“LeBron liked me because I didn’t put up with his crap” — Exclusive Interview with Former XO Steakhouse Server Who Frequently Waited on the NBA Superstar

by Cleveland Frowns on February 21, 2012

Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative. — Henry Kissinger

—————

I had an important business meeting last weekend with Scene’s Vince Grzegorek at a local watering hole and our server happened to mention that (s)he used to work at XO Steakhouse in Cleveland’s Warehouse District back when it was one of the favorite post-game spots of LeBron James. LeBron’s exploits at XO being a subject of great historical interest, we of course asked some follow-up questions.

First, our source wouldn’t confirm or deny the infamous allegation that LeBron once left a $10 tip on an $800 check. (S)he told us that (s)he avoided any such problems by always adding the gratuity to his check. One time when (s)he did this, James responded by saying that he wasn’t “with” the folks that (s)he included on his bill. (S)he replied by telling him: “well, they need to give you some money, then.”

This is when (s)he told us: “LeBron liked me because I didn’t put up with his crap.” Of course. If only Dan Gilbert had this kind of smarts.

(S)he also told us that LeBron liked to drink apple martinis, which comes as no surprise because apple martinis are delicious, and if you had a job where you could take a four-hour nap every day to sleep off the sugar hangover, you would drink them, too. Relatedly, LeBron would ask his servers to have his steak (well done) already cut up for him, which corroborates a report by a (former?) server at Johnny’s who once told Grzegorek that LeBron would order his spaghetti cut up as well, and also of course enhances the credibility of our source.

Such new understanding on all sides of course sure to make things go that much smoother when LeBron finally comes back to Cleveland, who can even wait?

UPDATE: Grzegorek’s account of our conversation with the XO server is here.

  • Anonymous

    For all of the apologies you make for Lebron, defending him for drinking apple martinis is by far the egregious

    • Anonymous

      Keeps the doctor away, bro. Come on.

      • http://twitter.com/GHClevelandSprt Mike Stein

        Hold on, LeBron is as manly as J.D. from Scrubs?

        • Anonymous

          “appletini, hold the tini”

      • Anonymous

        What??? Everyone knows the saying goes, “A shot of JameO a day keeps the doctor away.” Duh.

      • Anonymous

        the problem isn’t that apple martini’s are girly (i love being girly, myself). the problem is that they taste gross.

        for keeping the doctor away purposes, i prefer real deal apples. honey crisp, if possible.

    • kjn

      Which makes me think of the girl drink drunk sketch from Kids in the Hall.

  • Vari

    Johnny’s on Fulton is fantastic. I know it was only briefly mentioned in this post but I wanted to reiterate what a fine establishment it is.

    • Anonymous

      I hear the chopped spaghetti is exquisite.

      • http://twitter.com/GHClevelandSprt Mike Stein

        If a downtown restaurant doesn’t add the LeBron Special — Chopped Spaghetti to its menu immediately, I will be disappointed.

        • Anonymous

          Hyde Park had a “Lebron-style” steak for awhile — any cut topped with shrimp and bernaise(?). Steak was served whole.

          I once saw RAC in Hyde Park after his extension and i gave him the bro nod.

      • Anonymous

        the idea of chopped spaghetti makes me sad.

        do you chop it just so that you can eat your meal quicker? or you can’t eat it the right way without getting all dirty? both are awful.

        • Anonymous

          Spaghetti always tricks me and jumps on to my tie.
          Just order Ziti or Mustaccioli.

  • Jaceczko

    Yeah, but did you have any conversations with Redskins DC Jim Haslett over continental breakfast while on vacation, whereat the highly placed coach divulged his team’s draft philosophy?

    As a wise man once said: “Pics or it didn’t happen!”

    Just kidding.

    • Believelander

      Or to paraphrase, “pics or GTFO”

  • Ess Eh

    wtf, who goes to a fancy steakhouse to get a well done steak. gross. might as well just eat a shoe.

    • eldaveablo

      I may not always agree with this excuse, but I think this is definitely the result of him lacking a father figure. I bet he also lingers in the left lane of traffic for no reason.

      • http://hardawayhatespittsburgh.blogspot.com PittsburghisforManLovers

        And leaves shopping carts sitting in open parking spaces once he’s done with them.

