Over the past couple of weeks, self-described food antagonist Joe Rosenthal has been reporting on the very public racist statements of staff at SoHo and West Hollywood's famous Prince Street Pizza on platforms like Yelp, Twitter, and Instagram.
As of last night, they have issued a press release apologizing for their past behavior, but it seems to be too little, too late.
Rosenthal, who has a remarkable 17K followers on Instagram, is a mathematician by trade but spends his spare time dispensing incredibly detailed baking tutorials on his popular website Richard Eaglespoon and calling out the food world's bad actors.
Two weeks ago, angry customers started posting on social media to say that Prince Street had rejected their shipping orders from Goldbelly, and Rosenthal remembered that they had "always pretty negatively responded to negative Yelp reviews."
It should be noted here that Rosenthal conducted this research entirely online, and no additional reporting has yet been done. But what he found in their 1 Star rated reviews, Twitter, and part-owner Dom Morano's (now deactivated) Facebook page is shocking in and of itself.
The posts included in this article are detailed photoshop jobs by Rosenthal (Dom Morano will not be starring in his own Netflix series any time soon), but they compile quotes from Prince Street's Yelp page.
Before long, Rosenthal had found several Yelp reviews accusing customers of being "A disgrace too the Asian community," "nothing but a mongrel," and "racist clown[s]," among other unsavory slurs. Several screenshots are posted above and below, and further details are available in his Story Highlights. They include hostile responses to Instagram messages,
Once he'd seen these, according to a recent interview he conducted with podcaster and restaurateur Kassata Bollman, Rosenthal, "ended up checking [part-owner] Dom Morano's Facebook... and I found a repost of a video of Black Lives Matter Protesters getting hit by a car."
The video in question is very upsetting, and Morano has since deactivated his Facebook page, but Rosenthal sent me the video and I have linked it here.
Rosenthal also found online photos featuring a Blue Lives Matter flag sticker, which was placed on Prince Street's storefront for approximately five years and appears to have been removed in approximately January 2020. In his interview on Bollman's podcast, Rosenthal says:
"It's a pretty clear message that they're sending... There's a lot of people, mostly non-white people, who are very uncomfortable with this. There's a lot of white people that have talked to me that are uncomfortable with this. This is a blatant attack on non-white people in a pretty significant way. For such a big restaurant, I think it should be talked about."
This was also photoshopped by Rosenthal, but it includes real quotes from the restaurant's Yelp page
Prince Street has still not directly responded to Rosenthal directly, although they did briefly follow his Instagram, and several negative comments left on the Prince Street page have since been deleted by the pizzeria's social team.
It seemed that they were going to try to "let this blow over," but on Thursday night (in the wake of Trump's white supremacist coup attempt) they issued a carefully-worded statement of apology stating, among other things, that: "We are grateful for all feedback because it gives us an opportunity to improve." Additionally, the restaurant's Yelp page has been temporarily suspended due to the flood of negative comments coming from commenters calling them out for their racist behavior.
In all likelihood, this still-developing scandal will not change anything about the Morano family's private beliefs, but who knows. Maybe it will make them think twice about what they say in public.