What do you do about a bad review?
I was thinking this morning -- as I checked my e-mail and saw there was yet another e-mail about my Pappas review -- about how restaurants handle bad reviews. In the case of Pappas, of course, bad is a little strong. Less than enthusiastic might be a better description.
I don't know if the restaurant asked its loyal customers to write me or if it was simply a spontaneous eruption of outrage that's still deeply felt, but that's one way to counteract a bad review. Or to simply express your anger. ...
Another way restaurant owners have responded in the past is to write a Letter to the Editor. Or these days with the blog they could write me and I would post their rebuttal once I confirmed it was theirs.
Or they could respond the way Piv's Pub did to Richard's review, which I thought was incredibly clever.
It reminds me of Gizmodo post last spring about how San Francisco's Pizzeria Delfina responded to bad Yelp reviews. The restaurant had T-shirts printed up with the worst comments on them for the servers to wear.
But back to the Pappas e-mail this morning. I wasn't ready to handle a lot of rage this morning so I put off opening it. When I did, here's what it said. (There's some Zen principle here I violated by too much anticipation.)
I read your review and don't doubt a word. And not to demean anyone, I grew up in Hamilton, and regularly drove by Pappas most of my time in Baltimore, it's the ideal setting for the local residents. As you said, nothing fancy; probably the same dishes prepared the same way for years and the locals love it (or at least see no need for change); kinda like the old Sip 'n Bite or Jimmy's in Fells Point, the steak place on Frederick Road in Catonsville, Kibby's and one or two places on Fort Avenue (although they may have changed direction since I left B'more). Is the house of Welsh still open? That was a favorite of my parents in the 50's and 60's.
(Tasha Treadwell/Sun photographer)