Art Wong, 29, skims greasy fat out of the Snake Fries pan at the Golden Ramrod on Indy's Eastside.

Art Wong, 29, skims greasy fat out of the Snake Fries pan at the Golden Ramrod on Indy’s Eastside.

Controversy continues to swirl around a popular local restaurant that, according the reports now confirmed by the restaurant’s owners and managers, has been knowingly poisoning its own employees for decades.

Court documents show that employees of the Golden Ramrod restaurant on Indianapolis’s eastside have been working in conditions that slowly poison them, causing irreparable brain damage and early death in about one-third of all employees. Over the years, hundreds of cooks, kitchen staff, dishwashers, and wait staff have been affected.

Golden Ramrod manager Eric Dillford said that management has known about the poison for years, but has neglected to tell employees about it.

“We have a responsibility to our employees, and to the people we serve. Letting people know about the poison in our kitchen would almost certainly affect public perception of our restaurant, and that would be disastrous for everyone,” Dillford said.

The poisoning findings come on the heels of another scandal involving a Golden Ramrod employee. In February, chef Aaron Richardson, 33, was charged with armed robbery and assault in connection with the robbery of a southside liquor store. Golden Ramrod management fired him last week when security footage surfaced on social media of Richardson assaulting a liquor store clerk.

“Initially, they told me I’d have to miss a couple of shifts. I thought we were all cool. Then they just fired me,” said Richardson. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

Golden Ramrod owner George Whiteman disagrees. “We’ll do anything to foster the appearance of integrity. Aaron is a helluva guy, and we’ll miss him—though not the assault part of him.”

Whiteman also said the restaurant is addressing the poison issue. “Our employees are now required to wear paper masks in the kitchen, and we are running a Buy-One Entrée, Get One Free special,” he said.

The poison is said to pose no danger to restaurant patrons, the overwhelming majority of whom continue to back the embattled establishment.

“Where else are we going to go on Saturday night?” said Darla Warren of Indy’s Broad Ripple neighborhood. “There are no other restaurants in Indianapolis.”

Warren said she thought maybe she had heard something about the poisoning, but she wasn’t sure. “They’re getting paid, right? They have a choice about working there,” she said.

Oren Peabody, 27, says he and all his friends will continue to patronize the Golden Ramrod. "That taste like poison to you? Woo! In your face!" he said.

Oren Peabody, 27, says he and all his friends will continue to patronize the Golden Ramrod. “That taste like poison to you? Woo! In your face!” he said.

Richardson, too, has legions of supporters, who took to social media to protest his dismissal. “This is bull$^#@! I grow up wit arm robery get over it,” tweeted @RogerThis98. On Facebook, GregoryPeccary wrote: “This is just another sign of the wussification of Indianapolis. We have armed robbery! Deal with it! He just learned it from his dad! Don’t tell me how to obtain liquor and cigarettes, and I won’t punch you in the face! And now, the snake fries at the ‘rod will never be the same. Thanks, liberal social media assholes.”

According to sources, the Golden Ramrod posted record sales last year and expects revenue to increase this year.

The Golden Ramrod invites you to its world-famous Friday Night All-You-Can-Eat Blowout from 4 p.m. to Who Knows When! Steaks and pies, chicken and sides—and don’t forget the Snake Fries! Admission is just $85, and we’ve saved you a seat. See you here, Indy!

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Kitchen photo by Paul Keller (skimming off the frying pan  Uploaded by Yarl) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.