LAKE FOREST (CBSLA) — The co-owner of a Lake Forest wine bar spoke out Tuesday after a pair of suspected disgruntled customers were caught on camera vandalizing the Orange County restaurant on Thanksgiving night.
“We were waiting for a one star Yelp review,” Kimberly Smith, co-owner of Urban Grill and Wine Bar, said. “That’s usually what happens when you have an unhappy customer.”
Smith said it all started when the couple ordered a filet mignon to go last Tuesday night.
“Their meal was cold when they picked it up, so they called the next day and asked if they could have a replacement meal, so we obviously said that was fine,” she said.
Smith said the man’s wife asked for the catch of the day, which she was given. But, an hour later, Smith said the man called back.
“And said that, you know, his wife that came in to pick it up felt dismissed, that our staff was rude, et cetera,” she said. “He was kind of irate on the phone. A little bit into the conversation, he basically started cursing, which we were like, ‘OK, you know, there’s nothing we can do at this point,’ and he said that he’d take matters into his own hands.”
Around 11:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, Smith said the couple returned to the restaurant. Security video shows the man spray painting the front doors then pouring cement into the lock as a woman paces back and forth.
“It was a blow to our entire staff for sure,” Smith said.
Things are so tight at the restaurant that Smith said she paid for the cleanup out of her own pocket. Customers who saw the damage started posting on social media. Smith responded on social media saying, “Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it.”
Hundreds of comments flooded in, and customers came out in droves to support the restaurant.
“The community has really wrapped their arms around everybody here,” Erica Minzenmayer, a customer, said. “My husband and I came here for dinner that night, and there was a flood of to go orders back and forth.”
Smith said she was not mad at the people who vandalized her restaurant.
“This person obviously is having their own issues and this was just a way for them to act out, they were taking out whatever else was going on in their life,” she said. “We really just hope that if anyone learns anything out of this lesson, it’s not necessarily about pressing charges or catching anyone it’s really just a matter of being kind to one another especially through the end of this year and just remembering that everyone is going through a hard time right now.”
Smith reported the crime to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which said it was actively investigating.