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Tinucci's capitalizes on Randy Moss's criticism

The owners of a Newport restaurant are dishing back at ex- Minnesota Viking Randy Moss after the NFL star dissed its food last week.

Tinucci's of Newport and Woodbury is partnering with Twin Cities-based radio station ESPN 1500 to stage "Free Lunch, Homey" on Friday, where the restaurant will offer at a "bargain price" the same menu item its catering business served to the Vikings during a recent practice.

Several sports media outlets have reported that Moss threw a fit in front of a Tinucci's caterer last Friday while the employee was serving the Vikings players a post-practice lunch.

Tinucci's co-owner Gus Tinucci confirmed the story for the Bulletin and dozens of other media over the last few days after the report was first published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Tinucci said he was helping set up the lunch and a carving station for the players when Moss walked up, took one look at the spread of chicken, ribs and round of beef and began using expletives while criticizing the food.

"All the other Vikings players appreciated it, like our food," Tinucci said. "But got one bad apple and he was on a mission to ruin the bunch."

Tinucci said the restaurant is not responsible for the leaked report of Moss's tirade against the caterer. But as soon as the Pioneer Press called to confirm with Tinucci that the story was true, he said "everyone kept calling for interviews."

The news garnered extra attention after the Vikings released Moss from the team this week four weeks after they had acquired him in a trade.

All the media attention Tinucci's received for Moss's criticism of its food led ESPN 1500 execs to approach Tinucci and ask if he would be willing to stage a "fun-based" promotion at his restaurant that makes light of Moss's brief return to the Vikings.

As a result, from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday the Tinucci's Newport location will be offering free meals to the first 50 people who show up and turn in their Randy Moss jerseys.

The jerseys will not be burned, Tinucci promised.

"We are going to ship them to the Boys and Girls Club of Nashville," he said. Moss was recently acquired by the Tennessee Titans after he was waived this week by the Vikings.

The restaurant will also offer its lunch special for $8.40, a play on Moss old Vikings jersey number, 84.

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