Mr. Friendly's

New Southern Cafe

In the News (page 2 of 2)

Soft Shell Season Begins!

Our favorite delicacy has arrived this week, the Soft Shell Crab!  Before you get too excited, Soft Shells are in high demand and we are never 100% sure they will show up with our deliveries.   Keep checking our website and facebook each day to see if we have them in stock.  Fingers crossed the season lasts through the Spring this year! 

The Shop Tart enjoyed them yesterday at lunch – click here to check out the story!

Hope to see you around the restaurant soon!  Eat local, eat great, eat with us!!


Shop Tart Shout Out!

The Shop Tart joined us for lunch last week to sample our already famous Chicken-n-Biscuits!  Oh, how happy it makes us to know she liked it so much!  Check out what she had to say by clicking here. 

And while this was just a weekly special, take a look at our Food & Spirits page to see when it will be back.  Our entire lunch menu is there as well.  Join us Monday – Friday from 11:30am – 2:30pm to try Columbia's Best Lunch Spot!! 

Hope to see you soon! 


Mr. Friendly’s Wins Big!

One of our favorite community publications, Columbia Metropolitan, just released their latest issue filled with a slew of “Best of Columbia” picks.  The list spans all sorts of things to do in Columbia; however we were most excited to read their “Best of Restaurant” choices!

We are so proud that Mr. Friendly’s won “Best Wait Staff” and “Best Restaurant in Columbia,” as did our sister restaurant, Solstice Kitchen, who won “Best Restaurant in Northeast Columbia.”

Thank you to everyone who voted for us this year.  We hope to keep impressing you in 2012!

Friendly’s Featured on Shop Tart Tuesdays!

The Shop Tart, a local Columbia celebrity, has her own spotlight on WACH Fox Tuesday mornings. And this past week, Mr. Friendly’s and Solstice were featured for the Dining with Dogs Event!  

This event happens once a month, weather permitting, and is available to whomever likes to treat their pups! Each pet will receive a 3-course dinner provided by the Pupcakes Boutique in Five Points.  All while their owners enjoy the regular menu offerings!
The cost is $12 a pet and all reservations are made through Pupcakes.  
Catch the video on Shop Tart by clicking here

Love for Carter Strange Event = Huge Success!

Monday's event for Carter Strange was amazing!  A HUGE thank you to everyone that came out and supported the Strange family.  In just a short amount of time, we raised a total of $4,536!  

Read the cover story, covering the event, in The State Newspaper here. 

The Hungry Lady Knows Best!

When we came across this blog, The Hungry Lady, this week, we just had to share it with our customers.  We thank you for the kind words regarding our food, service and atmosphere, especially since these are the things we care about so much and that bring our regulars back every week!   

Thanks Hungry Lady!!

 Read the Mr. Friendly’s Review by clicking here.


Off Manhattan Gives Friendly’s a Shout Out!

Click here to read about some cool things to do in Columbia, including eating at Mr. Friendly's!  This is according to the blog "Off Manhattan," which is a travel guide for native New Yorkers and tourists alike, promoting a "greener" lifestyle.  

This article stems from a recent FAM tour hosted by the Midlands Authority of Conventions, Sport and Tourism, with an Off Manhattin writer.  This familiarization tour got to show off what Columbia has to offer as a vacation destination! Thanks for all your hard work to spread the word CVB! 

The Truth About Mercury Levels In Fish

Yes, it’s been far too long since I updated my “corner”. But i promise it’s only because i’ve had more important things to do.
So instead of ranting about this and that, i’m using this opportunity to include a VERY INFORMATIVE email that I received from one of our Seafood Distributors the other day.
It is in reference to LIES that the media tells in regards to the dangers of Mercury Levels in fish.
And because almost 40% of our protein sales are Fish of all sorts, this letter is exactly what we want all “mercury-heads” to read!
So for now…Eat, Drink, READ, and be friendly!

Ricky Mollohan

An Open Letter to Journalists from the Seafood Community on Errors and Distortions in News Coverage

Over the last several years, the public has been hearing false messages about mercury levels in fish communicated through the mass media. These messages largely come from environmental groups pressing for stronger mercury emission standards and falsely claim women of childbearing age may have unsafe levels of mercury in their blood, putting their unborn babies and young children are at risk for neurological impairment. At the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), we agree discussions about eating fish should be central to our national discourse on nutrition. However, the way this subject is being covered raises troubling issues about the objectivity, accuracy, balance and sourcing of this specialized nutrition issue. 

