When you're a popular mayor, it can be a real challenge to pick up the dinner check. At least it was last week, when Mayor Nutter and two guests dined at Parc, Stephen Starr's new French bistro on Rittenhouse Square.
When the mayor signaled for the bill, the server said Starr had insisted on picking up the tab. A nice gesture, to be sure, but also a pretty clear violation of the city's ethics rules, which do not allow city employees (even the mayor) to get their meals comped by Philadelphia restaurants.
When a reporter heard of the incident and asked mayoral spokesman Doug Oliver if the mayor often ate out for free, Oliver replied: "Absolutely not."
This was just a strange case, Oliver explained. Starr had left the restaurant by the time Nutter and company finished their meals, so the mayor couldn't insist on paying.