Asian restaurant hits back at food influencer’s ‘retaliatory’ negative reviews

Asian restaurant hits back at food influencer’s ‘retaliatory’ negative reviews
Image: KMOV St. Louis
Editorial Staff
March 31, 2022
An Asian restaurant in St. Louis was recently blasted by a prominent food influencer visiting the city – a move that the restaurant says came as a result of their denying his request for a collaboration. 
Corner 17, a Chinese-owned restaurant which specializes in noodles and bubble tea, took to Instagram to share their story once they were struck by the unflattering review from Antonio Malik (@antonio_eats_la).
Malik shared the review on his Instagram Stories, tagging the restaurant in two slides. Posting photos of two dumpling orders, he called one of them “the worst dumplings ever” using a vomiting emoji to describe its “floral taste.” For the taro dumplings, he wrote that they “taste like ass” followed by a laughing/crying emoji. 
The restaurant’s Instagram account posted alleged screenshots of the conversation that preceded the review, which appear to show Malik requesting $100 off his meal in exchange for recording and sharing a video of it to his page. The restaurant politely declined the proposal. 
In the caption, the business owner reflected on the incident and how she felt “threatened” by the influencer.
“An intentionally bad write-up from a large following influencer because of our refusal to accept their collaboration is unprofessional and a such hostile manner can simply ruin their businesses,” the owner claimed. “I want to give a voice to my Asian community that is ok to say no and turn down any promotional offers, no fear to stand up and defend yourself.”
The restaurant also went on to say that while they respect freedom of speech, there is a “limit.” 
Speaking to local news station KMOV, the unnamed owner of Corner 17 revealed that baseless accusations made by demanding customers aren’t anything new. 
“We grew up in a culture that we are really used to criticism,” she said. “We have got like people threatening us like, ‘Hey give us free food, otherwise I’ll call health department on you’ or ‘otherwise I’ll do this.’”
Malik also spoke to the station, explaining that he regularly shares with his followers a round-up of restaurants he doesn’t like. 
“Once a week I post different restaurants that I didn’t like, and I do that, and my followers know that,” Malik said. “Nine out of 10 restaurants would say ‘Oh yeah, come in, we’ll give you free food,’ it was not about that. It was a highly recommended place which was a disappointment because I didn’t like the food.”
The owner also accused Malik of not only disrespecting the restaurant, but also his fans, since he used his platform to “retaliate.”
Malik has since removed his posts about Corner 17 and made his Instagram account private. Meanwhile, Corner 17’s owners have expressed their gratitude for the support they’ve received online from their followers and those flocking to the restaurant’s pages to leave positive reviews.
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