Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
The owner of Nick’s Riverside Grill is now apologizing to the woman his staff wrongly accused of pooping in her pants after she left a one-star Yelp review.
“I believe that Nick’s Riverside Grill has made a mistake. After extensive research which revealed new facts, stern cross examination of the numerous employees involved, and speaking with the friends of the woman who wrote the review, there is clear evidence that a mistake in identity did happen,” owner Greg Casten says in an email.
The drama began last week when “Emma C.” left a negative review complaining about being overcharged for a drink and never getting a call back from a manager about it. Things quickly soured when a manager for the Georgetown waterfront restaurant responded by alleging that Emma had lost control of her bowels in the middle of the restaurant, sat in the mess, and left dirty clothes in the trash can.
“We would be happy to refund your entire bill with the understanding you will never return to any of our establishments until you are potty trained,” the restaurant’s Yelp post read.
Emma, who wished not to disclose her last name, previously contacted City Paper to clarify that she was not the woman in question and that the accusation “has already had a negative impact on me personally.” She did not know the other woman, who friends said was there at the same time.
“I’m just a dissatisfied customer who is now being accused by this establishment of being someone that I’m not, saying some very nasty things about me and also insulting this other girl who could potentially have serious health issues,” Emma said in an email.
As of yesterday, Emma was looking into hiring a lawyer, but now, she hasn’t definitively decided whether she will pursue legal action. She confirmed that Casten called her to apologize. Casten also told her that the manager who wrote the Yelp review would send her a formal apology as well. “I will decide about pressing charges once I actually receive the letter myself,” she says.
Here’s Casten’s full apology:
I believe that Nick’s Riverside Grill has made a mistake. After extensive research which revealed new facts, stern cross examination of the numerous employees involved, and speaking with the friends of the woman who wrote the review, there is clear evidence that a mistake in identity did happen. There were several factors in the mistake and obviously we feel terrible for the answer given, considering the writers complaint had nothing to do with the incident. If you truly want all the different aspects of proof, the additional factors and the strange coincidences that caused us to believe the response was aimed at the person involved in the incident, I can provide in a phone conversation – there is a lot of pieces here.
Regardless at this time I have very little question that the woman who wrote the review was in fact not the same person to whom the described incident occurred. We are wrong and we have reached out to apologize. And if you print anything about this, I would appreciate your including the apology to the writer.
While I did stand behind my employees and what they were confident of, I also stand behind them and believe this was an honest error and not meant to be anything other than an expression of disbelief that someone might lash out at our establishment considering the above and beyond the call activities that were necessary due to another’s situation. And certainly was not expecting the story to be a headline.
I too apologize for my part in all this. My mistake was in allowing the comment to go forward, although at the time I acquiesced, I did perform research and had good reason to believe the review was from the individual involved in the incident, erring on the side caution could have been the more prudent path. There is an interesting relationship between Yelp and restaurant’s and just as in this case, the truth is not always what is written. Although the details I wrote about were true, the identity of the person was a mistake and we acknowledge such.
As I said – yesterday was a busy day for me and I did not have time to get back to you until this morning. I have reached out, but have not heard back, nor have I ever been able to connect with the person who came to retrieve her card and wrote the review.