Lawyer cries foul over incident at restaurant

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Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 10:22 pm | Updated: 11:33 pm, Wed May 15, 2013.

SIESTA KEY, Fla. - Discrimination at the Daiquiri Deck? That's what one customer is claiming after he, his wife and their 5-week old child were thrown out of the restaurant for refusing to leave. But the owner of the popular Siesta Key establishment stands by the decision, saying the family violated one of the restaurant's strict policies.

It all unfolded last Saturday night. Brandon Daniels, who is a Sarasota attorney, decided to grab a bite at the restaurant with his wife and infant child. When they arrived, the family decided to sit in the bar area.

"The downstairs was relatively full and it seemed like there was a lot of commotion. The upstairs seemed sparse," said Daniels.

When the family sat down, they were told by a bouncer and two managers that it is against the law to have someone under the age of 21 in that area of the restaurant.

"I said, 'Do you honestly think my 5-week-old son is going to be consuming alcoholic beverages?'"

What the staff members told Daniels is inaccurate. It's not against the law, yet it is against company policy.  "It's for the safety of the public. If a child is in that environment, I don't think it's conducive to a healthy business atmosphere," said restaurant owner, Russell Matthes.

Daniels refused to leave. That's when staff members called 911.

Minutes later, Sarasota County Sheriff's Deputies escorted Daniels out of the restaurant. If he returns to the establishment over the next year, he could be arrested.

"It was embarrassing for us to be there and then being thrown out with a 5-week-old just because we wanted to utilize a table that served food in a different part of the restaurant," said Daniels.

He says he feels discriminated against.  "I find it appalling that a restaurant in this area that tries to reach out and tries to be community-based would reject a family just because they feel it's a bar when it's really not. They serve food all the time at the tables we were at," said Daniels.

Matthes could not disagree more with Daniels.  "It's not discrimination if you are keeping the public safe. We are responsible. We are a liquor license holder. We are responsible to create an environment that is fun, enjoyable and safe," he said.

Daniels admits there were other tables throughout the restaurant he could have sat at, but chose not to because of "commotion, hustle and bustle and moving around." His baby was fast asleep when they arrived.

Daniels says he would like an apology from the owner, and is not ruling out the possibility of taking legal action against the restaurant for refusing service.

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  • PeteP posted at 7:59 am on Thu, Aug 22, 2013.

    PeteP Posts: 1

    what a jack@ss....definitley sounds like another pompous attorney who thinks the rules don't apply to him.

  • Inyourface posted at 11:24 am on Sat, May 18, 2013.

    Inyourface Posts: 3

    Just because you are a lawyer doesn't mean you can intimidate business owners with your "lawsuits." If he had known anything about DUI defense then maybe he would know the first thing about civil law...but he doesn't! Your threats toward an ethical local business are spineless...just like you. [thumbdown]

  • Inyourface posted at 11:17 am on Sat, May 18, 2013.

    Inyourface Posts: 3

    Oh my, the big shot attorney that's been arrested for DUI TWICE and uses unethical practices to get himself and his clients that pay him big $$$ off (only the very few select cases he actually wins, which is not often at all... very few and far between) had his bubble burst . [crying][crying]. This just goes to show how irresponsible this buffoon of a person is. Sure, take your infant child out to a bar to have a few drinks (he said it himself) and drive home. Very responsible...NOT. Its only a matter of time before this idiot kills someone or his own child with his drunken, reckless behavior!

  • Inyourface posted at 11:01 am on Sat, May 18, 2013.

    Inyourface Posts: 3

    Mr. Big shot attorney that has been arrested twice for DUI and is a former shamed cop is obviously a big headed buffoon that thinks the rules don't apply to him. He obviously uses unethical practices to get himself and the clients that are willing to pay him big $$$ off the hook when the average person would be screwed. Just goes to show how irresponsible he is, going out to have a couple drinks then intending in driving WITH AN INFANT CHILD. I'm sure the next DUI is around the corner! Hopefully he doesn't kill someone.

  • hal posted at 1:00 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    hal Posts: 1

    I totally agree with the restaurant owner. No minor should be in the bar area - ever -. Had I been there having a drink in the bar area with my friends and the guy was allowed to stay - I would have left and never returned. Thank God for intelligent bar owners in this area

  • Chris posted at 12:46 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    Chris Posts: 1

    This story is ridiculous on so many levels. I see the establishment's view to adhere to their strict guidelines. First of all, if you give an inch to the general public, they will take a mile. If they let the infant stay, next time it could be a 2 year old, then a 5 year old, and then they could have a real problem. Getting a liquor license is difficult, and keeping it is just as hard. On the other hand, I understand the patron's point ... he had an infant. I can see how he could question the rule. HOWEVER, the patron is an attorney. He knows the law, and how difficult it can be for any establishment to get and keep a liquor license. In the end, I have to side with the restaurant. I just hope this doesn't wind up wasting our County Court's time and money. The patron is, after all, a lawyer.

  • colbythej posted at 11:08 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    colbythej Posts: 13

    I guess just because this guy is a "big shot" lawyer, he can make his own rules.
    Rules are rules. Grow up, Sir. Show your son, a good example.

  • Karmakiss posted at 10:55 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    Karmakiss Posts: 1

    I agree with the owner. There are policies for a reason and the law and as an attorney the guy knew that and would probably sue if they got served in that area. I would never sit down with my kids in a bar area. If they didn't like the where the seating was because of too many people they could have gone elsewhere or picked up fast food and went to their quiet home.

  • Sarasotan posted at 10:11 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    Sarasotan Posts: 2

    If the restaurant's policy is "no one under 21 in the bar area," it really can't be conditional. If you allow a five-month-old, do you allow a one-year-old, a five-year-old, etc.? There was no discrimination at all--the restaurant followed its rule.

  • A CITIZEN posted at 6:09 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    A CITIZEN Posts: 6

    Another self-entitled "victim". Ridiculous. This is not news. This guy SHOULD be embarrassed. Not by how he was treated, but rather by his own immature actions. Of course, people like this never think they are wrong.

    Shame on this guy. And shame on this news site for wasting time reporting this moronic story.

  • Buccsbabe posted at 11:44 pm on Wed, May 15, 2013.

    Buccsbabe Posts: 2

    So this lawyer thinks he is above following the rules? Its posted no one under 21 - he wants it changed to 0-2 and over 21? Who in the in their right mind thinks their child is going to sleep through a Saturday night at the Daiquiri Deck!

  • Buccsbabe posted at 11:12 pm on Wed, May 15, 2013.

    Buccsbabe Posts: 2

    Just saw the story. Rules are rules. There was other seating and if you didnt want your child bothered, you shouldnt have gone to a loud bustling restaurant. I am with the owner and management on this one. Besides, I would have been an upset patron to be in the bar area with an infant.
    Why does this father think he doesn't have to follow the rules?


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