There are two sides to every story, including those posted to Yelp and the like. And for those disputes, court is now in session.
The Post and Courier Food section weekly features a complaint that first surfaced online, along with testimonies from the patron and restaurateur.
You, the readers, are the jury. Join us in our Facebook group to weigh in on whether the customer is indeed right, or if the case should be resolved in the restaurant’s favor. Let’s enter the courtroom.
Jessica lives in Mount Pleasant. She runs, swims and lifts weights. According to her Yelp review of Sushi Taro, she has a body mass index of 21; Jessica did not return messages from The Post and Courier.
The CODFather promotes itself as the area’s “only authentic and traditional British fish-and-chip shop.” Adam Randall opened the restaurant in North Charleston in 2015, and three years later relocated to a bigger space closer to Park Circle.
Jessica enjoyed what was on her plate: She praised the fish breading as “crunchy” and tartar sauce as “great.” But she was concerned about what wasn’t on her plate. Namely: A vegetable other than mushy peas.
“I'd like to see coleslaw, or side salad, or even celery and carrots as a side offering,” she wrote. “Probably will not come back…as a health conscious person, I need something fresh to balance out everything being fried.”
Like many restaurateurs, Randall says he’s sometimes baffled by Yelp reviews. Although The CODFather has received plenty of online praise, he’ll occasionally come across an opinion he’s forced to dismiss as “whimsical nonsense.” For example, detractors will complain about the fish being greasy.
“Of course, it’s a little greasy,” Randall says. “It’s deep-fried in oil!”
The coleslaw question, though, has dogged him since he first posted the restaurant’s menu. His explanation has been the same from the start.
“We are a real, authentic British-style fish-and chip shop,” he says. “That’s what I designed, that’s what I built, that’s what I operate, and that’s what you came to enjoy when you headed into our restaurant.”
Randall suspects certain customers aren’t doing enough research before they select restaurants. As evidence, he points to a patron who was crestfallen when she couldn’t get pizza, since she thought she was at The GODFather. While that only happened once, customers routinely ask Randall what kind of fish he uses.
“Seriously, come on,” he says. “The FLOUNDERfather doesn’t sound as good.”
If customers took the time to learn about the British fish-and-chip tradition, Randall says, they wouldn’t demand coleslaw or chicken fingers. And that’s perhaps their best strategy, since Randall has no intention of ever serving either.
“I won’t sell out,” he says. ““I’m sticking to my guns, and I’m sticking to my plan: Proper fish and chips.”
Who’s right in this situation? Is Randall bringing people closer to Great Britain by precisely replicating its fish-and-chip shops? Or should he comply with demands from customers who expect something as simple as slaw with their fried fish? Join the discussion at bit.ly/PCfoodFBgroup.