  • Anonymous

    XO def has my vote for best all-round steakhouse in Cleve (great chops, cool atmosphere and stiff drinks), plus Zdenko (the owner) is the man and a great host to anyone that comes in there regardless of if you’re in Lebron’s entourage or not. came to cleveland as a boy from Croatia tryin to make it in the world. plus Fortress is a pretty nice venue, although not sure how the clientele is there, i only went once when they first opened.. roasted garlic rub is da bombdiggity.

    also, as far as getting steak cut-up, it’s pretty common practice in a lot of the good steakhouses in NYC to do the same, especially my fave Wolfgang’s (no relation to Wolfgang Puck thank god)

    man, i’ve been in India for 3 weeks now, DYING for some beef, gonna go straight from Cleveland Airport to Swensons!

    • Anonymous

      Why would you possibly want your steak served pre-cut? That makes absolutely no gastronomic sense I can think of. You create 20x the surface area to release fat and heat. Unless you’re gobbling it in a minute or less, that’s just plain stupid.

      Although if you have it well done anyway, then who cares.

      • http://hardawayhatespittsburgh.blogspot.com PittsburghisforManLovers

        If you eat steak well done, order chicken.

      • Anonymous

        Go to Peter Luger’s and you’ll see.. comes out sizzling, so good.. but yeah, well done isn’t for me.. but if eating it welldone keeps me as ripped as lebron is, maybe i should try it..

        • Anonymous

          I’m sure it’s so good, I just don’t see how it wouldn’t be so better if you didn’t cut it up. Unless they cook it that way too so each piece is seared, like fondue. That I can support.

          • Anonymous

            actually, now that i think about it, the main reason it’s cut up is because they sell porterhouse for 2, 3, and 4.. if you get individual portion then it’s not cut up.. but disirregardless, it’s damn good cut up.. but mainly since it comes hot and fresh from the kitchen..

      • Anonymous

        he orders(ed) it well done, which in any real steak enthusiasts mind defeats the purpose and flavor of a steak. He knoweth not what he does.

        • Vari

          Anything above medium and you mind as well order steak-ums.

          • Anonymous

            agree 100%

      • Anonymous

        Maybe it’s a better vehicle for the steak sauce, or ketchup.

        • Anonymous

          OMG YOU DO NOT RUIN A STEAK WITH ANY SAUCE!!!!!!

          • Anonymous

            Oh, I know. Salt and maybe a little melted butter. I was goofing on LeBron.

    • Anonymous

      XO is fine, and has the way way way way way better location, but red (in beachwood) is the best steakhouse in town.

      • Anonymous

        yes, Red is def bomb.. but a pain to go to, especially if you’re trying to get into a night of debauchery afterwards… i.e Christie’s!

        • Anonymous

          Just drive 2.5 miles South from Red. Unempirically, of course.

        • Anonymous

          Now we’ve come full circle because don’t even get me started on Red’s caste system.

          “You can get this steak in Angus for $30, or you can get the same cut in our USDA prime version, which really has that marbly marbling quality that’s so marbly for $40.”

          • http://hardawayhatespittsburgh.blogspot.com PittsburghisforManLovers

            This sounds ridiculous. Upselling your steak? What business does a high-end steakhouse have serving Angus to begin with?

          • Anonymous

            Oh I was so heated, and even ordered the JV version precisely so I could be especially incensed by any shortcomings, but I have to report that it was absolutely delicious, one of the best I’ve ever had, so …

          • Anonymous

            JV version. Reminds me. Is there any chance Kanick can officially post the final JV standings and gently remind people that just because the winnings were directed to a charity doesn’t mean they don’t have to pay?

          • Anonymous

            Hey now! CASH THE CHECK! I paid my $25!

          • Anonymous

            GRR you are indeed a man amongst boys. I didn’t mean to imply no one had paid, but there are thems as what knows who they are….

          • Anonymous

            Thanks…still a little on edge about a 5-1 start and then losing the last 5. You win…and charity is good.

          • Anonymous

            on the way!

          • http://hardawayhatespittsburgh.blogspot.com PittsburghisforManLovers

            Sounds like the time I just got the regular chile cheese Taquito at 7-11 over Jumbo one because I thought I would have to re-paint the toilet walls again. Consider my mind blown. Stupid tasty perception changers on both accounts.

          • Anonymous

            >>>chile cheese Taquito at 7-11>>>

            !!!

            Respect

          • Anonymous

            Plus “angus” doesn’t even mean anything. It has nothing to do with the breed of the steer, or pretty much anything else other than a marketing stamp that a trade group can charge for.

