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Do ‘Service Fees’ Benefit Restaurant Workers Directly? Not Always in Los Angeles.

Plus, a scathing review of Madeo, frozen treats at Maciel’s, and more

A receipt from Found Oyster in East Hollywood.
A receipt from Found Oyster in East Hollywood.
Cathy Chaplin
Cathy Chaplin is a senior editor at Eater LA, a James Beard Award–nominated journalist, and the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles.

Vox’s Recode recently tackled an all-important question among those who frequently dine out: Where do restaurant “service fees” really go? While the answer is complicated and varies from state to state (and restaurant to restaurant), generally speaking, these fees can disguise price increases and bring in more revenue for restaurants. In California, “the fees belong to the restaurant itself,” writes journalist Rani Molla.

Extra fees have been on the rise since the pandemic began due to the detrimental impact of COVID-19 on both restaurants and workers. More recently, rising inflation and the higher costs of both ingredients and labor have made them more ubiquitous. Molla says that in cases where the restaurant doesn’t clearly communicate with diners how these fees will be allocated, it can adversely impact the amount of tips workers take home, as diners assume that service fees are the same as gratuity. While some restaurants may funnel collected monies toward workers’ wages and benefits, the additional revenue can also pay for the restaurant’s credit card fees or go to the owners themselves.

Time Out says 2-stars for Madeo

Time Out food critic Patricia Kelly Yeo doesn’t hold back her disdain for Madeo in her latest critique, calling the West Hollywood restaurant “one of the worst Italian restaurants at its extravagant price point — and a generally mediocre one overall.” With regard to ambiance and service, Yeo says “the pretentious atmosphere at Madeo falls somewhere between mildly anachronistic and downright geriatric.” Read the full review here.

Pizza plus Japanese whisky at Rossoblu

Rossoblu is hosting a pizza and whisky dinner on Monday, November 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 each and include a cocktail, and pours of three different Japanese whiskys from Nikka paired with a three-course menu. Reservations are available here.

A Melbourne-inspired happy hour in West Hollywood

Strings of Life in West Hollywood just launched a new happy hour menu that’s available Thursday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Everything on the menu is priced under $10, including wines by the glass, select cocktails, and cacio e pepe shoestring fries.

New frozen desserts at LA’s favorite vegan butchery

Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher & Deli is now serving dairy-, gluten-, and nut-free ice cream bars by pastry chef Malcolm Livingston II. The chef previously worked in some of the most well-regarded restaurants in the world, including Le Cirque, Per Se, WD-50, and Noma. The frozen treats come in flavors like milky chocolate, vanilla strawberry, and cookies and cream.

Maciel's Plant-Based Butcher & Deli

5933 York Boulevard, , CA 90042 (213) 537-5120 Visit Website