Troy Restaurant Owner Nabs High Yelp Rating After Social Media Meltdown

By Leslie Carp

Published June 19th, 2016

River Street, Troy, NY(Photo illegally swiped from some guy posing as Matt Wade)

TROY —Is losing one’s cool on social media a benchmark of success in Troy?

Diana Rhea, the owner of trendy Spanish bistro Saffron & Sangria on River Street, thinks so.

Just days after the inaugural ribbon cutting and grand opening of her restaurant, Rhea received a shocking blow to her reputation: a 2-star Yelp review from “Xipeng W.,” an RPI graduate student from Shenzhen.

“The servers were all stoned and clearly preoccupied with their waxed beards and antler tattoos. The food was inauthentic and overpriced. Tacos made with flour tortillas? Please!” said the scathing criticism.

Rhea, in a flurry of rage, initially turned to Facebook for moral support from fans of Saffron & Sangria.

“Suddenly I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m just another psychotic Troy business owner,’” she recalled. “It's a curse! But I have to admit, the other people who flipped out online are doing pretty well for themselves."

Several downtown Troy businesses, including Richard Nixon's Angry Bialys, Fatso Muumuu's, and The Sepia Satchel, have struggled to rebuild customer bases in the wake of their owners' late-night Facebook rants and Twitter wars.

In addition to virtually insulting neighbors, customers, and neighbors’ and customers’ mothers and daughters, a few are banned for life from competing establishments for urinating drunkenly in their competitors’ dining rooms.

Though Rhea quickly deleted her post, several Internet-savvy food-blog readers took screenshots of it before it disappeared and uploaded it to a popular image- hosting site, where it went viral and was shared hundreds of thousands of times.

The post said: “You all know I HATE DRAMA!!! That said, karma is a b**** and so is Xipeng W.! If she ever dares to show her ugly face at my restaurant again I will stuff a flour tortilla taco right up her stupid skinny b**** a**!”

Fortunately for Rhea, comments on her status update were overwhelmingly supportive. Some loyal followers and friends accused Xipeng W. of eating dogs and cats, while others explicitly threatened bodily harm to her family and friends. Many flocked to Yelp to show support.

Saffron & Sangria now has 391 reviews on Yelp, with an average rating of 4.8 stars.


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