Tommy Up, Defender of Food Bloggers Everywhere

Tommy Up
Tommy Up Photo: Kirsten Henri

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from marketing ninja/PYT proprietor Tommy Up, or at least heard anything that entertained us enough to write about since his days of Rocky/Clubber Lang smacktalk. That is, until last night, when another of Up’s wacky missives arrived in our inbox, sniffing at Trey Popp’s review of PYT in the City Paper. Bonus move on Up’s part - the review wasn’t even posted online yet as of 10:30 p.m. last night, but now it is. Would you like to read an excerpt of Up’s email? Yes, yes you would. Especially the part where he takes up the mantel for the much-maligned food bloggers.

An excerpt from the deranged desk of Tommy Up:

So PYT was reviewed for City Paper this week, and it’s not too bad.

He didn’t love our burgers, but that’s ok…I hate to critique the critic but I don’t think Mr. Popp has a grip on what our burger is about. He doesn’t comprehend that size isn’t the point here (“that’s not what she said”- sorry) & he flat out insults Martin’s Potato Rolls & Martin’s kettle chips: “grocery-store bun with mass-market potato chips”.

I know what kind of burger he is looking for and we don’t serve those here. You can go to a couple dozen places in the city with great East Coast Pub stule burgers, but that’s not what we’re doing.

Now, what IS kind of disturbing, is when Mr. Popp launches into a “holier than thou” attack on new media, dismissing food bloggers and calling himself “a critic who actually pays his checks” . Classy. Because food bloggers gave us some love, they can’t be trusted. Because apparently they don’t pay for their checks. Right.

So here’s the deal: I want people to decide for themselves on our PYT Burger. Print out his City Paper review or rip it out of the paper and bring it in for a free PYT Burger this week, Sept 3-10th, eat-in only. Mr. Popp, you should come back in. I have a feeling you just need to open your mind a little. I will honor your review if you bring it in for a free PYT Burger too.

As with all things Up, there is perverse brilliance in his approach. Pitting food bloggers against the big bad critic with his old creaky newsprint is guaranteed to distract from the negative tone of the review. And look, it’s already working! But Trey Popp is right - many of the bloggers didn’t pay for their PYT meals. In his bout of pique over the injustices served up to bloggers by Popp, Tommy Up neglects to mention he hosted a fully comped media/”blogger’s brunch,” which many food bloggers did attend, for free. We were invited too and didn’t attend (although we’ve certainly been to other comped media dinners elsewhere).

It doesn’t mean that reviews derived from a comped meal are inaccurate or not worth reading, it just means they’re subtly influenced, in the same way that doctors who are treated to free dinners by a pharmaceutical company prescribe that company’s medicines more often.

Of course, promotional savant Up knows this, which is why he hosted a blogger’s brunch in the first place. What he spent on those free burgers and shakes was worth a fortune in free PR. Even the Los Angeles Times picked up Unbreaded’s comped assessment of PYT.

Tommy Up, Defender of Food Bloggers Everywhere