Our Concerns

We are former servers of Juventino (known formerly as Get Fresh Table & Market), writing to inform you of the abusive behavior we have experienced at this establishment.

The food is seductive, but behind this restaurant’s charming facade lies a toxic work environment where employees are publicly berated, servers are paid less than the legal tipped minimum wage, 17-hour work-days without breaks are demanded, and young women are subjected to unwanted sexual advances behind the closed and locked doors of Juventino’s office.

We understand that it is bold to come out publicly with our concerns and experiences.

Juventino, however, has consistently refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his actions, even choosing to spread falsehoods about former employees who left after feeling mistreated.

We believe Juventino is doing a disservice not only to his servers of the past and present, but to his incredibly hardworking and honorable cooks, and ultimately to you, the unwitting guest whose patronage sustains his business and misbehavior.

Thank you for your time and support,                                                                                         22 Former Juventino Employees



97 Responses to Our Concerns

  1. SylviaG says:

    was a student of his when he was an instructor at I.C.E in ’06. He was inappropriate then.
    This doesn’t surprise me.

  2. Dominique says:

    Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same
    niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.
    You have done a outstanding job!

  3. Paige says:

    I was hired here a couple of years back when it was still called Get Fresh. I only made it four days before I quit because I was so horrified by Juventino’s behavior. I definitely received the “intense work environment speech”. He then tried to pay me less then we had agreed upon, and refused to give me my paycheck for the days I had worked until I threatened to come in with some friends and make a scene. During the one busy shift that I worked there, the restaurant was understocked on glasses and when we ran out before they could be washed properly, Juventino bullied some girls into just quickly rinsing off the visible signs of use in the hand washing sink before sending them back out again. I also experienced him following me around berating me under preposterous pretenses, for example that I wasn’t laying the pre-rolled silverware on the table fast enough. The worst part was at the end of a really long day for the servers, I think it may have been Sunday brunch and that basically everybody had been working a double, it was required that everybody stay, without pay to scrub the entire restaurant floor to ceiling while he stood around doing nothing but yelling. At one point he made a few of us all get into the small bathroom with him, demanding that we clean the bathroom in front of him while he mocked us and took pictures.
    I had the worst feeling about him, even after just those few days. I live in the neighborhood and would always feel a little angry just walking past that place. I’m glad that people are speaking up about this guy. I felt sad that it seemed like all of the women working there at the time were either very young and new to New York City or else undocumented. I was worried that they might not know that his behavior was far from normal. I would totally support a protest or a sit-in as a couple of previous commenters had suggested. Moderators please feel free to contact me about any collective actions you might be planning to take to raise community awareness about this one repeat offender.

  4. Libby says:

    How is this place still open? I am proud to say I haven’t dined at this establishment in almost 2 years and whenever I am invited, I educate my friends on the (mis)management style used here. I am ready for some more new, tasty restaurants like Pork Slope and Dinosaur BBQ and Surfish Bistro. I hope they vacate soon so we can have something new in that nice space, where people are treated like people.

    • Terence Taylor says:

      You need to get more facts before you “educate” your friends…there have been almost no new entries here since April, news follow up hasn’t validated any of the accusations,and as a regular customer, I haven’t seen evidence of abuse of customers or staff. I hate self-righteous knee jerk reactions to anonymous claims. Try going there and seeing if it is the snake pit these so-called ex-employees have so vilified. The day they come forward with verified allegations is the day I buy all this. Until then it’s just poison pen that could have been posted by one angry empleyee with computer access.

      • Libby says:

        Just to clarify, I have dined here at least 5 times before these accusations came out. My experience with the atmosphere did not earn the owner the benefit of the doubt. You are entitled to your opinion. I am entitled to mine and I choose not to support an establishment with these unverified allegations. News follow-up also hasn’t cleared Juventino of the accusations and there is no record of him suing for defamation. Regardless, my experiences eating at Get Fresh in addition those of my close friends give me reason enough to support these women, whether it be 22 or one lone angry employee.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am a former employee of Get Fresh. I am sorry but I don’t understand why you are so defensive of this restaurant/ so disbelieving of these allegations? I feel your self righteous/suspicious energy is exactly the kind of thing that make it so hard for women to come out about these kinds of experiences…here we are taking a step towards our own personal justice and truth and here you are, siding with the offender because you’ve “never seen him be a dick.” There are so many other places in the area you could eat at whose owners have not been accused of sexual/verbal harassment. This is not “attacking aimlessly.” We want to inform people about what this guy is really like, but maybe we don’t want to sacrifice our privacy? Especially if people like you still do not believe us and here we are with our names and faces out in the public eye? You are entitled to your “opinion” and you can do whatever you want, but I guarantee you these allegations are not at all fabricated or exaggerated, so please get off your high horse.

