Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mayer and Weinsier - 40 years of filthy restaurants

Local 10's Jeff Weinsier, 2012.
"There's a dog in your kitchen."

On paper it doesn't seem like a great idea for compelling TV: Give a reporter a stack of restaurant inspection reports and send him out to confront the managers of the eateries about the cleanliness of their establishments.

And then there's Local 10's Jeff Weinsier. Several times a week, Weinsier swoops down on unsuspecting restaurant managers in Miami-Dade in Broward to ask then about their latest inspection results. The reports he brings back are anything but boring.

TV reports on restaurant cleanliness are nothing new in the Miami TV market.

In 1973, a young WTVJ reporter named Bob Mayer shook up Dade County's restaurant industry with a three month series of reports he called "Not on the Menu."

WTVJ's Bob Mayer, 1973.
"A clean restaurant has nothing to hide from a camera."

Mayer's reports prompted the county commission to pass new laws on restaurant cleanliness. 

Fast forward 40 years.

Local 10's Weinsier has picked up where Mayer left off, with an ongoing series he calls "Dirty Dining."

But that's where the similarity ends. Their styles couldn't be more divergent.

Mayer in 1973: Colorful polyester jackets with wide lapels. Big hair. Big sideburns. No concealed weapon permit.

Weinsier in 2013: Thinning, grey hair. Slight paunch. No jacket, no tie. Concealed weapon permit.

In 1973, Mayer accompanied restaurant inspectors as they made their rounds. Weinsier uses completed inspection reports to help him decide which eateries to profile.

Mayer's reporting style was non-confrontational and polite. He never entered a restaurant with his camera without first getting permission.

Weinsier? Well, check out his latest report see for yourself.

Pugnacious? Yes. But, then again, Bob Mayer never got a flustered restaurant manager to admit that "all restaurants have rodents" or got footage of a dog in a kitchen.

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"Not on the Menu" reports with Bob Mayer from 1973.


  1. I was working at WTVJ when Bob did "Not On The Menu". The problem was the county only had one inspector..Jack Kearns who also did the fishing report on Channel 4 ("Tight Lines And Good Fishing"). He pitched his frustration to Ralph Renick about how bad sanitary conditions were in the very finest restaurants (ironically, most smaller ones and fast food restaurants were fine) and how it was impossible to check all of them in a timely manner. Renick gave the story to rookie Bob Mayer. It was a big break for a youngster and the laid the ground work for a stellar career. Bob is retired, as I am, and we see each other weekly.

  2. Paunch? Thinning hair? Please show some respect...those comments were unnecessary and detract from your story. I admire Weinsier's tenacity


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