Mas vs. Charlottesville-Dining

Earlier this month somebody posted a restaurant review on Charlottesville-Dining that was not altogether complimentary. The anonymous contributor reported that s/he had gone to Mas, had a tasty dinner, and then became violently ill. The illness was labeled “food poisoning,” with the contributor claiming that others have had the same problem after eating at Mas.

Mas’ owner and chef Tomas Rahal spotted the review and was upset, and wrote Charlottesville-Dining creator Fred Telegdy, asking him to take it down. Simultaneously the original reviewer wrote Fred, also asking for the comment to be removed, judging it too harsh. The review was erased (as was, eventually, Mas’ very existence in the site’s database) but the e-mail battle between Fred and Tomas went on.

In this week’s Hook, Barbara Nordin steps in, siding with Mas on the basis that the rather serious charge of food poisoning wasn’t based on any medical opinion. (Nordin doesn’t identify the website or the restaurant. I’ve done so here because it’d be mere minutes until somebody identified each in the comments.)

There are a few lessons to come out of this interaction. The first is that it can be a real pain to run any website that takes public comments (though y’all have been sweethearts for years now). The second is that local businesses have got to keep an eye on area websites and blogs to be aware of when they’re being written about and what’s being written. And the third is that there’s another tapas bar named “Mas”, over in the UK — how weird is that?

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