In response to a one-star review on Yelp by an unhappy diner, Chef Brendan Pelley of Zebra Bistro and Wine Bar in Medfield, Mass. took to his Instagram account to denounce the displeased diner, whom Pelley calls a “clearly mentally ill raging alcoholic.”
In her review, Yelper Kiki B. discussed the factors that went into the poor rating, including a long wait to be seated despite many empty tables, and then being urged to leave by the manager when Kiki and her dinner guest tried to order another round of drinks. The manager claimed that he could only serve them coffee from that point, and that they would do best just to pay their bill and leave.
Kiki noted, however, that in between her half-hour wait and being unceremoniously cut off, both she and her friend enjoyed the meal, which included several appetizers and an entrée, with wine and dessert. Kiki seems to have no qualms at all with the food, presumably the portion of her dining experience controlled by Chef Pelley.
Despite this, Pelley posted a screenshot of Kiki’s review on his Instagram page (since deleted) and commented, “Yelper ‘Kiki B’ neglects to mention that our restaurant had to get a RESTRAINING order against her because she is clear a mentally ill raging alcoholic that causes a major scene every time she comes near our restaurant.” Pelley further alleges that the situation escalated to include the police when Kiki questioned whether her poor treatment was because she belonged to the LGBT community. Pelley ended the rant with #yelpsucks and #getsomehelpkiki.
Since then, Pelley has released a public statement to Eater, where this story was first reported: "I sincerely apologize for expressing my frustration with a guest's review on social media. This is by no means the way Zebra's Bistro and Wine Bar responds to guest feedback and my words do not reflect the hospitality-first philosophy of the team here."
However misguided Pelley’s anger seems to be, Zebra Bistro’s defensive chef follows a long tradition of restaurants and their doing battle with their customers — a particular vendetta resulted in the creation of the potato chip.
In the age of undying social media, though, things get even more heated. The Braiser reported the tale of the vengeful chef who left an “Epic TripAdvisor Smackdown” for a dissatisfied patron of The Bladebone Inn and got the last word; LA chef Sang Yoon of Lukshon responded hilariously to a visitor who complained on Yelp about not receiving free cake; The Chive has video footage of a chef who “goes crazy and pays the price,” which is hysterical even without audio. Neil Ganic, chef at Le Petite Crevette, threw a live lobster on a table of patrons, and then banned them forever. Finally, who among us can forget the self-imploding public spectacle of Amy’s Baking Company, which continues to soldier on with these totally not forced holiday messages from their staff?