What’s worse, it’s not just journalism standards that have suffered – there is disturbing evidence that readers and viewers are acting on the distorted information in ways that are harmful to their health.  Here are just a few examples of how the news media has played into the hands of agenda-driven environmental activists and presented distorted reporting as fact:

  • In November 2007, USA Today’s Larry Wheeler wrote: “As many as 600,000 babies may be born in the USA each year with irreversible brain damage because pregnant mothers ate mercury-contaminated fish, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says.” What Wheeler failed to mention was that EPA never made that claim, but that it was simply an extrapolation made by an agency employee whose questionable methodology and conclusions have been challenged by other scientists. A correction soon followed.  Further, Wheeler made the above assertion despite the fact that science shows mothers who eat the most fish have babies with the highest cognitive outcomes.
  • In January 2008, New York Times reporter Marian Burros conducted her own analysis of mercury in sushi that included remarkably similar methodology and conclusions to a report from environmental activist group Oceana that was released on the very same day her story was printed. Burros’ story contained multiple errors, distortions and omissions; most critically, misinterpretations of the EPA “reference dose” and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “action level” for mercury, ignoring the fact that both standards contain a ten-fold cushion of safety.  The paper’s public editor was forced to admit that the story “required careful judgment … and missed.”  He added: “I thought the package was less balanced than it should have been, given the state of existing research. James Gorman, an editor in the science department who reviewed the article before publication, said he had raised several specific questions but that in retrospect, ‘I should have raised more questions about the general presentation.'”
  • In many cases, reporters will uncritically pass along charges from activists, yet at the same time apply great skepticism to experts, including independent scientists, who take a pro-seafood stance.  In July 2008, the Winston-Salem Journal reported on a study that questioned the health benefits of tilapia. Reporter Richard Craver claimed NFI officials took issue with the research “because of its potential for affecting sales.”  However, no official with or employee of NFI ever made such a statement and the assertion itself is false. Craver went on to write that NFI issued a public letter criticizing the tilapia related research, when in fact the letter was from 16 independent, international scientists.  In response, the paper was forced to issue a correction on both points.
  • The wild stocks of Alaska pollock are generally acknowledged to be some of the best managed in the world.  Despite this, in October 2008, Reuters reporter Jasmin Melvin passed along a report from Greenpeace that Alaska pollock was on the verge of collapse.  The Greenpeace report was based on its own incomplete analysis of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s stock survey.  What Greenpeace didn’t say in its press release was that due to lower water temperatures, much of the Pollock had been driven to a lower ocean depth.  The complete analysis found the bulk of the stock closer to the bottom of the ocean, a phenomenon that has been common in recent years.  When confronted with the error by NFI, Reuters initially refused to acknowledge the additional information, but eventually relented, moving an updated story on its wires.  
  • In January 2009, an Associated Press article on tuna and mercury included the erroneous claim that the EPA and FDA advise women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children to avoid eating tuna because of its “high levels of mercury that can cause brain damage in babies,” – a demonstrable falsehood. In the very first paragraph of the federal seafood consumption advice it is clearly stated, “women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits.” The advice then urges this sensitive subpopulation to avoid just four fish during pregnancy: shark, tilefish, swordfish, and king mackerel. Tuna is not included on the list of 4 species to avoid. The advice clearly states that it is safe and healthful for women and children to eat 12 ounces of light tuna per week or 6 ounces of white albacore per week.  When confronted with the error, the AP was forced to issue a correction.
  • At times, it can be hard to tell the difference between a press release from an environmental activist and what passes as mainstream reporting.  One such example is the work of Michael Hawthorne, a reporter at the Chicago Tribune who has regularly conflated industrial emissions of mercury with traces of mercury in commercial seafood.  Most recently, Hawthorne’s reporting has mischaracterized the latest science used by FDA to illustrate the overwhelming benefits of eating more seafood for optimal brain and heart health as a last-minute attempt by the Bush Administration to foil the efforts of EPA and environmental activists, rather than what it was – the culmination of years of scientific study and research.
  • Another example of a reporter repeating activist charges about tuna and mercury came in February 2009, when an AP report concerning international efforts to stem mercury emissions from industrial sources contained claims that tuna is regularly contaminated with industrial mercury.  Peer-reviewed science shows the vast majority of the mercury that accumulates in commercial seafood is produced by underwater volcanic activity – a critical piece of science that was recently the centerpiece of a court case rejecting an appeal by the State of California that would have required tuna to carry warning labels under the state’s Prop. 65 statute. The California courts ruled against the State Attorney General for the second time on the grounds that traces of “methylmercury in tuna is naturally occurring.”  In a subsequent communication with NFI, AP refused to issue a correction, even as they agreed that activists may be “targeting” canned tuna as part of their larger efforts.
  • Most recently, America’s top fashion magazine, Vogue, showed why it shouldn’t stray too far from its primary area of expertise when it ran a feature on fish consumption and mercury.  Entitled, “Mercury Rising,” the story was written by sometime Hollywood screenwriter Bronwyn Garrity, who admits a “Google-fueled freakout” spurred fears that generated the story rather than discussions with her own doctor or other health experts.  Besides relying almost exclusively on activist sources like Oceana and the Environmental Defense Fund, Garrity, while interviewing an official of the EPA, neglected to consult an official of the FDA, the government agency responsible for dispensing nutritional advice to Americans. She also failed to mention the new, landmark FDA draft report on fish consumption that reported cognitive benefits for 99.9% of babies and young children, as well as its role in preventing 50,000 deaths a year from heart disease and stroke.  Also ignored: years of positive studies and reports on the benefits of increased fish consumption by The Lancet, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Institute of Medicine.

Readers and viewers deserve the truth.  When activists are cherry picking science or not using science at all to meet their rhetorical needs, they should be exposed, not showcased.

Contrary to some reports in the activist press, NFI wants an open dialogue with journalists.  We believe such a dialogue will support the balanced and objective reporting that journalists seek generally and is particularly important when informing the public about their diet and health.  Despite these past errors, allow us to offer some specifics and a few suggestions when approaching coverage about the seafood industry:

  • Reporters should seek out opposing views when an issue is in dispute.  Failing to contact independent scientists and/or subject experts from the seafood community to respond to unproven claims of the activist community should be seen as what it is, a basic violation of American journalism standards;
  • Despite being advised on multiple occasions, reporters continue to make the same mistakes about fish consumption and mercury. Below, find a table that contains the most common mistakes journalists make when reporting about fish consumption and mercury: 


Distortion Straight Fact
Representing the EPA’s “reference dose” as a per piece of fish limit or a per meal maximum. And characterizing the FDA’s “action level” as a number above which harm to consumers will occur. The “reference dose” refers to mercury consumption determined to have no negative effects over the course of a lifetime. Exceeding these safety measures does not indicate harm; both safety measures offer protection at levels 10 times or 1000% higher than the federal limits.
Conflating industrial emissions of mercury with mercury that naturally occurs in the ocean. The vast majority of mercury found in the ocean and ocean fish are the result of underwater volcanic activity and thermal vent releases.
Misrepresenting FDA guidance on seafood consumption as being applied to the general population. The current advice is exclusively for pregnant or nursing women, women who want to become pregnant and young children only. Pregnant women are eating less than 2 ounces of seafood weekly versus the 12 ounces recommended for optimum fetal brain and eye development.
Suggesting that the type and amount of mercury found in commercial seafood introduces a neurotoxin that is casing harm. The amount of mercury equated with overt brain damage has only been seen in industrial accidents and poisonings and not in normal fish consumption. The levels present in those instances are on a scale dramatically different than the levels seen in commercial seafood. Research shows missing out on the omega-3 and other nutrients in fish is a bigger risk to brain development than trace amounts of mercury.
Citing tuna as a fish to avoid during pregnancy. The FDA guidance recommends pregnant women avoid only four species during pregnancy: shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel.
Sourcing the EPA in stories about eating seafood almost exclusive of comment from the FDA. FDA has the statutory responsibility for commercial fish and the expertise to give nutritional advice.
Consumers need to choose their fish carefully and avoid high mercury fish. Pregnant and nursing women, women who want to become pregnant, and young children are the only group guidance exists. For them, there are only four species they are asked to avoid. No restrictions exist for anyone else. The ten most commonly eaten fish in the U.S. represent 90% of the fish Americans eat and all are naturally low in mercury.
Stores should post mercury warning signs. Studies suggest signs have a negative impact on pregnant women and consumers broadly because consumers may react by reducing or eliminating fish from their diet. FDA believes that seafood advice should be discussed with the targeted population for whom it is intended via physicians.
  • Reporters need to know that the independent scientific community has reached a consensus on the clear and significant net benefits of eating fish for prevention of stroke, sudden cardiac death (heart attack) and brain development during and after pregnancy.   For years there has been tremendous independent data that refutes the basic claims made by environmental activists who attempt to hijack a public health issue for use in environmental health propaganda;
  • Reporters need to be aware of the effect that reporting has on readers – negatively impacting public health – in this case by encouraging readers to limit fish consumption and deny them the proven health benefits of increasing the amount of seafood in their diet.

We encourage any and all responsible feedback on this issue, but we also want to let reporters know that we will be vigilant about confronting distortions and errors – and will do so publicly.

so you say you wanna own a restaurant? two? three?