  5. Terence says:

    I don’t want to start a flame war — you are as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. I am just saying it is hard to sue an anonymous internet posting as it would be the anonymous sender of a poison pen letter, and you can’t use that as proof the allegations are true. Some may be, some may not be — I’d honestly like to know, and have found articles that followed up that still didn’t get to the facts or name the accusers. If the claims are true, why haven’t they all named themselves and filed legal action? Some of the claims are about drunken sexual harassment and there are many laws on the books that cover that.

    If you haven’t been there since it was Get Fresh, you haven’t been there in years, and I have been. I feel fully for employees harassed to the point of quitting, and want wait staff to get rights and protection under the law, but this isn’t the best way to improve the work conditions there or at other restaurants. If the guy’s a dick, he’s a dick, but I haven’t witnessed that. I can only report what I have seen in five years of eating there regularly. Other postings have indicated that this kind of treatment is a recurring problem in the restaurant industry, and I would like to see this kind of energy devoted to improving conditions for them all.

    I think we agree to disagree, but would prefer to see real action taken, not anonymous defamation. If it is all true, or only part, it needs to be sorted out in a real way that makes real change in the world, and life better for restaurant employees across the board. That’s what I want to see — the people posting this having the strength to stand up for their rights, and really defending themselves, not just attacking aimlessly. I would defend them tirelessly if that were the case, in actions would benefit them and all workers subjected to the same treatment.

    • Paige says:

      I am also a former employee, albeit a short lived one. I quit after three days because I immediately witnessed Juventino’s hostile and demeaning behavior.

      I don’t want to be insulting but you sound a little divorced from reality. You can’t imagine that it might be a completely rational decision by the working class victims to avoid risking their ability to secure future employment by taking up dubious legal action against their wealthy employer? It’s not the victims’ burden to sacrifice themselves further to save the world through litigation. It is however perfectly acceptable for any one to want to tell their story that they know to be true and hope that the world may listen and respond.

      It’s fine if you don’t feel moved by this story to change your dining patterns. It’s clueless and embarrassing for you to presume to determine what exact kind of victim taking what exact kind of actions is deserving of public acknowledgement. These women are strong for leaving an unhealthy work environment, they are strong for finding an outlet to process their mistreatment, they are strong for publishing their story and they are strong for doing it in a way by which they felt comfortable and protected.

  6. Dave says:

    Paige, holy! – you have proof/witnesses, right… thought not. Let’s just go for the whole sci-fi book: was he chanting to a demon while his head spun around? More colorful, yet still with NO proof or even reflection of reality.

    “Strong women for leaving an unhealthy work environment” – one way to put it. Another is to note that they were fired and that they are sniping at the man FROM A BLOG.

    These are allegations with no proof except words on a blog. Observation: Fired people tend to blame the establishment in public rather than admit to being fired for half-ass performance. If you got fired by a sexist because of your gender, go to court and sue and let justice be done. Otherwise, you’re trash-talking from the shadows because you haven’t the intestinal fortitude to go public and/or admit that you lost your job for cause.

    Fact: He’s the chef, the owner’s a woman; she wouldn’t put up with underpaying the staff, sexism or poor management. She’s a woman’s rights advocate, and you are .. oh yeah, fired.

    Fact: Wealthy, the Chef? That’s just funny. This guy’s an outstanding chef, but his purse doesn’t reflect his talent.

    Expecting patrons to change their dining habits because of unfounded allegations is kind of like convicting a person before any proof has surfaced — wait, it’s EXACTLY that. Un-American much? or were the Salem Witch Trials a good thing in your world?

    I think I’ll wait for proof before I bounce because of BS on a blog from a few of people who were (sarcasm follows) OF COURSE perfect and honorable employees who ABSOLUTELY didn’t deserve to be fired by an evil tyrant of doom (sarcasm complete) – employees who haven’t moved on to some of the above-mentioned establishments and not yet been fired again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Dave,

      I am sorry you feel it is necessary to say such things, certainly the sheer volume of women who have come forward with negative experiences at the establishment is something to consider? I am a former employee of this establishment. I definitively quit – and was certainly not fired. I have since gone on to work at establishments where I am treated fairly. I do not know if some of the former employees decided to take legal action or not – but I do know that if they did bringing it up on a blog may not be the best for their case.
      Juventino was also let go from his former job as a teacher at the Culinary Institute of America for sexually harassing students. Coincidence? I think not.

