Restaurateurs have various strategies for dealing with Yelpers. Some people ignore the reviews completely, while others respond with gratitude, apologies, insults, or promises to change things about their businesses. And now, one Midtown restaurateur is pioneering a new and highly amusing form of engaging with Yelpers: using other people’s words, instead. Stephen M., who claims to be the business owner of Winnie’s Lobby Bar in Midtown’s Refinery Hotel, has responded to all 26 of the bar’s Yelp reviews only with quotes from celebrities, ranging from Christina Aguilera and Hulk Hogan to Bill Clinton and Werner Herzog.
When a reviewer called G C. wrote in a five-star review that the service was great, Stephen responded: "‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ -Mahatma Gandhi." Another reviewer, Leah C., called the place "smooth and kinda classy" in a four-star review; Stephen commented on it with a quote from Coco Chanel: "A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous."
And to a five-star from Michael N. that called Winnie’s "awesome," Stephen invoked the wise word of Hulk Hogan: "‘I woke up and realized life is great and people are Awesome and life is worth living. [sic]"
Not all the quotes make quite as much sense as responses (and, to be clear, the previous ones didn’t make a ton of sense). After one reviewer complained that the craft cocktails didn’t have "real ice," Stephen quoted German director Werner Herzog: "Civilization is a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness." When a review said the bar staff was "almost a bit overzealous" with attentive service, Stephen took a quip from ex-con and former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards: "People say I have had brushes with the law. Thats not true. I have had brushes with overzealous prosecutors."
It’s not clear if he’s being sincere or if it’s all a bit of a joke. (Eater has reached out to the bar.) And he does respond to two negative reviews with more than just quotes from the world’s greats. In one, he apologizes to a woman who had a negative experience, explains the situation, and promises to do better, a format that’s more commonly seen from business owners who respond to Yelp reviews.
But even then, he couldn’t resist throwing in a quote at the end: "‘If you live long enough, you'll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you'll be a better person.’ - William J. Clinton."