NYT columnist David Brooks trolled by Newark airport restaurant with meal deal after $78 ‘food’ bill

David Brooks responded to criticism on Friday

Ariana Baio
Monday 25 September 2023 06:01 BST

David Brooks explains his recent post on X about the cost of an airport meal

A restaurant at Newark Airport has had the last laugh after New York Times columnist David Brooks claimed to have been charged $78 for a burger and fries - but failing to mention the alcoholic drinks that made up much of his bill.

Earlier this week, Mr Brooks posted a picture of his meal at New Jersey-based 1911 Smoke House Barbeque on X, formerly Twitter, with the caption: “This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible.”

1911 Smoke House later clarified that “80 per cent” of Mr Brooks’ tab came from multiple shots of whisky.

The exchange was widely shared on social media with author Joyce Carol Oates, Senator John Fetterman and actor George Takei weighing in.

1911 Smoke House has now capitalized on its viral moment by offering customers the “D Brooks Special” of a burger, fries and double shot of whiskey for $17.78 – the original price of the food.

The meal deal plus drink, added to the menu on Thursday, is 77 per cent lower than it would typically cost.

Maurice Hallett, owner of 1911 Smoke House, told The Independent on Saturday that the new deal will have a permanent spot at the Trenton location of the restaurant, and will be added to their Willingboro outlet when it opens in October.

“Getting great press and mostly five-star reviews,” Mr Hallett said, in a statement.

The restaurant has engaged in some light-hearted trolling after Mr Brooks put them on blast.

“Looks like someone was knocking back some serious drinks – Bar tab was almost 80% and he’s complaining about the cost of his meal, keeping drinking buddy – we get paid off everything,” the restaurant initially posted on social media.

Mr Brooks responded to his social media faux pas during an appearance on PBS News Hour on Friday.

He told the host that the tweet was intended to be a joke but that it was “insensitive” and he made a mistake.

“The problem with the tweet, which I wrote so stupidly, was that it was it made it seem like I was oblivious to something that is blindingly obvious – that an upper-middle-class journalist having a bourbon in an airport is a lot different than a family living paycheck to paycheck,” Mr Brooks said.

He added: “I was insensitive, I screwed up, I should not have written that tweet. I probably should not write any tweets.”

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