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Local restaurant raising concerns over bad review from social media influencer

St. Louis social media gurus come to Corner 17′s defense after L.A. food blogger gives negative review
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - A local business is coming to its own defense after a poor food review lead to an outpour of support from St. Louisans on social media. Corner 17, a local, authentic Chinese restaurant, is now in the midst of social media controversy after a Los Angeles social media influencer posted a negative review on Instagram.

“We grew up in a culture that we are really used to criticism,” Corner 17′s owner said.

The local restaurant owner didn’t want to show her face on camera for fear of retaliation.

“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’,” the owner said.

This past weekend, a food blogger from L.A. who was in St. Louis wanted to try Corner 17. Antonio Malik, also known as @antonio_eats_la asked the restaurant to come, film, and post the food in exchange for $100 off his meal. Corner 17 said they politely declined.

“I had people recommend me that place, and I had never been, and it had good reviews,” Malik said.

Malik reviewed Corner 17′s food to his more than 200,000 Instagram followers this past weekend, posting “worst dumplings ever” and “taro dumplings that taste like a**.”

Malik talked with News 4 Wednesday and said the entire exchange was blown out of proportion. That was after Corner 17 posted Malik’s exchange via private message and his public posting on his Instagram story.

“Once a week I post different restaurants that I didn’t like, and I do that, and my followers know that,” Malik said.

The posts Malik made have since been deleted and his account is now private. However, Corner 17 shared their exchange on its Instagram, saying they felt threatened by Malik with an “intentionally bad write-up from a large following influencer.”

“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,” Malik said.

Corner 17′s owner said the way Malik used his platform to “slander” their restaurant, was inappropriate.

“If you’re gonna retaliate, use your platform, it’s really disrespectful for your followers. To be honest, I really don’t see a lot of influencers do that,” the owner said.

Some local influencers and other St. Louisans have posted on social media today defending Corner 17. One long-time local influencer told News 4 he was shocked when he heard about the bad review.

“When it comes to having a social media platform, it’s better if you have a bad or just average experience to not really say anything,” Dante Barger said.

Barger is originally from St. Louis and has been a Youtuber for years now. He said it’s crucial for people with large followings to be conscious of what they’re posting, especially when it comes to small, local businesses.

“There’s a difference between being honest and being a jerk, those two are not the same thing. You can be honest about something without being rude or disrespectful about it,” Barger said.

Corner 17′s owner said they’re grateful for the many who have come to their defense online. They said they’re just here to serve good, authentic food, and they’re grateful to still be open after years of pandemic struggles.