An empty seat at the Table. April 26, 2010 6:49 AM   Subscribe

Some of you might remember this post about Talula's Table, the restaurant in Chester County, PA, that has a one-year wait for reservations. Earlier this year, Aimee Olexy and Brian Sikora, the husband and wife team behind Talula's, filed for divorce. Philly food critic Craig LaBan has a bittersweet article about the end of their marriage, and how Aimee and the staff at Talula's are soldiering on.
posted by shiu mai baby to MetaFilter-Related at 6:49 AM (25 comments total)

But Bryan felt left out of the planning loop between Aimee and Starr

Et voila. Three people in a marriage. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Reading between the lines on this he's characterised as a bit flaky and she's characterised as a bit dominant.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:01 AM on April 26, 2010


Interesting. I missed the excellent original post the first time around, so thanks.

And....seriously, philly.com? The photo in the bittersweet article isn't even REMOTELY in focus.
posted by nevercalm at 7:07 AM on April 26, 2010


Three people in a marriage. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Yeah, especially when Bryan says there's another woman.
posted by mediareport at 7:29 AM on April 26, 2010


Yeah, especially when Bryan says there's another woman.

It's interesting to me that this little fact was buried deep in the article, and only mentioned in a single sentence.
posted by zarq at 7:36 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to me that this little fact was buried deep in the article, and only mentioned in a single sentence

Cuz it's the least interesting part of the story?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:48 AM on April 26, 2010


Ugh. I was a big fan of Bryan's cooking and I'm very fond of Aimee, but I can't stand Craig LaBan's consistently overheated writing about them. Once again, LaBan exploits his personal relationship with them to inflate an article for at least a page past what its worth.
posted by desuetude at 7:49 AM on April 26, 2010


This was a front page article in the dead tree version of the Inquirer. They are really talented, but wow, seems a bit much.
posted by fixedgear at 8:38 AM on April 26, 2010


Cuz it's the least interesting part of the story?

Actually it's not. The reviewer is a big fan of the couple and their work. He has written about their restaurants in exceptionally glowing terms, and explained in several reviews that the secret of their success has been their teamwork, mutual support and ability to turn eclectic concepts into business ventures that appealed to the public. This article frames the dissolution of their marriage and working relationship in terms of Bryan's boredom and disenchantment with the business and Aimee's and Stephen's future business plans.

However, there's more to this situation. The couple's marriage was on the rocks, and one of them had cheated on the other. It appears as if Bryan didn't want to pretend he and Aimee were a happy couple anymore. I felt the reporter glossed over that.
posted by zarq at 8:52 AM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


For some reason the florid description of the restaurant and its owners reminded me of Artie and Charmaine Bucco, and Vesuvio from the Sopranos.

I can just imagine the bourgeois fashionistas lining up to eat at Talula's Table, with valet parking for their Suburbans and Escalades, and perhaps a little nook near the entrance to deposit their yoga mats.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:29 AM on April 26, 2010


Yeah, KokuRyu, you really don't know what you're talking about there. Aimee and Bryan, regardless of their marital woes, are about as unpretentious and accessible as you can get, which is remarkable given the volume of accolades they've racked up. If you're going to be all derisive, aim it at LaBan, who, as desuetude remarked above, is a grade-A ass-kisser when it comes to them, but they always seemed kind of awkward and uncomfortable with his journalistic rimjobs*.

The restaurant itself is sweetly homey, and the experience dining there like having the most extraordinary dinner party ever, except you don't have to cook or clean up. I'm sure that "bourgeois fashionistas" have dined there, but Olexy and Sikora definitely weren't courting that set, not at all.

Your sneering disdain totally misses the mark.

*Did I really just use the word "rimjob" in a post about a restaurant? Good lord.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:43 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


KokuRyu, the place itself is charming, gracious, well-run, with excellent food, and there is certainly no valet parking in downtown Kennett Square. Though given the writing, I can totally see how you would come to that conclusion.

But our chief restaurant reviewer has covered the couple in these sort of florid terms from the beginning. It's actually arguably hurt their reputation somewhat in the local food scene. No-one can live up to LaBan's purple prose regarding their establishments, and it acts as encouragement to those more in search of status than great food.

I'm not particularly surprised by this article, but seriously, the personal details of their marriage shouldn't be front-page news. Couples who run businesses together break up all the time. The gory details are better left to actual gossip, rather than cherry-picking those particular gory details that can be sort-of respectably reported.
posted by desuetude at 9:45 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Aimee is something of a willing participant in this. I'm puzzled as to why she'd give an interview to say that she still loves her ex-husband and is pining for a reconciliation. It may well be true, but it makes the divorce an ongoing personal drama.
posted by 26.2 at 10:24 AM on April 26, 2010


Shiu Mai Baby: There's this Thai place in west Philly that has bizarre/sometimes sexual names for some of their dishes. Things like: Between the Sheets, Sensual Salmon, Evil Jungle Princess. I think The Rimjob is one of their evening specials.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:28 AM on April 26, 2010


It does seem like it would be a horrendously stressful lifestyle. To be always booked 365 days in advance, no sick days, having to "perform" every night for people expecting this total interpersonal engagement from you...
posted by anazgnos at 10:57 AM on April 26, 2010


The image is in focus if you view it alone in a new window. I think looks blurry on the page due to scaling up the size for some reason.
posted by emelenjr at 11:58 AM on April 26, 2010


8dot3 you had better not be fucking with me. I might be in philly this summer and must go to this place and order the rimjob.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:14 PM on April 26, 2010


I've still been calling to get reservations, since it's practically local for us, and their menus are always intriguing. I'm glad to hear that both parties are moving on in productive ways, but it's always sad to see a marriage and a team end, especially when children (both their daughter and the restaurant/other projects) are involved.
posted by JMOZ at 1:33 PM on April 26, 2010


By making posts about this extremely limited capacity restaurant, aren't you just feeding the hype you claim to disdain?

I mean, it's like saying "hey guys, I just had this awesome experience! What? Oh, well you need connections, and even then there's a year long waiting list, so I wouldn't get your hopes up if I were you. But you can listen to me gush about how great it was for a while!".
posted by Pyry at 1:39 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


it's always sad to see a marriage and a team end, especially when children (both their daughter and the restaurant/other projects) are involved.

I was already feeling slightly low because of yesterday's Modern Love column. Modern Love is always depressing, so I got what I was asking for when I clicked on it. I don't know why I read things that are unpleasant.
posted by anniecat at 3:13 PM on April 26, 2010


I think looks blurry on the page due to scaling up the size for some reason.

For some reason unknown to me, many browsers use nearest neighbor interpolation instead of a higher quality algorithm like bicubic or lanczos for scaling images, and it always looks like absolute shit. It's a mark of a real amateur webmaster whenever an image isn't displayed at its native resolution, because it sticks out like a sore thumb.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:24 PM on April 26, 2010


I mean, it's like saying "hey guys, I just had this awesome experience! What? Oh, well you need connections, and even then there's a year long waiting list, so I wouldn't get your hopes up if I were you. But you can listen to me gush about how great it was for a while!".

You don't need connections, you just need to call, or check the website for cancellations.
posted by desuetude at 3:54 PM on April 26, 2010


I was already feeling slightly low because of yesterday's Modern Love column.

Thanks for linking it for all of us, anniecat. Modern Love is one of those things I can't resist and then spend the day wishing I could unsee.
posted by palliser at 5:47 AM on April 27, 2010


The restaurant you're looking for - if you want Evil Jungle Princess - is Lemongrass, which is a couple blocks North of Market at about... 39th?

Also, I'm a little sad to learn this, because I was looking forward to going to Talula's someday, but now I'm worried that I'd feel awkward knowing about their personal drama!
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:56 AM on April 27, 2010


Evil Jungle Princess and Young Girl on Fire are frequently found on Thai menus. (Anyone know why and when these names landed on menus? Are the dishes authentic-ish or are they totally fake Thai?)

greekphilosophy, you won't feel awkward at Talula's. It's, like, impossible.
posted by desuetude at 9:23 AM on April 27, 2010


Also, drunken noodles are often on Thai menus.

Some days, when I'm feeling really rebellious, I want to order those.

And desuetude, if I was ever at Talula's, I'm sure it would be with you and shiu mai baby, so there's no way I could ever feel anything other than *awesomeness.*
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:39 AM on April 27, 2010


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