      This blog was also written about by blogs such as the Huffington Post and Jezebel and I can assure you that their reports confirmed these allegations before bringing this forward to the public.

      If you choose to continue to dine at ad defend Juventino’s that’s on your own conscious, just know that you are supporting an owner who has chosen to sexual harass his employees and pay them less than the legal minimum wage. Then again, based on your comments above, perhaps this is just your type?

      – (One of many) former employee

    • Kristin says:

      Hi Dave. I worked with the J word piece of trash well before he opened his own place. HE IS A SEXUAL PREDITOR AND DIDNT PAY ME THE ENTIRE 2 MONTHS I WORKED IN HIS KITCHEN AND SHOWED UP PARKED OUTSIDE MY APARTMENT 2 WEEKS AFTER I LEFT THE JOB AND WOULDNT LEAVE. I’m only finding this blog now. I worked for him a decade ago. Hope he’s not your friend. He’s a real peice of shit. And I’ve worked MANY years in industrial kitchen. He’s the biggest piece of shit I’ve ever seen. Open your eyes if you haven’t seen by now.

  7. Alex says:

    Sorry about your bad experience. Why don’t you get together and sue him?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Juventino is a sexual predator. Period. Women have been fired for not sleeping with him, wages have been withheld. He threatens them, belittles them, breaks them down so they think it’s their fault, and even shows up at their homes to beat on their doors if they rebuff him. Period.

    Alex, the whole reason why sexual predators thrive is because they are in positions of power and they abuse *behind closed doors.* If you’d like to understand why the women he has raped, threatened, harassed, or fired haven’t sued him or come out publicly you might consider reading up on the effects of such trauma on victims and on the success rate of such trials from the perspective of those abused. Our criminal system operates on the “innocent until proven guilty” premise. Unfortunately, victims of sexual assault (whether children or adults) can rarely provide the burden of proof necessary to convict their perpetrators. Also, the whole experience of being cross-examined causes victims to relive the trauma of the abuse. The gaslighting they experienced (you’re lying, you wanted it, you’re just an angry employee) during the abuse is also replayed by the defensive attorney. This is why therapists do not encourage prosecution — they encourage healing, which can be a lifelong road. Most victims of such abuse want nothing more than 1) to recover and move on with their lives 2) to help protect other potential victims.

    Time and again, bystanders jump to the defense of sexual predators rather than learning about the signs, signals, and patterns of interpersonal behavior that would properly identify them and protect others from the abuse.

    There are excellent books and resources out there discussing all of this. A quick Google search would even be enlightening. I’m sure all of these women would be so grateful if just one more person actively decided to become aware of the nature of this abuse. I know one of them. She is still afraid to walk down 5th Ave.

  9. Brian Spinks says:

    I always thought there was something weird about that place but I couldn’t quite place it. I liked the food, though it was clear the chef was a little full of himself. After a few times we stopped going there–it just had *really* bad vibes.

    The closing of Juventino is a victory for these women. Congratulations. Please keep fighting and telling your inspiring story!

  10. Dave says:

    I love across the street and never went there because of this blog. Are you psyched that it’s closed now?!

  11. Kristin says:

    I was hired by Juventino back in 2006 or 2007 for position as sous chef at Bonita in Ft Greene, before it shut down and became Romans. I was constantly sexually harassed by him. Even on the line during the rush. I couldn’t enter the walk in cooler alone without fear that he would come in behind me and try to corner me. I was occasionally humiliated at random in front of all kitchen staff. AND the 2 months that I worked there were UNPAID. Every time pay day came he would tell me my tax forms hadn’t gone through yet. He would also call me on the fly early morning on my day off and tell me if I wanted to keep my job that I would come in ASAP. The day I left was the day I called the General manager of the company and got my first pay check after 2 months. Never went back. 2 weeks later, Juventino texted me late at night telling me he was parked outside my apartment. I shut my phone off and locked my doors. I hope he’s learned something by now. Fucking Rat.

    • Kristin says:

      If I had understood the severity of the situation then, things would’ve gone down MUCH MUCH differently. I was 25, very far from my family and making things on my own. I had experienced worse situations than this in the past being a female in the kitchen without comradery, everyone higher-up I told was skeptical. And so in my past experience had found the best way to move on was to get away, take the hit, and move forward. I wish I had looked around to find this blog years ago. We could have roasted this mother fucker. I had no idea he was doing it to other women.

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