            Personally I haven’t had anything much better than Portage County (mostly corn-fed) venison. A guy up the way sells a cut he calls deer sirloin. There isn’t much tolerance for error on the cooking but when it’s exactly right it can kick beef’s fatty ass.

          • Anonymous

            My god, why is someone feeding deer corn? Is he farming these things? There’s enough deer in NEO as it is.

          • Anonymous

            The deer are feeding the deer corn. I’ve watched a little herd wander up the neighbors hill to the farm on the top, and damn if each and every one of them didn’t take a second to give a little sparkly doe-eye that said “well well well, what do we have here?” before diving in.

            They are fat and happy out here in the sticks, and nothing so sick as “deer farming” goes on. At least as far as I know.

          • Anonymous

            Ah, good, that sounds alright. It would be an abomination to attempt to farm those animals. It goes against all that makes them tasty.

          • http://hardawayhatespittsburgh.blogspot.com PittsburghisforManLovers

            Not a fan of the deer except in jerky. Maybe I just haven’t had it right.

          • Anonymous

            needs to be a fat doe to begin with, and it can go from sublime to a gamy piece of leather in about 40 seconds in the wrong hands.

          • http://hardawayhatespittsburgh.blogspot.com PittsburghisforManLovers

            Angus is just the brand – kind of like Casio or Sony.

          • Drumbiker

            The Scottish Cattle and guitarist from AC/DC would disagree. Along with these folks…..

            The American Angus Association set up the “Certified Angus Beef” brand in 1978. The goal of this brand was to promote the idea that Angus beef was of higher quality than beef from other breeds of cattle. Cattle are eligible for “Certified Angus Beef” evaluation if they are at least 51% black and exhibit Angus influence, which include black Simmental cattle and crossbreds. However, they must meet all 10 of the following criteria, which were refined in January 2007 to further enhance product consistency, to be labeled “Certified Angus Beef” by USDA Graders:[18]

            Modest or higher degree of marbling
            Medium or fine marbling texture
            “A” maturity
            10 to 16 square-inch ribeye area
            Less than 1,000-pound hot carcass weight
            Less than 1-inch fat thickness
            Moderately thick or thicker muscling
            No hump on the neck exceeding 5 cm (2″)
            Practically free of capillary rupture
            No dark cutting characteristics

          • Drumbiker

            The Scottish Cattle and guitarist from AC/DC would disagree. Along with these folks…..

            The American Angus Association set up the “Certified Angus Beef” brand in 1978. The goal of this brand was to promote the idea that Angus beef was of higher quality than beef from other breeds of cattle. Cattle are eligible for “Certified Angus Beef” evaluation if they are at least 51% black and exhibit Angus influence, which include black Simmental cattle and crossbreds. However, they must meet all 10 of the following criteria, which were refined in January 2007 to further enhance product consistency, to be labeled “Certified Angus Beef” by USDA Graders:[18]

            Modest or higher degree of marbling
            Medium or fine marbling texture
            “A” maturity
            10 to 16 square-inch ribeye area
            Less than 1,000-pound hot carcass weight
            Less than 1-inch fat thickness
            Moderately thick or thicker muscling
            No hump on the neck exceeding 5 cm (2″)
            Practically free of capillary rupture
            No dark cutting characteristics

          • Anonymous

            I’m painfully aware of the CAB marketing stuff because the old translation house I worked for did all their stuff for Japan. But we also did their powerpoint presentations for retailers, which were very frank about basically saying “look, you can probably keep supplying exactly the same beef you are now, but if you pay us some dough you can slap our label on it.

        • Drumbiker

          I don’t know what all the fuss is about Red, XO, Cabin Club and the like. I much prefer the nearly 2″ thick, 1lb. Delmonico’s from my favorite West Side Market purveyor (get there early, these go quick). Fire up the Webber charcoal and leave the cast iron pan on till just about stoopid hot, sear that baby in the pan and finish over the grill. Best steak in town is on my patio, served with a GLBC selection – not an Apple-tini.

      • Anonymous

        I tried to get in to Beachwood, but they headed me off at the city limits and told me to take my poor ass and hoop-dee back to my low SES home.

        • Anonymous

          you might be thinking of westlake? beachwood’s limo libs are far too politically correct for that sort of thing.

