[image-2] What do Thomas Ravenel and Hanna Raskin have in common? Apparently they’ve both been banned from Charleston restaurants — T-Rav from Monza, Taco Boy, and Proof and Raskin from Halls.
That’s what Raskin said last night during her Pecha Kucha performance. Dressed in a giant polyester straw hat to preserve her anonymity, The Post & Courier food editor and chief critic used her six minute and 40 second speech to discuss the highs and lows of being the paper of record’s final word on local restaurants.
[image-1]In addition to not winning any points with local Jewish women when she critiqued Jestine’s Kitchen (as she shared in our 2014 feature on her), Raskin said she’s been banned from Hall Management Group, owner of Halls Chophouse, Slightly North of Broad, Old Village Post House Inn, High Cotton, Rita’s Seaside Grille, and No. 5 Faber.
In her speech Raskin posted a picture of the Hall family saying, “You may also know these folks, Halls. They don’t care for me either. They have a number of restaurants, Halls just down the street. I don’t know a whole lot about it because I’ve been banned from that restaurant.”
Raskin went on to say that following a review of Halls restaurants — which opened with a lede she paraphrased as “some people love Halls, some people hate it” — Bill Hall, Sr. banned her from his restaurants. “Since he couldn’t sue for libel, as he tried to do first, I’m not allowed to go to his restaurants,” Raskin said.
Hall denied attempting to sue in a phone call this morning and Raskin admits she flubbed that line, saying, “I misspoke when I said Bill Hall threatened to sue us for libel, and I’m sorry. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to correct the record. I pride myself on accuracy, which is why my preferred communication method is print, not Pecha Kucha: Between the frenzied pace and my ridiculous get-up, I said something other than what I intended to say. In short, I have no knowledge of any legal action arising from my review.”
[content-1] However, Hall did confirm that Raskin is not allowed to dine at his restaurants. Hall says that following Raskin’s review of High Cotton, Old Village Post, and SNOB, he asked P&C Editor Mitch Pugh to ask Raskin to not to go to any of the Hall Management Group’s restaurants.
“She doesn’t write anything positive about the city. She never gives anyone a compliment. She’s not serving as a food critic. She’s not a happy person and I don’t need her here,” Hall said by phone. Hall added that he feels Raskin needs to support the city and the people who spend millions of dollars renovating restaurants.
Boss Hall added, “And that’s all I’ll say. I don’t need her in here to write negative things about my family. I don’t need that. I don’t want. She has no purpose and serves no purpose in this community.”
Raskin feels otherwise and said as much in her closing:
“Good reviewing is just good reporting, being observant and telling all sides. It means being honest and transparent which is what I always aim to do in my work. We all have the same goal which is to make our restaurants better. We all want to eat in good places and to have a city with tremendously good food. My goal is not to put anybody down. I understand how important reviews are and how much rides on them, but the idea is to bring everybody up. I think if you gratuitously give a positive review to somebody who didn’t earn it, it’s not fair to those really hard workers. Fortunately, there are people who agree with me.”