After Yelper Ruchu Tan wrote an unflattering review of Chef Bac Nguyen's new Ninja City restaurant in University Circle last month, Nguyen tracked down Tan on Facebook — they weren't friends — and sent him a series of intimidating messages. Nguyen used racial slurs and threatened Tan with physical violence if he ever came to either of his establishments ever again.
Tan's original one-star review
was certainly poor (in contrast to Scene
food critic Doug Trattner's "quick and awesome
" appraisal) but it didn't seem unduly vindictive. In fact, Tan said he was sorry to "have to" give the new joint a single star.
"I'm not sure if I would return for other food items since their staple item was so bad," Tan wrote in conclusion. "Hopefully service isn't as bad as what we've experienced."
the following day, however, was a clear personal attack.
"If I ever see you near my restaurants again, you will be in trouble," Nguyen wrote, after some expletive-laden patter about Tan's sex life. "Peace fucker."
And he didn't stop there: "You're ugly and physically weak and your girlfriend is an ugly piece of shit."
Though Nguyen eventually apologized when Tan threatened to go public with his remarks, a local group boycotting Ninja City
and Nguyen's Tremont cafe Bac wrote that Nguyen continues to taunt and harass Tan on social media.
"Nguyen’s actions imply he believes he is free to threaten, bully, and attack customers with impunity,as long as he says he makes a superficial apology afterwards," the group writes. "Nguyen’s intimidation of customers shows not only a disturbing ignorance of professional conduct but also an unsettling disregard for his responsibility to his community.
"Cleveland is undergoing a renaissance,drawing visitors and newcomers the nation and world over. As a Cleveland business owner, Nguyen has contributed to and benefited from this movement. His intolerance and bullying tactics against customers hurt more than the individual customers. They hurt the country’s perception of Cleveland.
"Cleveland is a proudly diverse and tolerant city, home to a dazzling myriad of cultures, ethnicities, religions, political viewpoints, cuisines and thriving businesses. Such intolerance, lack of professionalism, and threatening behavior has no place in our community."