Cruisers Grill is a good restaurant. Their owner, however, is apparently kind of a douchebag.
On Tuesday, a letter from Jacksonville Beach Police Department Chief of Police Patrick Dooley to his staff leaked and was widely circulated amongst local news outlets. In the letter, Dooley warns his officers to exercise caution in eating at Cruisers Grill because of remarks made by owner Bobby Handmaker.
Specifically, Handmaker informed one of Dooley’s officers that his employees have been spitting in the food of law enforcement officers – and that Handmaker himself endorses the action, because of his belief that all Jax Beach cops were “bullies”.
According to the leaked report, Handmaker asked the officers on scene to come into his office. He then began complaining about a traffic ticket he’d received from JBPD.
“I explained who I was, and he didn’t seem to care,” Handmaker is alleged to have said.
It’s unclear why Handmaker thought that his status as a restaurant owner with a history of breaking the law would afford him any extra privileges.
From there, the beef escalated, with Handmaker allegedly cursing at the officers before telling them about the supposed food-spitting.
Shortly after the letter was circulated, several Cruisers Grill employees emphatically denied the claims that any employee would spit in a patron’s food. In all honesty, we believe them.
What seems more likely is that Handmaker, full of bluster, decided it would be a good idea to claim that this was happening – throwing his employees under the bus in the process.
Handmaker made an appearance later in the day on First Coast News, nervously denying the allegations. He claims that it was a disagreement that got blown out of proportion.
But by this point, the damage had been done.
Outrage erupted, both from customers and those who had never been to the restaurant. The restaurant chain’s Jax Beach location has now racked up over 500 one-star reviews on Facebook, and over 50 new one-star reviews on Yelp.
Several longtime customers took to social media to comment that they would never be returning to Cruisers.
Even if not a single person’s order was tainted, it ultimately won’t matter.
The lesson for local business owners is clear: unless you’re ready to tank your own business, it might be best to act like a decent person.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: We had previously published a review of Cruisers Grill, but given new information have decided to remove said review and redirect it to this article.)