Chris Bianco Responds to Claim that Customer Was Kicked Out of Pane Bianco for Speaking Spanish

Categories: News

panebianco-lawton.jpg
Claire Lawton
Pane Bianco
Yesterday a Phoenix resident took to social media with a serious accusation against one of the Valley's most famous restaurants. Last night Pane Bianco responded on its Facebook page and today chef Chris Bianco spoke about the matter with Chow Bella.

Jeffrey Peterson, a technology entrepreneur and investor, posted on Facebook that he had been "thrown out" of James Beard Award winning chef Chris Bianco's Pane Bianco restaurant in Phoenix.

He claims he was told by an employee that the "dining room is for English speakers only."

See also: Chris Bianco on Jamie Oliver, the Local Chefs He Most Admires, and What Makes an Awesome Pizza Awesome

Peterson has since taken down the post (or made it private) but you can read the status update below. In it he claims he was asked to leave the restaurant because he was speaking Spanish.

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The post received nearly 100 comments and many shares.

Late Thursday night Pane Bianco released the following response on the restaurant's Facebook page:

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Pane Bianco chef and owner Chris Bianco had this to say about the incident, "I'm horrified by this accusation and it isn't a policy."

The chef, who has restaurants in Phoenix, Tucson, and London, also adds that Spanish is regularly spoken in the restaurant by both customers and employees.

Bianco is one of the state's most famous chefs and opened his first restaurant at Town & Country in Phoenix in 1994. Pane Bianco has been open since 2002.

Peterson, who is chairman and CEO at Mobile Corporation according to his Facebook, is best known for founding Quepasa, an online social media community for Hispanic Americans.

Peterson founded the company in 1997 and took it public in June 1999. After being ousted by a new CEO later that year, he regained control of the company from 2002 to 2006, at which time he sold it to billionaire investor Richard Scott.

Peterson has not returned emailed requests for comment, but if he does we will let you know what he has to say.

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Location Info

Pane Bianco

4404 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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77 comments
sandraleticia
sandraleticia

and now tonight the response from bianco management that was on pane bianco's facebook page was taken down, because more than one report showed up on bianco's facebook of a food server working in the dining area who has recently been rude to customers. it's more than one complaint. it's not about pane bianco or chis bianco, it's about a single employee.

ruiz.oracle
ruiz.oracle

nod to the poster from tucson, i don't think petersen needs notoriety, what did quepasa have when he sold it last time, 40 million members and most of them spanish speakers. he sold it to rick scott who was the billionaire chairman of columbia hca healthcare now governor of florida. this is not a insignificant figure who complained.

wubba43
wubba43

Yeah man, I have seen Bianco around town too. I mean what kind of person would work their ass of their entire life, give back to the community, be a loving husband and dad! I mean, coming around to the tables to make sure people are enjoying their food and anytime he hears a compliment he is beyond humble about it-what a stolido! Get your facts straight, it is pretty ignorant of you to support anyone who would trivialize something so important as discrimination simply for their own personal notoriety. 

Downtown_Bob
Downtown_Bob

The problem for Bianco is the "top down" attitude that permeates through the staff at his restaurants.  Bianco is notorious for being an a**hole and people get mistreated all the time.  Not surprised that someone was thrown out for speaking Spanish.  I have had run-ins with Bianco and have seen him and his staff treat patrons like they should feel privileged to eat at what is frankly an overrated pizza joint.  Bianco-- what a stolido. 

Sean D. Sweat
Sean D. Sweat

Obviously fake -- Pane Bianco isn't even in downtown.

la_sandy78
la_sandy78

there is at least one extremely rude food server who works at Pane Bianco. Way too friendly. arrogant chatty and had a staring problem. We were three girls there speaking spanish and he spotted us the moment we went in there. he kept finding reasons to drift past our table and said lame things to us in both english and spanish like he was showing off. Didn’t give him time of day and as we were leaving he threw a moderate insult in spanish, Chilangas. we were saying in the car afterwards he was so creepy and offensive we wanted to call to complain but we didn't. He struck me as the typical badass from mexico who goes to the u.s. and thinks he is better than everyone. This was a few weeks ago, have never had problem with Bianco before that incident. it was one of the best places to go in phx. I could totally see that food server being rude to others.

