Love Trumps Yelp Coward’s Hate at Boston’s Zia Gianna Italian Bakery & Cafe in Dorchester, MA

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Shame

Posted: 08/13/2018

Let’s get right to the cowardly curmudgeon’s Yelp review:

I’m appalled a little more every single time I read this horrific, bigoted, hate-filled tirade.

After reading this review on the Zia Gianna facebook page, I contacted the owner, Nino. I wanted to confirm that the laudatory comments on facebook were true, and I needed to verify a few items. Nino struck me as a very genuine man with a good soul. He confirmed that the following words on facebook accompanying the Yelp review received his blessing, and reflected who he is and what his restaurant represents:

“All are welcome at Zia Gianna, even this gentleman. We’d love to show him some kindness from the LGBTQ community because love always wins.”

Nino is a very easy man to talk to, and I believed him when he told me that he “welcomes everyone, and loves the diversity of our Dorchester neighborhood. We love serving everyone.” He is a proud, gay, married man, and his staff is comprised of folks from a wide range of ethnicities, races, religions, and sexual orientations. He said, “it just happened,” and that he didn’t deliberately assemble a staff with diverse backgrounds. He also confirmed that the review was not a “plant” for PR purposes. (I had to ask.)

Nino works front of the house, interacts with most of the guests, and could not recall an upset customer who fit the profile of the vile (my word), “Restaurant T.” Yelper. A little more about our anonymous Yelper friend:

He’s Sicilian. No doubt, just read his Yelp reviews of other restaurants. Here are a few excerpts of his greatest hits (my highlights):

I’m Sicilian, and I usually cook my own food, and therefore I’m entitled to measure how well a Restaurant stands up to the quality of how me and my family prepare our Traditional Cuisine. A lot of places skimp so much on ingredients that most people have no idea how the dishes are really supposed to be prepared.” (Ok, Mr. T…)

“Most of all the other Italian Restaurants in the North End are NOT authentic Italian and they are often “Fusion Style Italian” restaurants which employ either American, French or other influences into their cuisine and sell you small bites at ridiculous prices where you leave hungry for a whole new plate somewhere else.”

“Now that being said, I am not Puerto Rican, I am Sicilian and we are also an Island Nation and have some of our own fried items, BUT even I can tell that this ISN’T Puerto Rican food.”

“This place was one of Boston’s BEST Restaurants in my opinion, and now it’s gone downhill to be worthless just like all the rest of them.”

“This is definitely the BEST place to go for Italian sandwiches in the area (and even better than anything you can get in Boston’s North End), particularly their Meatball and Italian Subs… A lot of places have horrible meatballs (most Americans don’t know what a good Meatball tastes like), I am Sicilian and the way they make their meatballs here for a sandwich they are absolutely perfect and seasoned well and they stay together and taste so good in the Sandwich! “

I sent him the following note via Yelp messenger:

Hello, “Restaurant T.” – I’m writing to inform you that I am publishing a blog post that will include screenshots of your hateful review of Zia Gianna. I almost always try to give folks mentioned in my posts an opportunity to tell ‘their side’ of the story. Is there anything you regret writing in your review? Is there any additional message you have for the owner, staff, or customers that you’d like me to include in my blog post? Thank you-Patrick

[No response as of this publication. I will update if he replies.]

I learned one more thing about Nino when I spoke with him today…

“Restaurant T.” stated: “Anyone who violates our time tested Traditions and Iron-Clad rules of maintaining Roma Invicta, should be stripped of citizenship and even their surname reflecting our heritage.”

In fact, Nino will become a US citizen at a ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston on Thursday, August 16th. Please join me in congratulating him in the comments below. Better yet, stop into Zia Gianna and congratulate Nino in person.


If you are interested in supporting the Server Not Servant blog and helping to expedite the book project, please see the blue box on the right hand side of this blog post to make a contribution. Cheers-PM


One Response to “Love Trumps Yelp Coward’s Hate at Boston’s Zia Gianna Italian Bakery & Cafe in Dorchester, MA”

  1. Amanda says:

    Congratulations to Nino!

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