SCOTCH PLAINS - A man who says he's a victim of sketchy bartending has filed a lawsuit against the Briad Restaurant Group and TGI Fridays.
Todd Tarczynski of Scotch Plains is breaking his silence about the class-action lawsuit because he feels consumers have a right to know more about accusations surrounding "Operation Swill."
The yearlong investigation into the alleged substitution of premium liquors with nonpremium brands was announced in August and resulted in the seizure of inventory from 29 licensed bars and restaurants.
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Among those included in the sting were 13 TGI Friday's restaurants, many of which are owned by Briad.
Tarczynski says drinks he ordered from restaurants like TGI Fridays often didn't taste right, and he'd send them back. However, when news broke about the undercover sting, he realized he had been to some of the Fridays restaurants.
"It's really a shame that a business would do that and stoop to that level just to cut a few dollars," Tarczynski says. "It's more about quality and bringing back customers and having a good reputation. Simply to do that is a shame and that's why I filed the suit."
Tarczynski says $500,000 fines and state monitoring aren't enough.
Operation Swill found some restaurants were serving bottom-shelf liquor, but also rubbing alcohol and sometimes water with caramel coloring passed off as drinks.
Tarczynski beleives it posed a health risk to hundreds maybe thousands of customers. He suspects orders came from the top to reduce liquor costs.
Neither the Briad Restaurant Group nor TGI Fridays responded to a request for comment.