungry, and down to their last $7.39, the boys quickly shifted to PLAN B, an Alaskan restaurant for the culinary delight of the good people of Charlottesville. Being bagel experts, and having a grandmother who was 100 percent Aleut Eskimo, it was only logical that they would be equally adept at Alaskan cuisine. And besides, search as they would, they could not find even a single Alaskan restaurant in Charlottesville. They would surely be able to corner the market.

And so Northern Exposure was born. Not, however, before undertaking a monumental legal battle with Metro Goldwyn Mayer, the alleged holders of a copyright on the name of some television show of the same name. By the time the war with the motion picture company was done, and the restaurant's name secure, the boys' bank account was down to $4.11, just enough to start a restaurant.

In October of 1993, the restaurant, formerly a car wash, pizzeria, hamburger joint, barbeque joint, and sometimes purveyor of illegal substances, opened its doors for business. Decorated tastefully with beautiful stuffed caribou, reindeer, and Maine coon cat at the tables, wall hangings of discarded unwashed Eskimo igloo blankets, and lit by lamps filled with smoky virgin sperm oil, the restaurant was a sight to behold.

The innovative cuisine included grandma's special recipe boiled whale blubber patties, boiled seal intestines, and boiled walrus pancreas steak, all smothered in ripe, fried, aged babbaganuch. The cousins used their secret bagel boiling technique in the preparation of these delicacies, certain that fame and fortune were theirs for the taking. Alas, Disaster!!! For reasons still incomprehensible to the boys, the good folk of Charlottesville didn't come.

To avert bankruptcy and humiliation back home in New York, PLAN C was quickly put into operation. The new plan called for the boys to hire a chef, cooks, bartender, servers, and managers, positions they had no need for under the old plan. The restaurant would now even have a menu. The customers would be given silver to use instead of the reusable pointed sticks so practical with all blubber items. Napkins would be given, but only one to a customer. The cousins would stop trapping their own food and buy it from purveyors.

They even brought their hated cousin Naomi down from Brooklyn to redecorate the place in a New York motif ( a slightly different Northern Exposure), which, of course, was all she knew. She put pictures up of New York highlighting the World Trade Center, pictures of Ebbets Field, long since gone, from her beloved Brooklyn, and even hand painted a stupid mural of New York in the restaurant's Mural Room, putting as much of the cousins' illustrious family history on the mural as possible. Needless to say, the cousins hated the mural and promptly drove a car through the wall, destroying a large part of it. But, old Naomi came back and repaired it better than ever.

The restaurant reopened, the people came, they liked the food. The rest is history.