It’s kind of a weird story, but I actually got the old “lifetime ban” from my favorite restaurant, Mamajuana Café in Woodside, Queens. Sure, I probably drank a little too much of their famous “Jack Punch,” but aside from being a little tipsy, I don’t think that I crossed any lines that I wouldn’t have crossed if I’d been totally sober.
Do I want to get into this? OK, I’ll get into a little bit, just so you have some idea regarding the circumstances of the ban. I had requested a certain song from the house band. The guitarist said, “Sorry man, this is a Latin restaurant, only Latin music.” And I said, “OK, well, can you just play it in like a Latin style?” He said, “Sir, we don’t really know any Foo Fighters, I’m sorry.” Yeah he was sorry, the manager was sorry. Everybody kept saying sorry, sorry, sorry until it was, “Get out of here, and never come back.” “Really? Never?” I asked, unsure of how things escalated so quickly. “That’s right,” Frank, the general manager told me, “never.”
Well, I’ve been back. Sure, sometimes I’m more successful than others in skirting my lifetime ban, but they can’t keep me out forever, because I’m creative at figuring out how to get back in. And if you’ve been banned from your favorite spot, here are four ways to sneak back in.
1. Just walk in a pretend that everything’s cool
Don’t make a scene, don’t ask to speak to a manager or even act like you’ve ever been banned in the first place. Just walk up to the hostess, ask for a table, and sit down. It’s my go-to method of fighting the ban. You’d actually be surprised at how often it works. I’d say it’s like fifty-fifty. I guess enforcing a lifetime ban isn’t that easy, especially at a big place like Mamajuana.
Sometimes I get in, sometimes Frank might be at the door, ready to tell me to take a hike. Only one time was I actually in the middle of a meal when someone started hassling me. “Hey, you, what the hell are you doing here?” it wasn’t even Frank, it must have been one of his assistant managers. “Come on,” I said, “I already have apps coming out.” But he wouldn’t hear it, and he started bussing the water and silverware from the table before threatening to call the cops. Come on dude, talk about empty threats, you really want to have to make an argument in front of the police?
2. Grow a moustache and wear sunglasses and a big hat
If only that giant beard wasn’t so itchy, I’d have just kept it, started over at Mamajuana with a completely clean slate. It took a couple of weeks to grow in to the point where it graduated from “scruff” to “beard,” but once I had it, again, coupled with the sunglasses and the beard, I had absolutely zero problems getting in. But yeah, like I said, it was so itchy, and finally my boss came up to me at work and he was like, “Seriously Rob, final warning, shave the beard or you’re out.” And even though I don’t think it’s fair that my boss is in charge of my appearance, I gave in and shaved.
Obviously this trick only works for guys, the beard part anyway. For any ladies reading who happen to find themselves in a similar situation, I urge you to try the sunglasses and hat. But keep going, get even more accessories, make it like a huge disguise. What about a niqab? I mean, you probably shouldn’t wear the niqab and order any pork, that’ll probably send up some red flags that something might be up. But they can’t ask you to show your face just to see if you may or may not be banned for life. Tip: if you’re a guy, don’t try the niqab. I tried it, and not only did it not work, it wound up causing me a whole different set of problems which I can’t get into here.
3. Eat with a whole bunch of cops
Cops are pretty much untouchable at restaurants. You can’t ever tell them to leave because, what are you going to do, call the cops? I figured if only I could walk into Mamajuana with a whole table full of uniformed police officers, not only would Frank not have the stones to kick me out, but maybe he’d rescind my lifetime ban, thinking that I’m somehow connected with law enforcement. Maybe he’d even think I’m an undercover detective.
It took a while, but I wound up chatting up a bunch of officers I met one day at a deli. I made up this whole story about how I worked for a philanthropy and that we wanted to give something back to the local precinct. Would he happen to know six to eight officers that might like to join me for dinner at Mamajuana, in uniform? They said yes, and it totally worked. Frank just eyed me down the whole time, but he was way too afraid to call my bluff. Unfortunately, dinner was really expensive, and even though I said six to eight guys, they came with thirteen. So yeah, I can’t really afford to buy them all another meal for like a year or two.
4. Start dating the manager’s sister
This one’s one of my more questionable methods of beating the lifetime ban, but it hasn’t let me down yet. It involves a lot of detective work. I thought about following Frank home and seeing if he happened to live with any family, a sister perhaps that I might be able to ask out on a date. But I decided to go for the Internet route, searching his name via social media, tracking down his friends and family, waiting outside of the Bed Bath & Beyond where his sister works in the city, and “accidentally” knocking all of the stuff out of her hands while she left the store. “I’m so sorry, let me help you with that,” and then asking her out on a date.
My problem was that, after she got me into Mamajuana, things started getting weird. Frank predictably got in my face while we was sitting at table six, and I pleaded ignorance, acting like I’d never been there before in my life. I wanted to just sit around and gloat for a little while, but his sister got really aggressive. She stood up and yelled at Frank, screaming at him to stop controlling her life. It was a scene, man. And now she keeps calling me. I don’t know how to break it off, to tell her that I’m not looking for a relationship, that it was just kind a one-time date. Because, and she’s a nice person and all, but I think there’s more than a little something not right in her head. Seriously, she calls me like ten times a day.
Originally published at Thought Catalog.