Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just Conjecturin', Volume 46: Ultimate Burger

Back today with a new and lighthearted JC installment, a bit of a break from the heavy stuff in many previous posts. This time out it's a look at a tangential tale from the greater UB world, about a Costa Rican burger joint with a heckuva big UB connection, and a story shared just because it's entertaining.

Our protagonist this time is Tommy Percell, UltimateBet's one-time UB Customer Relations Manager, often posting on forums as UBTommy. (Yes, "UBTommy" incorporated a real person's name, unlike "FTPDoug".)

Percell, a Colorado native, worked for both UB and UBT (the Ultimate Blackjack Tour) at various times and was among several UB office workers who migrated to Costa Rica when the company relocated much of its customer-service operations there. And it was there that he fell in love with a tica, a Costa Rican girl named Milenna Perea, and as the two shuttled back and forth between CR and the States, they pondered opening an upscale burger joint in Costa Rica, targeting in large part, Costa Rica's sizeable US expat population.

Percell left UB not only on good terms but perhaps with, as it's been rumored, some UB-related backing. Percell and Perea pinched pennies to open up shop in Costa Rica, no shame in that, and if there was a UB backer, it might have been the UBT's Joe Pane, a former NYC cop who retired to become a professional blackjack player, a career transition for the ages. Pane and Percell were known to be good buddies around the UBT offices. (Pane, interestingly enough, showed up on the red carpet for Dan Fleyshman's Ksino/Victory Poker bash a year or so ago, before that site's aborted transition to the Cereus Network and subsequent folding of operations.)

Anyhow, the burger joint Percell and Perea opened up was called Doc Brown's, and it paid homage to its UB beginnings in its logo:

For comparison, here's the UB logo from the same era:

Here's the restaurant's interior and a shot of the happy couple from shortly after the restaurant's opening. They later sold Doc Brown's and moved on:

I guess the burgers were pretty darned good. If I'd been working in Costa Rica at that time, it's a good bet I'd have been one of the place's customers.

Update: For what it's worth, Joe Pane subsequently contacted me and denied being a shadow investor in Percell's restaurant, though he did acknowledge being good friends with Percell. Pane hasn't shared anything else about his UBT days, though I've made it known I'm willing to listen to his tales. The UBT? Lots of stories to share on that count.

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