David Martinez
David Martinez

Ive spoken Spanish while eating there quite a bit actually. To staff, other patrons and my dinner companions alike. I smell shenanigans.

markztucson
markztucson

i doubt peterson needs 15 minutes of fame as some wrote in this blog. i remember seeing him out in national media. not local media. CNN. he is a real guy and was in business with Gloria Estefan from what i recall. for him to publicly say that about spanish is big, i am sure something happened but i agree with others, it is a good restaurant. if the waiter is a jerk then don't go after the owner, bianco is golden. 

Rob Brady
Rob Brady

Another asshole looking for their 5 minutes of fame.

Lawson Clark
Lawson Clark

We eat at Pane Bianco all the time, there is no way any of the employees would do that.

Monika Woolsey
Monika Woolsey

I can'tIf you're a jerk and you speak Spanish don't blame it on the Spanish. Jerks come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and languages.

Fred Barlam
Fred Barlam

TOTAL BS! There is no business owner in Phoenix who is more open to diversity than Chris Bianco. Putting him through this is totally unfair!!

Ron Costello
Ron Costello

Chris would never be prejudice. He didn't say it it but I will...BS

Suzanne Vilardi
Suzanne Vilardi

Am I the only one bugged by the line in this article that states "Bianco is one of the state's most famous chefs and opened his first restaurant at Town & Country in Phoenix in 1994"? Was the writer not alive when Pizzeria Bianco opened in1988?

Carol Anne Byrnes
Carol Anne Byrnes

I agree -- if the was thrown out for speaking on his phone in Spanish, he was probably thrown out for speaking ON HIS PHONE, not because he was speaking Spanish.

Adrian Penswordhand
Adrian Penswordhand

I've had many meals at Pane Bianco as well as Pizza Bianco and have had nothing but great service. I've also dined with Spanish speaking family there and have had no issues. I would have to call BS on this one considering my experiences.

meaculpa
meaculpa

Mobile.co has absolutely no connection with Exxon Mobil ... they seem to be, on Facebook, creating their own PR through a PR website.  The domain .co was just started in 2013 ...  I think this guy is fishing for hits to his website, looking for investors needing to show traffic.  So whatever you do, don't look him up on Facebook or click the company on Facebook or click his website.  Its a publicity stunt!   What a snake! 


Mea C Ulpa
Mea C Ulpa

He''s probably using this publicity to build a business and get investors... sick sick sick... shady shady shady... #notinvestmentworthy

Mea C Ulpa
Mea C Ulpa

Oh and the address linked on his Facebook is for Mobil as in Exxon Mobil corporation not his company shady shady sheister

Rebecca Hilary
Rebecca Hilary

Ha well this guy is likely lying. Regardless... We were annoying. lol.

Nikki Walton
Nikki Walton

If this REALLY happened why didn't he ask to speak to someone higher up the food chain?!?

Jin Grimwade
Jin Grimwade

Bianco attracts a pretty cosmopolitan crowd and he knows that. Being a savvy entrepreneur there is no way he would condone that type of behavior of an employee. I agree that it is more likely a ploy for hits on this guy's blog. Whatever.

Jan Mills Jr.
Jan Mills Jr.

I wonder if he is friends with the couple that blogged and whined on FB about getting 86'd from The Attic. Attention whores, the whole bunch.

Sara Bissell
Sara Bissell

He was probably told not to be on his cellphone in the dining room and then got a stick up his butt about it. And I doubt any employee said anything about speaking a different language there, do you know how much reputation they would lose by being fired for that reason from a Bianco restaurant?