          • Anonymous

            Perhaps times have drastically changed, when I got pulled over in Beachwood, circa 1978. They only left me alone very quickly because I am white and I was obviously an athlete. (I hope that comment does not appear as arrogant to you kids than it does to me.)
            Westlake was not nearly as ostentacious back then.

          • Anonymous

            Wifey’s got an uncle who was a policeman in Richmond Heights and Beechwood in the late 60′s early 70′s and openly laughs and brags that they all used to pull over black folk passing through “just to let them know not to think about staying.” It’s kind of a revelation to hear this stuff first hand.

          • Anonymous

            i don’t know about back then, but beachwood and richmond heights are really really different sorts of suburbs now, imo.

            for instance, i wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that still happens in richmond heights, but i would be surprised (and was surprised) to hear that about beachwood.

            but maybe i’m just being naive, and it still happens everywhere. awful.

          • Anonymous

            i dunno buddy. i’m sorry that happened to you anywhere, but if it did then i wish it had happened far away from where i live (i’m on the east side).

          • Anonymous

            It was not at all tramatic. Please do not cry for me Argentina.
            It was a little odd that the officer saw one of my best friends on the passenger side (Afro-American guy, his family let me live with them for more than a year and his father was a Cleveland police officer.)
            My buddy was controlling his temper and saying all the right things even though he wanted to pound the racist officer in question. (We were both very active in boxing and wrestling, but we knew that violence is always a bad idea even if someone may appear to deserve it.)
            The officer took me aside asked me about JP and then let us go with a smile and wave, but only after he made a racial slur.
            Not a horrible experience, but I became very protective of JP after that.
            JP told his father and his father called the guy, but he was too respectful of our (well actually my), youthful enthusiasm to tell us what was said.

    • Anonymous

      “man, i’ve been in India for 3 weeks now, DYING for some beef, gonna go straight from Cleveland Airport to Swensons!”

      To think that all the beef you troll for on the web isn’t enough to keep you satisfied. Savage. #heyooo #behereallweek

      • Anonymous

        what can i say, i call a spade a spade.. especially those who hate on Bron and Holmgren. SUPERFAN!

    • http://hardawayhatespittsburgh.blogspot.com PittsburghisforManLovers

      Please, Sizzler is hands down the best steakhouse anywhere and they don’t cut up their steaks like you are a five year old. And Applebee’s sizzlin sirloin? Gedoudahere. This is childish behavior.

    • Anonymous

      Biki, Cows are walking all over.
      Just give one the gentle and swift and start cutting some steaks

      • Anonymous

        yeah, not sure the locals would take too kindly to that..

        • Anonymous

          Just tell them it’s cool because you’re an American. People in foreign countries love when we do that.

        • Anonymous

          Awe shucks Biki, you out smarted me again.
          I hope that you get your steak very soon.

  • Anonymous

    The post-decision LeBron info coming out is really turning my 2003-2010 world on its head. It’s like when you were in 5th grade and you had this girlfriend that you never talked to whatsoever, and she broke up with you at recess, and it felt like it was the biggest, most world-crushing thing ever, and later you figure out that it all went down because, like, her braces were too tight or she was training guinea pigs or something and you’re like, “damn, not only did i not know her at all, but that was really silly for me to get all upset over this because we’re both just children.” Unempirically, of course.

  • Anonymous

    (S)he probably also had to feed him the last 1/4 of the plate, then burp him.

  • Anonymous

    This report is damning. Apple martinis, well done steaks, and he needs his food cut up for him? No wonder he’s immature, he’s a drunken ten year old.

    On a decidedly different note, I would also never ever take lessons on virtue from Henry Kissinger.

    • Anonymous

      lol – i too was thinking kissinger an odd choice, but frowns is pretty into the “don’t let prejudice about the source make you ignore real knowledge/wisdom” notion (see, e.g., his views on astrology), so maybe this is a species of that.

      • Anonymous

        Whatever Kissinger was wrong about that quote is just ancient wisdom on the susceptibility that comes with increased mobility (power, etc.), all over the bible and the yoga sutras, for sure. Kissinger put it especially well.

        • Anonymous

          Is it really wise? Or just a self-serving justification for powerful people to allow themselves more moral latitude than the less powerful? Of course Kissinger would put it well; that philosophy would especially appeal to someone like him.

          • Anonymous

            Not at all. The point is that the more mobile/powerful need to be more careful.

          • Anonymous

            No kidding? I don’t think I’m parsing the quote right.

