December is a time to reflect on the past year — the ups, the downs, the most delicious meals, the worst restaurant crimes. This year's top stories were a motley bunch full of delight, dread, and all of the emotions that lie in between.
Remember that Canadian couple that remodeled their home after The Simpsons' kitchen? It's still a great idea; put it on your wish list for 2016. Amid calls for stricter gun control, readers were especially interested in stories about restaurants that refused service to armed law enforcement. Below, find our top stories in dining this year, from terrible parenting to bigotry; from Anthony Bourdain and In-N-Out to entitled Yelpers and everyone's least favorite bakeshop, Amy's Baking Company.
One of the worst ways to start the new year is being on the receiving end of a racial slur. That's what six African-American friends learned after dinner at Shatila Lebanese Grill in Arlington, Texas to celebrate the start of 2015. Their meal was ruined when the receipt had the N-word written on it. The waiter's response after being confronted? "My bad."
One Canadian family has taken their love of The Simpsons to the next level by creating an exact replica of Marge's kitchen in their home. The couple remodeled their kitchen to include every detail of the famous Simpson's kitchen — including corn cob curtains, checkerboard tiles, and an olive green stove.
Two twenty-something parents left their child on the floor of an Ohio McDonald's after arguing over whose turn it was to watch the baby. The three-month old infant's father quickly left the scene and was followed by the baby's mother. After a brief argument at a nearby intersection, the couple was arrested and charged with child endangering.
A uniformed police officer waiting for his family to join him for lunch at Olive Garden was asked to leave by an employee who stated that guns were not allowed in the restaurant. After the officer shared the incident on Facebook, Olive Garden quickly apologized and said the employee's behavior was "unacceptable."
After watching this video, you'll be an even bigger fan of Anthony Bourdain. In the three-minute video, Bourdain waxes poetic about the West Coast chain and its perfectly crafted burgers.
Another example of a "No Guns Allowed" policy gone terribly wrong happened in September when an armed member of the National Guard was asked to leave a Kentucky Waffle House. While Waffle House's corporate office explained that the policy excludes law enforcement, they also stated that because that location was franchise-owned, the owner was allowed to enforce a different version of the rule.
Robert Irvine, host of Food Network's Restaurant: Impossible was not able to do for his own restaurant what he did for so many others on his show. At the beginning of the year it was announced that he would be shuttering his South Carolina outlet mall eatery Nosh. Irvine's camp blamed the closure not on failing sales, but on Irvine's busy schedule.
The owner of Alden & Harlow in Boston refused to bend to the whim of "entitled" Yelpers. After two women walked into this restaurant without a reservation, sat themselves, demanded service, and proceeded to verbally abuse his staff, Michael Shelfo took to social media to call them out. He posted a now-deleted pic of the patrons with the hashtag #wedontnegotiatewithyelpers.
After being involved with the Master Chef franchise since it started in 2010, the news that restaurateur Joe Bastianich was leaving the show caused a bit of a stir at the end of 2014. Early in 2015, Bastianich explained his decision while on a press tour in Italy, explaining that while he enjoyed his time with the show, he felt it was time to move on to other TV opportunities.
After appearing on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares in 2013, Amy's Baking Company became one of the most notorious restaurants in the country. Shortly after their scandalous appearance the owners went on to face a slew of bad publicity for several ill advised decisions — including suing Gordon Ramsay for sexual harassment. To no one's surprise, the owners announced they were closing their shop in July.
The food world was rattled after the remains of Food Network Star Cristie Schoen Codd and her husband Joseph Codd were found inside neighbor Robert Owen's oven. Owen was the couple's handyman and after being brought in for questioning admitted to having stored and destroyed their remains. A motive for the murders was unknown at the time.
When Indiana passed its "religious freedom" law — stating that restaurants were allowed to refuse service to customers that are members of the LGBT community, one restaurant was quick to put it into effect. Memories Pizza was the first Indiana business was the first in the state to come forward in support of the law and deny service to LGBT customers.
KFC's famed Colonel Sanders was dragged into the company's wacky makeover this year when two SNL alums were hired to portray the Colonel in commercials. Darrell Hammond was the first hired to play the Colonel in May. A few months later, KFC announced Norm Macdonald would also be playing the fried chicken maven. KFC's reason for hiring two Colonels? He was "too big a personality to be portrayed by just one person."
A 23-year-old man was arrested in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after shouting racial slurs at a black family dining at Shucker's Raw Bar. A waitress in the restaurant stated that when she asked the man and his family to leave the restaurant, he slapped her in the face. When police arrived on the scene, the man — smelling strongly of alcohol — claimed to be joking with the family and alleged that the waitress had hit him first.
While everybody knows that drinking and driving is against the law, usually that only applies to alcoholic beverages. However, a young woman in Minnesota was pulled over for drinking coffee while driving her car in October. After pulling her over, the officer informed the woman that it was against the law to drink coffee while driving.
Most restaurant diners have been annoyed by a screaming toddler at a nearby table at least once, but two women in Idaho were not going to take the disruption lying down. This past October, two women eating at a Texas Roadhouse in Boise penned an aggressive note to a family dining with their rowdy 10-month-old son. The note read, "Thank you for ruining our dinner with your screaming kid. Sincerely, the table behind you." The restaurant came to the family's defense and comped their entire meal. Sometimes bad news has a happy ending?