John Ryden
John Ryden

que pasa? cake pasta... I'm sure it was just a mispronounced menu item

Randy Hahn
Randy Hahn

I agree with some others, probably asked not to speak on the phone loudly, you know the type, and was offended by it.

Jennifer Salazar
Jennifer Salazar

Who is to say that this "employee" DIDN'T say these things?! (Which has nothing to do with Chris Banco himself) No one knows except those that were there. Maybe the employee hates working at Binaco. Maybe the employee is just a damn jerk. Whatever the case, I'm sure Chris Bianco has taken action.

Michael Orticelli
Michael Orticelli

More likely he was asked to take his phone call outside and was offended. Poor little man.

Deborah Posner Peoples
Deborah Posner Peoples

I have been there many times and have only spoken Spanish and have never had a problem...I don't believe this story!

Cris Cross
Cris Cross

Im sure its all B.S. Dumb people trying to cause problems.

Nikki DeLeon
Nikki DeLeon

That guy is a liar. No way that happened. Pane Bianco is the last place that would happen.

Dennis Russell
Dennis Russell

Maybe he was kicked for bothering other customers by talking on his cell phone in a restaurant! (I know. That didn't happen either, but sometimes I wish it would.)

Stephanie Surratt
Stephanie Surratt

This just sounds ridiculous. I agree with other sentiments posted here. It didn't happen at this restaurant. Anyone who frequents Chris Bianco's restaurants knows the more diverse, the better. Ridiculous.

Larissa Gaias
Larissa Gaias

Rebecca Hilary, guess we weren't the most stressful table at pane bianco last night

Sara Davis
Sara Davis

Im suprised he wasn't kicked out for talking on his cell. Many nice restaurants dont allow it.

Julio Rodarte
Julio Rodarte

I have spoke Spanish there and wasn't kicked out.

Matthew H. Owens
Matthew H. Owens

Extremely suspect. Lux and Pane Bianco attract an extremely diverse crowd. Out of all the places where something so damn ignorant could possibly happen, this is the most unlikely place I can think of.

FarFromGreece
FarFromGreece

Chris Bianco is iconic in Arizona, never heard of the other guy. Matter of fact, Chris Bianco is one of the nicest, most humble individuals I've ever met. Whatever happened, if anything other than an obnoxiously loud patron asked to leave, it had nothing to do with Chris or his restaurant. I've heard the staff speak Spanish in Pane, unabashed, in front of people. While one can't rule out a misunderstanding, you can be certain that guy wasn't kicked out just for speaking Spanish.

Nancy Robinson
Nancy Robinson

He's just trying to get media attention. It's a shame that people try to take others down to get their 15 minutes of fame. What a douche.

jca2014
jca2014

Why are people so fast to assume that such a complaint is false when it comes from such a credible source? Google his name. This guy is iconic in Arizona and one of the top authorities on Hispanic media in the USA. People were posting on Facebook that the waiter who threw him out is Hispanic and so the story must be false. But the elephant in the room, a complicated but very real fact in Hispanic culture is prejudice and elitism within the Hispanic community itself. Mexican-Americans who believe they are too good to speak Spanish. The kind who say “English only” to their own family and treat 2nd generation relatives from Mexico like dirt. It probably is nothing to do with Pane Bianco or Chris Bianco but one a$$ waiter with a bad attitude. And now that waiter falls back on his race to defend himself. If I were the owner I would look seriously at a complaint with possible big media implications and consider both sides before I blindly sided with my own wait staff, and here is the important part, regardless of race, and called the customer a liar, again, regardless of race. This is about respect or more precisely, lack of respect, people of any race can be racist.

Miranda L. Lopez
Miranda L. Lopez

If true, the restaurant or its owner/famed chef should NOT be blamed for the remarks of an insensitive employee. Sounds like a set-up to discredit a fine establishment!!

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