          • Anonymous

            Think of it as a warning of the increased susceptibility that comes with increased mobility. Icarus works as one example. You don’t have to worry about flying too close to the sun if you don’t have any wings. Or as Kissinger might put it, it’s less impressive that one might avoid flying too close to the sun if he doesn’t have any wings to begin with.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah technically, but the topspin Kissenger’s formulation of it creates reeks of Nietzschean rot.

            Especially when you know a bit about Kissenger. Or went to school with Nietzscheam rotters who quoted this ad nauseum.

          • Anonymous

            Great comment Bupa.
            Do you read P. G. Wodehouse very often?

          • Anonymous

            I actually am PG Wodehouse but keep it under your hat.

          • Believelander

            I think the point we can all agree on here is that LeBron James doesn’t possess those virtues, but we can only hope he someday will gain them.

          • Believelander

            “Moderation is only virtuous for me, not all you poor pathetic shmucks.”

    • Anonymous

      NFB,
      What is wrong with a drunken 10 year old? You hater, every child needs a hobby. As a drunken ten year old, I ate my steaks very rare.
      (well….$1.99 per pound “flank steaks”/shoe leather that I got for half price from the day old/we dare you to eat this bin.)
      When I hear Lebron’s harrowing story of his upbringing, I sympathize and empathize, but he had it better than I did and better than millions of kids around the world.
      Be critical of Lebron for as long as you wish, but please have a little respect for drunken ten year olds, they usually show much more maturity and class than when Lebron occasionally puts his foot deeply into his mouth.

  • Alexb

    Omg Pete stop the Lebron nut cuddling already, you know i love you bro but you keep this up and we’re gonna do a 7th grade revival act where i give you the second beating of your natural life as it’s clear the effects of the first one are wearing off.

    :-)

  • Alexb

    but what kind of faggot like his steak well done, his spaghetti chopped…..and fucking appletini’s?

    seriously what kind of giant black faggot is this guy?

    • http://hardawayhatespittsburgh.blogspot.com PittsburghisforManLovers

      Wow.

    • Ronald

      Hire this man.

      /Steinbrenner’d

    • Coachie Ballgames

      Don’t feed the trolls.

      • Believelander

        Wow, most ignorant post ever.

  • http://www.redright88.com/ TitusPullo94

    Sounds like LeBron should have consulted this post before ordering his drinks: http://drunkard.com/issues/03_06/0306_manly_drinking.html

  • Dholl_omog

    if the waiter ‘read the tip wrong’ and the appropriate tip was provided, WHY DOES AN ADDITIONAL TIP NEED TO BE SENT OVER? because there really was a $10 tip in the first place. which everyone is glossing over.

  • Believelander

    THIS JUST IN: Highly qualified & credible astrologer Madame Zantara reports Dan Gilbert is actually LeBron James’ absentee birth father, and that he is aware of the fact! LeBron supporters in uproar.

    :rolleyes:

    I worked for 2 years with a man who worked at the XO and dealt with LeBron regularly. He hated the guy’s guts when he was here. Of course, all he had to do was give him some attitude and everything would have been fine.

  • Believelander

    THIS JUST IN: Highly qualified & credible astrologer Madame Zantara reports Dan Gilbert is actually LeBron James’ absentee birth father, and that he is aware of the fact! LeBron supporters in uproar.

    :rolleyes:

    I worked for 2 years with a man who worked at the XO and dealt with LeBron regularly. He hated the guy’s guts when he was here. Of course, all he had to do was give him some attitude and everything would have been fine.

  • Anonymous
  • No Green Zero

    Cut up my spaghetti too Mommy!

  • Jared

    Pete…looks like Barstool Sports and Yahoo picked this up…well done.

  • Ohhi

    He eats like a child

  • Guest

    yeah no shit he eats like a child. And how rich is his new advertisement where they claim Lebron is helping kids stay in and excel in school? Anybody that was at St. V’s during his tenure there is full aware of what that dude did in school. They had him in classes that were for mentally disabled students…that is not a joke or an exaggeration. And he slept through those. And now he’s gettin infront of camera’s and acting like he’s this great patron saint of the education system? An education system he could never be bothered with? This country has become so ridiculously fake on so many levels….everywhere is nothing but people piously blowing it out their asses. I’m sorry but that commercial watching Lebron beaming in back of the classroom like he himself gave a fuck when he was in school bothers me more than him leaving.

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