Top Ten Houston Culinary Scandals of 2013: Lawsuits, Rude Restaurant Staff and Rats

Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Paula Deen's son hugs her and tells her she had an "ugly cry."
September 16, 2013
Paula Deen Makes a Loopy Return at Metro Cooking Houston
Paula Deen's return to the spotlight after months in hiding was alternately emotional and confusing for both Deen and the audience who came to watch her demonstration at the Metro Cooking Houston show. She walked on the stage and commenced to sob for approximately two minutes, seemingly overwhelmed by the show of support after her months out of the limelight stemming from allegations of racism. We reported that Deen's return was "weird," and many readers thought that was a bit harsh, immediately leaping to Deen's defense in the comments. We stand by the fact that we thought she was weird, but we appreciate your concern for a fallen TV star.

Photos from Torchy's Facebook and Texas Taco Co. Facebook
Who's telling the truth?
October 23, 2013
Torchy's Tacos' Suit Against Texas Taco Co. Alleges Theft of Food-Prep Bible

As soon as the first Texas Taco Co. opened, in Baytown, diners started sending messages to Torchy's asking, essentially, what's up with your new restaurant? People assumed, because of similarities between the two menus, that Texas Taco Co. was somehow affiliated with Torchy's. Turns out, the two restaurants are entirely different entities, and it does sort of seem like Texas Taco Co.'s menu is eerily similar to that of Torchy's, perhaps because a former Torchy's employee allegedly stole the "Taco Bible" and brought it to Texas Taco Co. That's right, there's a Taco Bible.

Photo by Troy Fields
Underbelly is the target of a lawsuit by a former employee.
November 27, 2013
Woman Files Lawsuit Against Underbelly and The Pass & Provisions

In November, news broke of a lawsuit filed against Underbelly and The Pass & Provisions by a former Underbelly staff member who alleges wrongful termination, discrimination and "intentional infliction of emotional distress." The former staff member, Rachel Johnston, claims that she was out dining with friends at The Pass & Provisions when her party was asked to leave their table to make room for other patrons, causing one of her friends to become belligerent. The incident was reported back to Underbelly, who allegedly threatened to fire her, but realized her out-of-work behavior was probably not something they could fire her for. Johnston was later fired for being intoxicated at work, though she claims she wasn't. The case is ongoing, and it's stirred up some commentary on what it's like for a woman to work in a male-dominated kitchen.

Location Info

Corner Table

2736 Virginia St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Maggie Rita's Mexican Grill

600 Travis St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

La Fisheria

4705 Inker St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Napoli Italian Pasta & Gourmet Pizza By Papa Zack

5551 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Texas Taco Co.

4609 Garth Road, Baytown, TX

Category: Restaurant

Torchy's Tacos

2411 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


1100 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


807 Taft, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Pass

807 Taft St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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I have eaten at Napoli for years and never been offered Zack's sausage.  Hrumph!


The Molzan protesters weren't from Corner Table. They were formerly employees at Ruggles before it closed.



True, the Corner Table employees have yet to experience an ordeal from the Bruce Almighty, beyond the everyday gropes probably

KaitlinS topcommenter

@BP88 Thanks, I'll revise.

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