December 4, 2023


Food & Travel Enthusiast

St. Louis restaurant stands up to Los Angeles ‘influencer,’ strikes nerve | Off the Menu

The Instagram user @antonio_eats_la approached Corner 17 with a lot more than 200,000 followers and a $100 offer. Knock that volume off his future visit to the Delmar Loop Chinese cafe, he wrote in a direct information, and he would report the foodstuff as it was getting made and then publish it on his account.

Xin Wei, the owner of Corner 17, understands the want for his cafe to gain a lot more Instagram followers, he tells Off the Menu. But the restaurant had currently been so fast paced recently that he did not want to take part in promotions — specially since @antonio_eats_la is apparently based mostly in Los Angeles.

Thanks for the offer, Wei wrote back, but the “collaboration” would not get the job done for Corner 17.

“He continue to arrived anyway,” Wei claims.

That visit and the adverse evaluation that adopted would trigger an uproar in St. Louis social media about the ethics of so-named influencers.

The user @antonio_eats_la — till just lately on his Instagram account and in a 2020 job interview, he has identified himself as Antonio Malik — ate at Corner 17 on March 26.

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Wei messaged him that night time from Corner 17’s Instagram account: “I hope you favored the meals tonight.”

The food “honestly was not very good,” Malik replied, even though the service was “great.”

“I wouldn’t recommend this location to everyone,” Malik wrote. “Sorry!”

On Tuesday, Malik tagged Corner 17 in a general public Instagram story. About one graphic of the restaurant’s food stuff, he wrote, “Worst dumplings at any time!,” although in excess of one more, he produced a vulgar comparison of what the meals tasted like.

Corner 17 is open up to feedback and criticism, Wei claims. The cafe simply cannot make improvements to normally.

But this, he suggests, “is not criticism any more. I realized this is a lot more like (an) attack mainly because … we did not give him, like, $100 off.”

On Corner 17’s Instagram account, Wei posted screenshots of Malik’s preliminary offer and his later on critique.

“An intentionally negative generate-up from a big adhering to influencer because of our refusal to accept their collaboration is unprofessional and a this sort of hostile fashion can simply just damage their corporations,” the post’s caption reads in portion.

“I want to move up for the reason that we felt threatened by this media influencer. I want to give a voice to my Asian community that is Alright to say no and convert down any advertising delivers, no anxiety to stand up and defend oneself.”

As of Friday early morning, the put up has been given just under 16,000 likes and far more than 1,500 feedback.

“Sometimes, you just have to stand up for on your own,” Wei says.

By Thursday, Malik experienced manufactured his Instagram account private. He transformed the account’s bio to examine, “I would never get cash for a (constructive) critique and by no means leave a (unfavorable) assessment just for the reason that somebody didn’t want to work with me.”

His account was now non-public thanks to “death threats,” he wrote.

As of Friday, his account is general public all over again. He posted a online video assertion to “clear the air.” He said the narrative that he still left a negative critique of Corner 17 for the reason that the food stuff was not comped, was “not the scenario.”

Malik did not reply to an Instagram immediate message and an e mail in search of comment Friday.

Wei suggests in Asian communities, primarily between his parents’ generation, the inclination is to function tricky and not request difficulties. During the past week’s events, his have moms and dads explained to him to “just let it go.”

“I was like, no, I can’t allow it go,” he says.

A father now himself, Wei claims he didn’t know what he would say to his own young ones to get by such a circumstance.

“At minimum I want to do anything for (the) community,” he states.

The neighborhood has rallied all over Corner 17, Wei claims: “We have a whole lot of good, faithful consumers, and they just swing by and say, ‘Hi.’ And a good deal of men and women tipped the servers with really significant recommendations.”

1 server was moved to tears by the generosity.

The gesture, Wei claims, “was just pretty heat. It’s so warm.”

58 • For Corner 17 Noodles family, restaurants remain a passion