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LA Influencer Roasted for Mean Post After Restaurant Says No to Free Food

Plus, one sandwich opens in Culver City while another closes in Downtown, and the NY Times talks more LA pizza

One One Dumpling aka Luscious Dumpling’s crispy pan-fried dumplings shown from the bottom up on a white oval plate.
A crispy plate of pan-fried dumplings.
Wonho Frank Lee
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

A food influencer who lives in Los Angeles is getting roasted for badly critiquing a St. Louis area restaurant that declined to give him a discount on his meal. Per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and others, Instagram user @antonio_eats_la (who has north of 200,000 followers) reached out unprompted to a restaurant named Corner 17 in the St. Louis area — a city the influencer frequents to see family — to ask for $100 in dining credit in exchange for a review on his account.

After the independent restaurant declined, influencer Antonio Malik said that he was still going to try the place to offer an “honest” review. He later posted several negative stories to his profile, saying the restaurant had the “worst dumplings ever” and that the food “tasted like ass.” In response, Corner 17 ownership posted screenshots of Malik’s ask for $100 in free food, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they “felt threatened by this media influencer.” Malik, who has since made his Instagram account private, has defended his methods and review of the restaurant as honest and says that he would not intentionally leave a negative review after a restaurant declined to “work” with him.

Corner 17 responded to Malik’s actions on its Instagram account: “An intentionally bad write-up from a large following influencer because of our refusal to accept their collaboration is unprofessional and a such [sic] hostile manner can simply ruin their businesses.”

LA’s hottest new pizza

The New York Times takes a look at Pizzeria Sei, the upstart Tokyo-inspired Neapolitan pizza operation on Pico Boulevard. California critic Tejal Rao says that she “can’t stop going” to the restaurant, marveling at how the place manages to change, ever so slightly, every day.

And a Culver City opening of note

Breakaway Cafe is now open in Culver City at 8686 Washington Boulevard. Expect lots of toasts, croissant creations, a breakfast burrito, sandwiches, and more.

A car crash in San Gabriel

A car crashed through the front of Golden Deli in San Gabriel late last week. Reports are that no one was injured, thankfully, and the restaurant was able to reopen over the weekend.

A taco anniversary, and a sandwich closure

Popular taco shop Loqui is celebrating its anniversary across all storefronts (Culver City, Downtown, Playa Vista) on Wednesday, April 13. That means $2 drinks all day long, free paletas, and more.

Not far away, E Stretto has closed its Downtown location after three years, citing a difference in “ethics” between partner tenants and themselves. The year-old East Hollywood location closed in November 2021, leaving only New York City for Stretto-style sandwiches.

Eastside-ish Eats

The annual Taste of the Eastside food festival returns this month with a new focus. Running from Friday, April 22 to Sunday, April 24, various vendors from Silver Lake to Eagle Rock to Highland Park (and beyond) will be offering standalone dishes to support the event, with food and drinks available for pickup, dine-in, and delivery. Twenty-five percent of total proceeds will also go to benefit the Friends of the LA River non-profit, as well as the Rose Scharlin Co-Operative Nursery School.