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 restaurant workers have been hit particularly hard — a well-known Raleigh restaurant manager is on furlough again. This time, violent thieves are to blame.

Raleigh restaurant insiders will say that if you’ve eaten at the Triangle in the past decade, you’ve probably met Justin Skinner or met a restaurant worker who knows him. He has served, run bars in countless locations and is currently the manager of 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 in the attack.

Skinner says he was waiting for an Uber near 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 mugged,” 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 entirely sure of the timeline.”

He still doesn’t eat solid food and suffers from persistent pain – facing an uncertain period of time, unable to work with a mountain of medical bills and no health insurance.

Vish Panjwani, owner of Mellow Mushroom Brier Creek and former college pal of Skinner from UNC-Wilmington, is now the latest triangle restaurateur to side with Skinner.

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

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

“Wherever you go, every restaurant you walk into, someone in that kitchen or that hospitality booth knows about it,” Panjwani said. “And I think that shows who he is and the positive stories he tells.”

Panjwani said her Tuesday benefit will come with bingo family help and music questions. He says the fundraiser will be a monthly event to help ensure Skinner gets the help he needs.

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

There was no word from Raleigh police on Monday about any arrests in Skinner’s assault and robbery.

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

Raleigh restaurant insiders will say that if you’ve eaten at the Triangle in the past decade, you’ve probably met Justin Skinner or met a restaurant worker who knows him. He has served, run bars in countless locations and is currently the manager of 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 in the attack.

He says he was waiting for an Uber near 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 mugged,” Skinner said. “It’s been a series of unfortunate events. I’ve been out of work for the past two weeks and I don’t know exactly what the timeline is.”

He still doesn’t eat solid food and suffers from persistent pain – facing an uncertain period of time, unable to work with a mountain of medical bills and no health insurance.

Vish Panjwani, owner of Mellow Mushroom Brier Creek and former college pal of Skinner from UNC-Wilmington, is now the latest triangle restaurateur to side with Skinner.

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

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

“Wherever you go, every restaurant you walk into, someone in that kitchen or that hospitality booth knows about it,” Panjwani said. “And I think that shows who he is and the positive stories he tells.”

Panjwani says her Tuesday benefit will come with bingo family help and musical questions. He says the fundraiser will be a monthly event to help ensure Skinner gets the help he needs.

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

There was no word from Raleigh police on Monday about any arrests in Skinner’s assault and robbery.

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