The deputy managing editor of The Root had an unsettling experience after leaving a somewhat negative review about a local restaurant. On April 22, Yesha Callahan ordered a burger platter and zeppoles through Yelp from La Porchetta in Sterling, Virginia. When her food arrived 30 minutes later, the delivery guy kindly asked if she would leave a review on Yelp, and she said yes.
Upon opening her takeout container, Callahan says she found a burger without the fixings and some “sorry-looking” steak fries. Her zeppoles reportedly had little-to-no powdered sugar and were soggy. Completely disappointed with her meal, she left her honest three-star review.
“Tried this place based on the reviews and the fact they had zeppoles on the menu, which you don’t come by often. Ordered the cheese burger, which was very dry & unseasoned,” she said. “Also did not come with lettuce or tomato. The zeppoles barely had any powdered sugar on them & were soggy from the Styrofoam container. I would suggest sending them to people in small paper bags. Maybe next time I’ll try the pizza.”
Around 10:05 p.m. that night, when Callahan was in bed and nearly asleep, she heard a knock at the door. Startled, she stayed put, partly because, coincidentally, her power had been out all day. Then the phone rang, but she didn’t answer because she didn’t recognize the number. After it rang a second time, the caller left a voicemail: “Hello, this is [inaudible name], the manager of La Porchetta. I am outside your door. I want to speak to you about your Yelp review.”
Callahan didn’t want to get “ax murdered,” so she stayed in bed and called the police. When an officer showed up, he reportedly took a police report and said he would call the restaurant’s manager to urge him to stay away. As a precaution, Callahan is in the process of getting protection — but that didn’t stop her from reducing the Yelp rating to one star and updating her review to share her story with anyone thinking about ordering from the pizza place.
After hounding Yelp on Twitter for days straight, Callahan finally received a response from its team: “We're very sorry to hear about this and have escalated the issue with our delivery partner. We've confirmed that they are investigating and taking appropriate action, including terminating the restaurant's contract for violation of their terms of service. We appreciate you sharing your experience and updating your initial review to help educate and protect other consumers from this business owner's actions.”
The delivery service also reportedly issued a similar apology to Callahan over email.
Since the incident, La Porchetta’s Yelp page has been flooded with negative reviews, reducing the restaurant’s overall rating to one and a half stars. In a desperate attempt to limit the damage, the owner (who, for some reason, changed his avatar to an image of a black woman after the incident) has been responding to other Yelpers by claiming that the restaurant was only attempting to redeliver a second order.
“It is very Unfortunate that we sent the wrong message by attempting the second delivery to correct the first mistake. we have just started and we really wanted to impress our customers,” he wrote. Needless to say, Callahan probably won’t be trying La Porchetta's pizza any time soon — she might want to try these 101 pizza places instead.