It may be time to repent of ever having made fun of a restaurant with a dumbass moniker that sounds like the hipster name-generator barfed it up, like, I don’t know, “The Obsidian” or “Crown & Spatula.” A few days after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was quietly asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., right-wing outrage has spilled far outside the borders of The Old Dominion.
A Mexican-American restaurant in Napa with the same name has seen its Yelp page come under attack with poor ratings, as if service plummeted at exactly the same time a completely unrelated Red Hen took a principled stand. That most of these one-star pans originate far outside Northern California should make their purpose obvious, and of course, Yelp’s algorithm has registered the anomalies, posting an “Active Cleanup Alert” message.
Jeanie M. of Plano, Texas, valiantly tried to outsmart the bullshit detector with this made-up complaint about pubes in her beans: “My family and I stopped in to grab some dinner, and I wish we wouldn’t have. The food was cold when it was brought to us, there were black curly hairs in my beans, and it’s WAY overpriced. I was disgusted and will never return. But even more so, I’m making sure everybody knows what happened when we went to this restaurant. Unforgivable.”
Closer to home, one semi-local who thinks you vote at restaurants, Ken V. of Fremont, wrote, “They will never get my vote – all politics aside LOL
Welcome to communist USA.
Refusing service for any reason beyond shoes, shirts is anti-American.
GROW UP CHILDREN!”
His only other Yelp review is of a Maserati dealership in San Jose.
Well-intentioned people have done dumb stuff, too, promising to patronize the Red Hen the next time they’re in Wine Country. (Truly doing the Lord’s work, owner Norman S. has responded not only to the hate-filled trolls but to one Catherine B. of North Vancouver, Canada, who pledged to return once they’re no longer in the “middle of a political firestorm, which I don’t care about.”)
SF Weekly contacted the Red Hen to see if everything was all right, and it seems that the collateral damage is contained to Yelp. No one has phoned in a death threat, raised a ruckus in person, egged them at night, or otherwise vandalized the place. We wish them well.
Meanwhile, the fallout continues at the Lexington, Va., Red Hen, whose owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, resigned from a local volunteer-based nonprofit. Noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has called for “secret surveillance” in anticipation of a left-wing false flag operation. And a Red Hen in Limerick, Ireland, took some heat as well.