The Atlantic’s Guide to Yelp Restaurant Reviewers (Plus 5 They Forgot)


Over at The Atlantic Life Channel (known until yesterday as The Atlantic Food Channel), there’s an entertaining guide to the bane of restaurateurs’ existences: annoying Yelp reviewers. They include the Übermensch all-caps user, who attacks restaurants; the Hater’s Ball, who rants about restaurants he’s never visited; the Blood Feud, who writes reviews on places he went to years ago; the Cheapskate, who complains of price; and the Know-Nothing, who, well, knows nothing. It’s a good read, but we’ve come up with some additional types not mentioned.

1. The 3,000-Word Reviewer

If we’re reading Yelp, we’re looking for lots of opinions so that we can make a quick decision. Yes, it’s nice of you to elaborate every intimate detail of your dinner, but really, no one except you (and maybe your mom) cares. Leave the 500-plus word reviews to your personal blog.

2. The Shiller

Sorry, but you’re being way too obvious in your praise for the restaurant. Writing, “This place is great for anyone who’s anyone. If you want to mingle with fabulous people any night of the week then you must check it out. Super hip and totally cool,” makes you either the biggest douchebag or the restaurant owner (not mutually exclusive, either). When you write something with arcane knowledge about ingredient provenances and preparations that’s also an immediate tip-off. And when you end your review with “I’m gonna recommend this place to all my friends and family and so should you!!!” remember that people wouldn’t write that. Writing the Yelp review is how they’re recommending it.

3. The Wannabe New York Times Food Critic

No question Yelp is a great forum for those who want to express their opinions about food and cuisine, and it gives potential restaurant reviewers a forum to explore the craft of writing. But don’t write about how the caviar dances across your palette and explodes into happy bursts of salinity. Why? Because caviar doesn’t dance, “palette” is actually spelled “palate,” and what the fuck is a happy burst of salinity?

4. The Fatphobe

Annoying is the person who only complains about how much butter and cream is in the food and how fattening everything was. Yes, restaurant food isn’t always healthy! If you want a 100-calorie salad, make it yourself at home. Equally bad is the person who makes substitutions for no cream and butter and then complains that the end result is bland. Yes, it’s bland because you made it bland.

5. The Reviewer Who Uses the Word “Foodgasm”

No explanation needed.