A former top server at The Waverly Inn is suing owner and ex-Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and the eatery’s other proprietors, accusing them of skimping on wages and allowing him to be fired when he complained.
David Lazazzera — who served “VIP patrons such as Oprah Winfrey, Sting, Sharon Stone, Adele, and many more” at the famous Manhattan restaurant — says the hot spot not only paid him and other servers a pittance, they were forced to do menial labor before and after serving guests, according to his suit.
Lazazzera, 55, even referenced Carter’s feud with President Trump in taking zings at him.
“Graydon Carter has publicly bashed President Trump, in fact famously referring to Mr. Trump as ‘The Cheapest Zillionaire’ in his publication Spy magazine,” says the Manhattan federal suit.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Carter lives in a glass house. At his own Waverly Inn Restaurant — which boasts on its menu ‘[w]orst food in the city-Donald Trump’ — servers are required to perform menial tasks such as filling condiment jars, arranging linens, filling ice buckets, and folding tens of napkins at a sub-minimum wage.”
Lazazzera began working at the restaurant in 2015 and was fired in January after a manager asked him to fold 50 napkins at the end of his shift, even though he’d already done his allotted 50, the suit says.
“I think it’s outrageous that someone on that level is so skimpy with his employees’ wages and would allow someone to suffer the way my client suffered for standing up against the restaurant,” said Lazazzera’s lawyer, Maimon Kirschenbaum, referring to Carter.
Kirschenbaum said the practice of having servers do excessive “side work” outside of waiting on tables is a “vestige of the past.”
“Restaurants were funding their operations on waiters’ backs. Most reputable restaurants have begun to behave themselves, but apparently The Waverly didn’t get the memo,” Kirschenbaum said.
Lazazzera is suing the restaurant, Carter and his co-owners Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson for unspecified damages including back pay.
The restaurant did not immediately return a request for comment.
In 2016, Vanity Fair published a scathing review of Trump Grill at Trump Tower, saying it “could be the worst restaurant in America.”
Trump fired back at the time in a tweet, “Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!”
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