Burglars steal cash, burger recipe from bistro

July 12, 2012 4:17:56 PM PDT
Some restaurant bandits have been caught on camera, breaking into an up and coming burger bistro. But it's not the cash loss that's upsetting the owner, it's the theft of something much more personal.

Plonk Wine Bar and Bistro is a rising star in the local restaurant world. Early Tuesday morning, there was someone who couldn't wait to get in.

"So he's broken the glass," its owner, Scott Miller said.

Miller still has a hard time watching the security video.

"He's struggling with the safe, he's got it on top of an office chair -- safe weighs about a 110 pounds," Miller said.

You see, Plonk is a labor of love for Miller, who went from being the wine director for Pappa's Steakhouse, then curating a private wine collection, to finally opening his own restaurant in Oak Forest about three years ago. Until now, he's been without incident.

"There is that violation of that burglary but you have to just get over that, you have to move on," Miller said.

For Miller, that's not so easy to say. He lost a modest amount of cash kept in the safe; but he also had some papers, and one of them was the recipe for the guanciale burger, an entree that put Plonk on the critic's favorite list.

Miller and his chef created the recipe. Erin Smith came up with what makes it special.

"In Italy, it's always made with guanciale not pancetta," Smith said..

And to chefs, there's nothing more personal than something they create.

"So if the motivation was in fact to get something like a recipe -- that's personal to us but we also feel we would have shared it with anybody who asked, so there was an easier way to get that answer," Smith said.

You need a stone oven and local ingredients to replicate the burger. Considering the thief also took spare change from the cash drawer, it's doubtful he was after the recipe. he stolen safe was replaced but was found nearby a few hours later, minus the cash and papers.

Plonk, though, hasn't missed a beat. It opened for wine and gourmet dining as usual -- but with more security alarms on the way.

"My biggest assets are my staff and my clients and I'm glad neither was injured. The rest can be replaced," Miller said.

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