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Inspired by Jimmy Kimmel‘s series “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets,” Compass Rose is bringing together restaurant owners, managers, bartenders, and chefs to read their worst reviews and angry emails at an event on June 21.
“These things do affect you… It hurts,” says Compass Rose owner Rose Previte. “I think this is therapy where we can all come together and laugh. That’s really all you can do sometimes. Often, we can’t change their minds. Often, it’s not worth engaging.”
The night will begin with happy hour from 5 to 10 p.m. (for liquid courage, presumably), and then Previte’s husband David Greene, an NPR host, will lead the readings beginning at 10 p.m.
In addition to Previte, the line-up includes Bar Pilar‘s Jonathan Fain, The BBQ Joint‘s Mel Hunter, Columbia Room‘s Derek Brown, Cotton & Reed‘s Lukas Smith, Chez Billy Sud‘s Elizabeth Parker, and Room 11‘s Ben Gilligan. Afterward, there will be karaoke—”the only way to bounce back after airing our critiques.”
The event is the brainchild of Compass Rose general manager Maria Bastasch. “For a while there’s been this broader discussion in the restaurant industry about the power that Yelp has,” Bastasch says. The goal of the event is “finding humor in something that sometimes is not so funny.”
The readings won’t only be limited to Yelp reviews though. Expect of tweets, Facebook posts, and emails too. Previte says she plans to read an email she received from a guest she accidentally spilled Champagne on over New Years Eve a couple years ago. Previte acknowledges fault, but “this email destroys me. It’s so mad,” she says. “It’s written at like 12:38 in the morning. Literally minutes after it happened, this girl wrote me a page-long email about how much she hates me.”
A dramatic reading of the email by Greene for the staff has basically become an annual tradition at Compass Rose, but this is the first time it will be shared publicly. “It’s a staff favorite,” Previte says.
And just in case you miss the event, we hear there will be a video. Stay tuned.
This story has been updated to reflect Elizabeth Parker’s move from Le Diplomate to Chez Billy Sud.