Glass House Tavern, a theatre-district eatery known as a favorite haunt for theatre fans and stars alike, has put out the call for positive Google reviews. The move follows a targeted effort to deluge the restaurant's Google listing with one-star reviews, the result of a dispute with local pedicab drivers.
According to comments posted by the restaurant on Instagram, Glass House was concerned at the amount of pedicabs queuing for possible fares outside the nearby Lena Horne Theatre at the end of performances of SIX. "Since SIX is the first show to end most nights, it seems like every pedicab in the city is here," explains the restaurant's official Instagram account in a comment. "As they try to get in position, they block the street and can cause some dangerous situations for pedestrians. Recently, they have become more aggressive and have been verbally abusive to our staff."
The restaurant addressed the issue by posting a sign advertising the pedicabs' pricing, $9 a minute. The bicycle-drawn carriages are known for playing fast and loose with rates. Even though NYC laws require their pricing to be clearly displayed and communicated, many drivers dispense with this information in favor of surprising any takers at the end of their journey. Glass House hoped the sign, advertising rates far more expensive than taxis, would discourage theatregoers from using them and encourage pedicab drivers to cluster elsewhere. Instead, the drivers took to the restaurant's Google listing to post negative reviews.
Though not directly identifying themselves as pedicab drivers, at least 40 people left negative, one-star reviews on the restaurant's Google listing in a seemingly coordinated effort (Google has removed several for being fraudulent, according to the restaurant's ownership). "So expensive and no fresh foods," reads one attributed to a Abdullo Ulmasov. The cluster of negative reviews, all posted in a 24-hour period, stand out compared to the rest of the restaurant's reviews, which are overwhelmingly positive and far less frequent in terms of their timing.
In the days since the restaurant posted about the brouhaha on social media, its fans—and several Broadway notables—have rallied as requested, leaving a far larger cluster of overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Broadway casting director Kevin Metzger-Timson calls Glass House "the perfect spot for a pre-theatre bite and a drink, or a post-theatre cocktail where you’re bound to run into someone you know," while 1776 star and Dear Evan Hansen original cast member Kristolyn Lloyd says, "I love this place! I come here to treat myself to their yummy cocktails ... and rosemary fries! I’ve had birthdays here, after-show parties and I send friends and family here when they come into town to see Broadway shows."