When John Golden of The Golden Dish went to eat at The Honey Paw restauarant in Portland, Maine, the owner gave him two options–he could eat at the restaurant or he could write about it–but not both.
Finding this “request” odd, the food critic reviewed the restaurant anyway, giving it a very positive review.
Turns out the owner was really serious.
According to Portland Press Herald, he received an email stating:
“We wanted to take this opportunity to assure you that we were quite serious when we offered you the choice between dining at our restaurants and writing about them,” it read. “As pleased as we all were that you enjoyed a ‘ten-star’ meal at The Honey Paw, we must remind you that it was your last. Please understand that we are well within our rights to refuse you service, and that the choice to dine or to write was your own.”
They didn’t just ban him from the one restaurant, but from all the restaurants they own.
The owners singled him out specifically because they found his writing unprofessional.
I read through some of his blog posts on The Golden Dish. I found his writing style casual and accessible, not “unprofessional”.
In fact, I find a lot of restaurant critics writing to be pretentious and difficult to understand. He basically gives thumbs up or thumbs down on dishes in a clear, but funny way.
Reading through my own reviews, I’m pretty sure I’d get perma-banned if I reviewed their restaurants too. I’m pretty sure they don’t want me describing their guacamole as “bacon-y”. (…if they had it.)
And I’m pretty sure they’d ban a DC food blogger I like who rates restaurants in “noms” rather than in stars.