Goodfellas Pizzeria is on a roller coaster: First, there was a very negative review online by Barstool Sports, then a flood of business from locals supporting its pizza.
And now, co-owner Alex Coats said, the business is bracing for the weekend.
He isn’t sure exactly what to expect but is trying to prepare for anything and everything.
“We had a big management meeting this morning,” Coats said Wednesday. “Because we know ... this guy’s got 6 million viewers … it’s going to take some time to crawl out of that.”
After Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy posted a review rating the slice he got at the Distillery District location a “0.0,” the worst rating ever, his online followers, known as “stoolies,” piled on.
They posted their own negative reviews on Yelp, before the platform locked the page. Coats posted an apology (which Portnoy accepted) and the negativity kept coming.
“They’re not letting it die. We’re just trying to play damage control,” he said.
Coats said that Goodfellas has basically locked down its social media.
“We’ve had to go radio silent on social because anything we say is going to be trolled … we can’t even thank our customers,” he said.
On Tuesday, after the review hit Monday night, locals came out for lunch and dinner at Goodfellas locations in Lexington, in Cincinnati and in Indianapolis.
Last night, while working the crowd at the Distillery District, Coats introduced a new Goodfellas T-shirt: It replaces the “Os” with the “0.0” to try to “own” the mistake and make light of the fuss.
“To remember how much our community loves us and that it doesn’t matter,” Coats said. “But also as a reminder that every customer is very important to us.”
But laughing it off isn’t easy and he doesn’t expect it will be this weekend.
He said the company is prepping employees on how to handle a late-night crowd that might be a little tipsy and a lot rowdy. Some might come in asking for a slice of cold pizza.
“I really think people are going to be cute, especially with our demographic ... so we’re trying to formulate responses,” Coats said. “It’s going to be a joke for people for while. ... This weekend’s going to be crazy, We’re just defenseless; gotta let them talk bad to us.”
Of more concern is a long-planned expansion in the middle of what he called “a nightmare.”
Coats said he and his business partner, Eric Boggs, are in the midst of opening new restaurants in Chattanooga, Tenn., Louisville, Cincinnati and Bloomington, Ind., home of Indiana University.
“Lexington is fine, people love us, and it’s going be strong. But we’re worried about our other markets,” Coats said. “IU already hates the Wildcats, and now we’re afraid they’ll boycott us. We’re already committed to our contracts, and this could potentially hurt the company if the reception is bad.”