Kitchen Walkout At Owl

OWL temporarily closed its kitchen on Wednesday after a problem with unpaid workers’ compensation premiums escalated into a labor dispute. And like everything surrounding Owl since before it even opened its doors, the entire ugly mess played out on social media.

Anyone who wants to catch up on the accusations and mudslinging can visit the Facebook pages of owner Stephan Galdau and his now former executive chef Daniel James Schneider. If you’re simply interested in the effects on customers, Galdau and Schneider both agree that the following transpired.

On Wednesday, the State of Nevada issued a stop work order to Owl due to unpaid premiums on the bar’s workers’ comp insurance. The outstanding balance was paid in time to open at 4 p.m. as scheduled, but the event triggered a chain reaction of arguments with his kitchen staff over hours, wages and other issues. In the end, the kitchen workers decided to quit. The bar opened four hours late on Thursday, and other than the occasional chef buddy stepping in to cook a few dishes, the kitchen has basically been closed since Wednesday.

When contacted by Vegas Seven, Schneider said the situation between the two parties was already “a powder keg ready to blow, and that stop work order was the fuse that lit it.” He went on, however, to wish his former boss well.

And despite the nastiness that’s surfaced online, Galdau says the final blame for everything rests on his inexperience as a bar owner. “Everything is my fault” he confesses, even between expressions of his dissatisfaction with his ex-employees.

The good thing about having friends in the food and beverage industry, however, is that several prominent chefs and restaurant owners have dropped by to show him what he’s been doing wrong in the kitchen. And while he originally told Seven he expected to re-open it full time on Monday, a Facebook post on Saturday promised a limited menu starting midnight Saturday night that will also be available during football on Sunday and Monday.

“Owl’s been good, but we’re gonna be great,” he promises. “We’re gonna tighten up our menu. We’re gonna lower the food costs. We’re gonna lower the labor costs. It’s just making adjustments. I’ll be [fully] open on Monday, and we’ll be better than ever.”

If you can’t make it in to see for yourself, all you’ll probably have to do to see if he lives up to that is check out Facebook.