Justin Skinner: Mellow Mushroom rallies behind Raleigh restaurant manager who was robbed, beaten


RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) – In an industry rocked by the pandemic where restaurants and food service workers have been hit particularly hard – a well-known restaurant manager from Raleigh is on leave again. This time the violent thieves are to blame.

Raleigh restaurant insiders will say that if you’ve eaten in the Triangle in the past decade, you’ve likely met Justin Skinner or met a restaurant worker who knows him. He has served and bar run in countless locations and is currently the manager of the City Club Raleigh. At 1 a.m. on June 19, Skinner was the victim of a violent crime in downtown Raleigh.

Skinner spoke to ABC11 via Facetime. He is still recovering from a broken jaw and nose suffered during the attack.

Skinner says he was waiting for an Uber near the Moore Square bus station on Hargett Street when two guys beat him badly before taking his wallet.

“I never made it in that Uber. I was robbed and then assaulted,” Skinner said. “It’s been a series of unfortunate events. I’ve been out of work for the past two weeks and I’m not quite sure about the timeline.”

He still does not eat solid foods and suffers from persistent pain – he faces uncertain weather unable to work with a mountain of medical bills and no health insurance.

Vish Panjwani, owner of Mellow Mushroom Brier Creek and Skinner’s former college buddy at UNC-Wilmington, is now the latest triangular restaurateur to side with Skinner.

“I heard about his story, I thought we needed to do something for him,” Panjwani said.

Skinner’s friends and colleagues have created a Go to the Fund me page which has raised thousands of dollars since it went live. And, Tuesday night, Panjawani pledges to donate a portion of all sales from his Mellow Mushroom to help Skinner pay his bills.

“Everywhere you go, in every restaurant you walk in, someone in that kitchen or that stall knows him,” Panjwani said. “And I think that speaks to who he is and the positive stories he tells.”

Panjwani said his performance on Tuesday would be accompanied by a family portion of bingo and music trivia. He says the fundraiser will be a monthly event to help Skinner get the help he needs.

“The outpouring of the community has been truly touching,” Skinner said. “Mainly for the food and beverage industry, including Mellow Mushroom and Vish and his team.”

Raleigh Police had no news on Monday of any arrests in the Skinner assault and robbery.

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In an industry rocked by the pandemic where restaurants and food service workers have been hit particularly hard – a well-known restaurant manager from Raleigh is on leave again. This time the violent thieves are to blame.

Raleigh restaurant insiders will say that if you’ve eaten in the Triangle in the past decade, you’ve likely met Justin Skinner or met a restaurant worker who knows him. He has served and bar run in countless locations and is currently the manager of the City Club Raleigh. At 1 a.m. on June 19, Skinner was the victim of a violent crime in downtown Raleigh.

Skinner spoke to ABC 11 via Facetime. He is still recovering from a broken jaw and nose suffered during the attack.

He says he was waiting for an Uber near the Moore Square bus station on Hargett Street when two guys beat him badly before taking his wallet.

“I never made it in that Uber. I was robbed and then assaulted,” Skinner said. “It’s been a series of unfortunate events. I’ve been out of work for the past two weeks and I’m not quite sure about the timeline.”

He still does not eat solid foods and suffers from persistent pain – he faces uncertain weather unable to work with a mountain of medical bills and no health insurance.

Vish Panjwani, owner of Mellow Mushroom Brier Creek and Skinner’s former college buddy at UNC-Wilmington, is now the latest triangular restaurateur to side with Skinner.

“I heard about his story, I thought we needed to do something for him,” Panjwani said.

Skinner’s friends and colleagues have created a Go Fund Me page that has raised thousands of dollars since it went live. And, Tuesday night, Panjawani pledges to donate a portion of all sales from his Mellow Mushroom to help Skinner pay his bills.

“Everywhere you go, in every restaurant you walk in, someone in that kitchen or that stall knows him,” Panjwani said. “And I think that speaks to who he is and the positive stories he tells.”

Panjwani says his performance on Tuesday will be accompanied by a family portion of bingo and musical anecdotes. He says the fundraiser will be a monthly event to help Skinner get the help he needs.

“The outpouring of the community has been truly touching,” Skinner said. “Mainly for the food and beverage industry, including Mellow Mushroom and Vish and his team.”

Raleigh Police had no news on Monday of any arrests in the Skinner assault and robbery.

Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All rights reserved.


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