A blistering review from Dave Portnoy reportedly hasn’t hurt sales for Dragon Pizza in Somerville, Massachusetts, judging from media reports and posts on the restaurant’s Facebook page. If anything, business seems to be booming.
Portnoy, famous for his One Bite Pizza Reviews of pizzerias around the country for Barstool Sports, exchanged angry words with Dragon Pizza owner Charlie Redd in a viral video that was posted on August 31. Initially, Portnoy sampled the pizza and pronounced it too “floppy” and heavy on the Parmesan cheese. “This is an acquired taste,” he noted.
But things escalated when Charlie Redd, the pizzeria’s owner, stepped outside and told him, “I hope you enjoy your pizza, but I don’t appreciate what you do to small businesses.”
Redd went back inside, then came out again and ordered Portnoy to leave, at which time a cursing match ensued. Once Portnoy’s video was posted, Dragon Pizza’s Yelp rating quickly plummeted as negative reviews poured in, presumably the handiwork of angry Portnoy fans rather than actual customers. After dropping to 1.6 on September 1, however, the pizzeria’s rating had climbed to 3.2 as of September 7. Yelp temporarily disabled posts on the page, and that suspension currently remains in effect.
Regardless, local customers have apparently rallied to support Dragon Pizza. In multiple Facebook posts, the pizzeria reported selling out on September 2 and September 5, then closed down for a day on September 6 “to prepare for the rest of the week.”
Boston.com reports that customers “have been turning out in droves to buy pizza and show support” for Dragon Pizza, with lines stretching out the door. But Redd said he has also received death threats and has been forced to keep comments closed on the pizzeria’s Instagram page. “Unfortunately, yes, we are receiving threats, but, no, we don’t feel unsafe,” Redd told the website. “Our community is safe, [and] our police department has been very supportive. We haven’t had any dangerous incidents. It’s just all words.”
In a separate interview with Rolling Stone, Redd said he has no regrets about the blow-up with Portnoy. “Did David regret throwing a stone at Goliath? No,” he said. “It created complications in my life I’ve been unhappy to deal with. But I did something to stand up to something I disagree with. And that’s the American way.”