Stop it.
Stop telling yourself these things.
I hear people say this to me all the time.
And whereas I know that most are kidding, and that there ARE plenty of you out there that are capable of doing it if you really want to, the fact is that this is a helluva business to be in.
And if you’ve been receiving my emails from Mr. Friendly’s and Solstice over the years, you’ve probably seen my own “ups and downs” within the text of my weekly banter.
But I live and die this stuff. Oh yes…I am obsessed with it to a degree.
But if I wasn’t obsessed with it, the restaurants WOULD NOT be as consistent as they are.
I don’t think that the restaurants that I own are the best. I can’t afford to believe that.
But I do know that we do things right. We treat people well (unless you are “that guy/gal”). And that goes for customers AND employees.
But it’s not just me who makes our places tick. Of course not.
It’s “us”.
And unless you are one of “us”, you have no business even thinking about owning a restaurant. Seriously, you are wasting your time if you are not one of “us”.
And what does it mean to be one of “us”? How do you know if you are? Well I can’t really tell you that without revealing incriminating some of my colleagues, but I can tell you a few ways that you know you AREN’T cut out for this biz.
So here I go with TEN WAYS TO KNOW YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS OPENING A RESTAURANT (and i mean a good one!)
1. You are a picky eater. Done. end of story. game over. you have no chance.
2. You are afraid of germs. nope. not for you.
3. You think that you “deserve” the weekends off. shut it. you don’t.
4. You think you have “the right people” to run the restaurant/s for you when you open. one or two “right” people? maybe. more than that. u crazy
5. You have convinced yourself that you can charge MORE than your competitors because your food is that good. you are not, no matter what you might think, the greatest Chef in the world. if you were, you’d already have a restaurant by now!
6. You have convinced yourself that you can buy the same goods as your competitors, but sell it for much less. wrong again. no one will trust your 2.99 burger, fries and glass of wine
7. You’ve told yourself “i could run a restaurant” while dining somewhere that it took 45 minutes for you to get your appetizer.
8. You believe in stealing employees from your competitors by making them empty promises where money and job security is/are concerned. word travels fast with these folks.
9. You think that the secret to making money in the restaurant business lies in having a good accountant. “Ha!” is what a good accountant will tell you!
10. You just want to “get out of the house” a little more!

I could go on forever, but I just started typing and that’s what came out.
Talk to you again soon.
And NO, i don’t want to open a restaurant with you!

a dinner with Robuchon, july 2nd, 2008

So what do I do when I’m not at the restaurants?
Well, for one, I TRY my best to travel. And when I do travel, I generally base 100% of my plans around where I want to eat.
And therefore, here’s a look at the fourteen-course menu that I was lucky enough to get to enjoy at famed Chef Joel Robuchon’s The Mansion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as I arrived an evening early for a quick three-day bachelor party for a good friend of mine.
Needless to say, it was nearly perfect.
Unfortunately I was all alone, but I think of plenty of worse ways to spend an evening alone!
Yeah, it was very expensive. But for as close to perfect as it could be, I didn’t mind spending the $$$.

L’Asperge Blanche
un blanc-manger aux copeaux d’amandes fraîches aux substances de citronnelle
White asparagus”panna cotta“, fresh almonds and lemon grass

La Tomate
en salade, huile d’olive au basilic, tomate mozzarella en gelée
Salad of tomato, olive oil with basil, tomato gelée topped with mozzarella cheese

Le Caviar
des fines graines de couscous iodé, une infusion prise à la crème de chou-fleur, un flan mœlleux d’asperges vertes
Thin couscous and Oscetra caviar, smooth cauliflower cream, delicate gelée of green asparagus

le jaune dans un ravioli imprimé aux épinards petites pousses et morilles
Egg yolk in a baby spinach ravioli with morels

La Saint-Jacques
en royale fleurie d’une émulsion à la ciboulette, galette au sarrasin
Scallops royal with chive emulsion and buckwheat tuile

Les Crustacés
la langoustine truffée et cuite en ravioli à l’étuvée de chou vert, l’oursin accompagné d’une purée de pomme de terre au café, le thé coralline parfumé au gingembre
Truffle langoustine ravioli with chopped cabbage, Sea urchin, potato purée with a hint of coffee, coral and ginger perfumed tea

Les Petits Pois
en fin velouté rafraîchi à la menthe poivrée sur un voile d’oignon doux
Light pea velouté with mint on top of a delicate sweet onion custard

Le Thon
rouge mi-cuit et légèrement fumé, semoule végétale aux algues et curry vert
Smoked and seared Tuna, cauliflower, Nori and green curry

Le Veau
en côte au plat avec un jus gras et escorté de taglierinis de légumes au pistou
Sautéed veal chop with natural jus and vegetable taglierinis flavored with pesto

Les Pousses de Soja
cuites comme un risotto aux zestes de citron vert et coriandre
Soy beans cooked risotto style with lemon zests and coriander

en petites paillettes givrées, lait caillé aux framboises
Red fruits granite, fresh raspberry and yogurt sorbet

Le Caramel
crémeux aux aromes “Arabica”, riz soufflé aux saveurs de cacao
Caramel crémeux infused with Arabica, chocolate rice soufflé

Le Café ou le Thé
escorté de mignardises

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