Viral Video and Yelp Backlash Deals Harsh Blow to Pizzeria

But in a solid example of PR damage control, the co-owner of a Goodfellas Pizzeria location in Lexington, Kentucky, responded quickly and masterfully to an ugly situation.

Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports complains about an "ice-cold" slice of pizza in a harsh video review that caused grief for a Goodfellas store.

Barstool Sports

Never underestimate the power of a viral video. The owner of a Goodfellas Pizzeria shop in Lexington, Kentucky, learned that the hard way this week. But his handling of the situation was a good example of masterful damage control in the age of social media.

The Goodfellas Pizzeria in the Distillery District saw its Yelp rating plummet overnight after an employee kicked out Dave Portnoy, the founder of the Barstool Sports website, for a negative video review while the cameras were rolling.

Blunt-spoken and all attitude, Portnoy visits pizzerias around the U.S. and rates their pies from 0 to 10 on the spot in a video series called “One Bite with Davey Pageviews.” He was complaining on-camera about his cheese slice from the Goodfellas store when an unidentified employee stepped up and asked him to leave.

“Frankly, this one could have been sitting around for a while—it is not warm,” Portnoy complained, after pulling a large slice from his pizza box.

When someone off-camera shouted, “9.1,” Portnoy responded, “It’s ice cold. They gave me an ice-cold slice. You could go ice fishing with an igloo on this.”

As shown in the video, a Goodfellas employee promptly approached and asked, “You guys got permission to shoot on my patio today?”

“Uh-uh,” Portnoy answered.

“Cool. So I’m gonna need you to make your way out this way,” the employee said, pointing away from the pizza shop.

“OK,” Portnoy said. “I’m gonna give this a 0.0. Goodfellas! Kicked out! National pizza review, 0.0!”

After handing off the mostly uneaten slice and pizza box to the employee, Portnoy stalked away, exclaiming, “What a mistake that guy made!”

Indeed, when the video was posted on Barstool Sports Monday night, the site’s fans reportedly swarmed to the restaurant's Yelp page and left their own negative reviews, apparently to punish Goodfellas for kicking Portnoy out. reported that the restaurant’s Yelp rating dropped from “at least 4.3 out of 5 [on] Monday afternoon … to 1.5 Monday night.”

Thanks to a counter-response from fans of the pizzeria, its Yelp rating is presently at 2.5. Yelp has “temporarily disabled the posting of content” on the restaurant’s page due to “unusual activity."

Apparently no one was more surprised by Portnoy’s video and the abrupt Yelp downturn than the Goodfellas store’s co-owner, Alex Coats. In an interview with, Coats owned up to the mistake without excuses. He said he knew Portnoy and Barstool Sports were in Lexington and had alerted his managers to be ready for a possible visit. “Unfortunately, we dropped the ball,” he told “They served him a cold slice of pizza, and it escalated from there.”

Coats said his restaurant and other Goodfellas stores were getting slammed with “hate calls. We had to shut down the phones.”

“We’ve been working at this for 13 years, and it went down the drain in a matter of hours,” Coats added.

“We try to instill in everyone that we hold a super-high standard, and we want the best product at all times,” Coats said. “That’s what upsets us the most. We dropped the ball. All we can do is own it, correct ourselves and learn from our mistakes.”

Goodfellas tweeted an apology, replete with four-letter words, to Portnoy for the “insulting service” on Tuesday afternoon and asked him to return for a redo on his next trip to Lexington. The company also tried to make amends with a more gently worded Facebook post. 

Portnoy accepted the olive branch and also blogged about the whole affair earlier Tuesday.

“I got to be honest,” Portnoy wrote. “I kinda feel bad for them … Now the fact that they’d serve an ice-cold slice without asking if the customer wanted it heated up is really bad, but it does suck to have a random review ruin your entire customer-service relationship. That’s not what I try to do with these things. I guess sometimes the pizza game teaches you hard lessons. So, yes, next time I’m in Lexington, I’ll gladly give this place another shot.”


Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Teenage Pizzeria Manager Drives 225 Miles to Deliver Pizza to Dying Man

Dalton Shaffer, 18, of Steve's Pizza told no one of his good deed for Rich Morgan, but the news went viral thanks to a Facebook post by Morgan's wife.

Your Pie Teams With Zapp's to Create Potato Chip-Topped Voodoo Pie

Just in time for Halloween, the limited-time signature pizza features Cajun ingredients and is topped with Zapp's Voodoo Potato Chips.

Lost Pizza Co. Feeds Hundreds of Hurricane Michael Survivors in Panama City, Fla.

The Deep South pizza chain's co-founders Brooks Roberts and Preston Lott organized relief efforts in two states.

Sex or Pizza? Man Who Has Eaten Cheese Pies For Dinner for 37 Years Has to Think About It

Mike Roman of Hackensack also likes peanut butter sandwiches for lunch - and nothing else.

Surviving the Winter: 7 Ways to Keep Pizzeria Sales Hot in Cold Weather

You can build up your wintertime pizza business through seasonal marketing and menu strategies.

Flippy the Robot Wows Baseball Fans With Fry-Cook Skills at Dodger Stadium

The robot can also flip burgers and scrub grills, posing a possible solution to a worker shortage in the restaurant industry.

Salary vs. Hourly: How to Pay Your Pizzeria's Managers

Members of PMQ's Think Tank swap tips for managers' salaries and hours they should work.

TripAdvisor Reveals Its List of America's 10 Best Pizzerias

Boston's Regina Pizzeria comes in at No. 1, but two Nashville restaurants also make the cut.

Donatos Pizza Partners With Artists to Create Airport Mural Celebrating Diversity

The mural, located in the John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, features 88 pieces of original art.

Pizza and Politics Make Tasty Bedfellows in Pizza Paradiso Promo

Chef Ruth Gresser has created signature pies honoring female Democratic candidates in midterm elections.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags