I’d say the following is the most dramatic subject line I’ve ever received on an e-mail:
“Please Read. We have been betrayed. The end.”
It’s from the folks at Gypsy, Seattle’s very own underground restaurant. We posted about it back in September of 2006, February of 2007, and about cooking and eating at its sister venture Vagabond in March of 2007.
Gypsy was super passionate, always fun, and often tasty. The best thing about the few times I participated in one of their dinners was that the Gypsy folks were having a good time and trying to make something special. Dana even cooked for them several times.
And now, according to their e-mail, they have to shut down. Here’s the e-mail:
Camelot has ended.
We wake up, we go to work, we come home, we occasionally eat out. Most lives are fashioned after this pattern. Most restaurant’s lives are as well: make food, sell food, clean up, go home. Sometimes, a very magical sometimes, restaurants are able to trancend the merely ordinary and in doing so, transform to some small degree the lives of its patrons.
Gypsy has been this magical place for many many people. New friends, new ideas, new love, a salon of creativity. But as with all things destined to touch hearts, evil waits to take it away. We have been betrayed. Gypsy as we know it was too scary a place to exist, so now it doesn’t.
We are going much deeper underground. Those who really know how to get ahold of us, please email (please don’t call us), we will start a new list, a more protected list. Dinners are cancelled for all intents and purposes. And to the traitor to the clan we offer you this: May you never sleep well, may laughter sound bitter in your ears, and may food always taste like ashes to you…this is our Gypsy curse. You have destroyed a good thing.
That curse at the end is a real doozy. Some random thoughts on this:
- you’ll notice in the comments on my first post as well as reactions I got to it in person from former colleagues that the secrecy surrounding Gypsy was confusing to people. When I wrote about it trying to be vague I got accused of being a snob. (I may be a snob, but that’s not the right evidence to use.) When I told folks at work about it and was vague, the ones who already knew said “you mean Gypsy? What’s the big deal. Why are you acting like it’s a secret?” And for an underground restaurant, Gypsy actually was kind of confusing. They sent out e-mails. They had a website. etc. I always assumed it needed to stay secret and acted accordingly. But maybe not everyone felt the same way.
- I wonder if someone really did try to get them in “trouble”, and if they know that for a fact. I can only assume they do based on the content of their e-mail. Why would someone do that? Lame.
- And as Alex pointed out to me in conversation, it sucks when the government spends time and resources regulating things that don’t really need to be regulated. Not to create a whole debate here, but will an underground restaurant here or there really destroy society? Yes… I know about health codes, etc. I wonder if you could objectively rate every licensed restaurant in Seattle vs. Gypsy for absolute health code compliance where Gypsy would fare. I bet it would be among the top scorers. These folks were passionate about doing a professional job. And yes, I know you can’t necessarily count on the honor system with everyone. It’s still annoying though.
I hope Gypsy reforms. But I am surprised they announce that they’re reforming in the mail. Won’t the people they got in trouble with see their intentions? I guess I have a lot to learn about running a secret underground restaurant. Luckily, that’s not a requirement of my job. I just intend to eat there.
I wish the Gypsy folks luck, and I’m sorry someone screwed up a good thing.