Anatomy Of A Shill: Park 52

Park 52, Jerry Kleiner’s recently opened upscale comfort food restaurant in Hyde Park, has been getting decent play in the neighborhood, all things considered. The Dish reports finding the place “packed” at 9pm on a weekday night, despite prices well outside the normal range for the area, and food alternately described as “limp,” “dineresque,” and “copycat.” The Chicagoist went by over the weekend and found people “disappointed” that the restaurant’s not open for brunch. We’re sure a serious review will hit the internet sooner or later, but in the meantime, we have the restaurant’s very first shill on MenuPages to share with you.

User: Patricia (correctly capitalized first names are so infrequently used for legitimate reviews that their presence raises eyebrows — you know, because real people are lazy and illiterate)

Title: Wow! Just what Hyde Park needed!! (use of sentence case makes us nervous. It’s true that Hyde Park needed a sophisticated, modern restaurant of some sort, but the title plays into that notion too heavily. Also, non-ironic double-exclamations are frowned upon)

Rating: 5/5/5/5 (an amateur shilling tactical error. Clever shillers realize that 5/5/5/5 is a big red flag, and often go with 4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5 instead)


What a great place! Absolutely wonderfully decorated (if you like that sort of thing). Great eclectic menu (not really). Food cooked to perfection (cliche). Chef ad libbed on a mustard sauce because I’m allergic to tomatoes and mushroomsit was superb and complimented the meal extremely well (lovely detail, well-intertwined with the narrative)! I felt like I was downtown but didn’t have to travel a long way to get home (talking point). Great job!!! Please don’t get stalechange the menu every so often and stay upscale (the neg). Valet parking is great idea, but please advertise (this is, in fact, the advertisement). I called and was told to park in the lot around back, but would have gladly paid the $8 to have the car parked and returned for me (wow, what a lazy person. Also, if they’re from the neighborhood, why are they driving here?). My friend and I had a lovely time and I am definitely going to make it a “spot” to meet friends for a beautifully comfortable but upscale time in the neighborhood (scare quotes around “spot” and multiple modifiers on “time” are suspicious). Fantastic!!!!! (tell us what you really think)

And there you have it. Let’s say there’s a 5% chance that reviewer is an unaffiliated civilian with a knack for writing like a shill. In that case, Patricia, can we suggest to you a career in PR? Just as likely you already have one…

All this said, we’re sure the food is fine, and Park 52 will likely do very well. But we’ll only participate when it’s fair and square!

Park 52 [MenuPages]

[Photo: glazed salmon at Park 52, Kids’ Writer/flickr]


Anatomy Of A Shill: Park 52