Dear John Letter: Pissing On A Restaurant’s Grave

Dear Restaurant Grave-Pissers,

So I’m not going to write this one in the form of an actual letter, because I’d have to contort my writing to fit into that format, and I’m no contortionist. First of all, because I am not just trying to stir things up here (believe it or not), I want to say that I myself have done this on social media within the last 6 months and was scolded and chastened.

Within the last few months, three prominent businesses have closed or are in the process of closing (Blackbird, Bows and Arrows, and Enotria). Mostly spurred by social media, there have been some really ugly things said. Really, really ugly. I won’t repeat them here.  In my case, on a facebook thread about Blackbird, I took the opportunity to trumpet my own review in the SNR, including to reinforce what I said about bad service still being in effect. I wouldn’t say I was gleeful , but others were. I actually didn’t read the extensive comments after that, but it’s my understanding from what I heard later that people from the restaurant read it (of course they did – small community), and that also a local chef came on and did a kind of “shame on you” comment. He then mentioned this to me in person since I missed it, and apologized. I was embarrassed and assured him that no apology was necessary – I was in the wrong.

Over the years, because of my food writing, I’ve gotten to know quite a few small business owners and I have gotten a better understanding of the travails of owning a restaurant, and the rise of the internet as a way for those with valid and just plain stupid opinions to relentlessly critique them. It’s great for businesses to have feedback, and can be helpful, but for many reasons it can often be unfair or just simply wrong. And, especially on fb, personal attacks and rumors often play a part. There is a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking about any restaurant that’s failing, but unless you’ve owned a business it’s hard to know what is going wrong.

I’m not saying that any given person doesn’t have the right to be critical, or air their criticism. I’m just asking you to maybe have a shred of compassion for the people whose dreams have just died and don’t rub salt in the wound in a public forum, especially when you probably don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

Love,
Becky

 

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Becky
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