File this story under either “Truth in advertising” or “If you can’t beat ‘em, mock ‘em.”
The restaurant industry website Restaurant Hospitality reports that Craft & Commerce, a San Diego gastropub, entertains customers during visits to the lavatory by broadcasting reviews of its food and service. But C & C isn’t tooting its own horn. The critiques, all culled from the social media site Yelp, are negative.
“The food doesn’t live up to the hype,” grumbles a voiceover, reading the remarks of one unhappy customer. “Biscuits that taste like the ones from Red Lobster but half the size. Average fried chicken. We’ve had better mussels at Bleu Boheme. And the bacon ice cream sandwich? Re: bacon—just because it’s trendy, doesn’t mean you have to do it.”
“Fries—too chewy and hard,” another complains. “In my opinion, not ideal. If I came back, I’d substitute the fries for something else. You know, like replacing one American puppet dictator with another. You know, to eventually promote democracy or something like that….Attire—To blend in, dress up with hipster tones and flaunt a New York accent.”
Declares a third: “I have never been in a place that tries so hard. The place is jammed with hipsters eating corn dogs.”
Co-owner Arsalun Tafazoli explains that his purpose is not public self-flagellation over the restaurant’s failings. As he tells the San Diego Bugle:
We just thought that some of the reviews on Yelp were so melodramatic. The way these reviews are written, it’s like people are appalled at something we’ve done. So we thought this was a funny way to respond.
In any event, the restaurant can afford the bad press. It was recently named one of the 50 best bars in America by Food & Wine magazine, and its chef, Jason McLeod, was awarded two Michelin stars while cooking at Ria in Chicago.