Let's say you were born in Italy and you became a chef and somehow you decided to come to work in the USA. Obviously you’ll have all the good intentions in the world of bringing a taste of your culture, tradition and experience to a new huge audience hungry for real authentic Italian food, the kind you grew up with, the one Grandma used to make, yes that one. Super easy. A piece of cake for someone like you who has eaten and prepared these delicious plates every day of his life.
No so fast buddy. You are about to meet the real sheriff of your new ‘authentic Italian town”. Yep, it’s him..ALFREDO!
And here is the question every Italian chef asks. Who the hell is Alfredo and why is he the superstar here?
Well, dear unaware friend. Let me explain to you as gently as I can what we are talking about here. First of all, it’s not WHO it is, but is WHAT it is.
Apparently Alfredo is a what we really eat in Italy, It’s a sauce that is mandatory to have with fettuccine or you’ll go straight to hell without passing purgatory.
This sauce (that we Italians born in Italy have never seen) is what Italians eat in Italy. Understood? Capisce? Comprende?
No No No don’t talk, just listen carefully and say yes. Fettuccine Alfredo is what you eat in Italy, period, do not dare to argue.
I know the first time you see this it will be traumatic and you probably won’t be able to process the information clearly for a while. You’ll experience nausea, dizziness and vertigo. You think it is a mistake, a misunderstanding, it’s called ‘denial’ (I know the feeling). But try to keep your cool and watch carefully because this is one you’ve got to learn well and learn it fast if you want to keep your job and keep your ‘real Italian restaurant’ open. Do not vomit, you’ll get used to it I promise. I’ve seen tougher chefs breaking down like crumbs in front of this scene.
This sauce thing with something they call ‘cream’ (an attempt to be the Italian ‘Panna da Cucina’), Parmesan (An attempt to be ‘Parmigiano Reggiano”), butter, salt and pepper tossed with fettuccine is what will pay your bills, take your family on vacation every year, send your kids to college and pay your mortgage, so shut up!
You wish I was done but I’m not, because chances are you’ll have to top this ‘thing’ with grilled chicken or grilled prawns or broccoli or mushrooms, and yes there will be times when you’ll be asked by some genius to top it with all of the above. I know the expression on your face. I’ll never forget my dad’s face the first time he saw this, I still can’t forgive myself for putting my dad thru this. Our relationship has not been the same since then, we barely talk and when we do there is always the elephant named Alfredo in the room.
Do not even try to fight this one, it has been done already and you can’t win, Alfredo is in charge around here. So embrace it and just freaking make the Alfredo as if you did it your whole life and your family did it for generations. Don’t comment and don't hesitate, just do it and smile or they will know you are lying.
Some piece of history may help too. Apparently the Alfredo restaurant in Rome in 1922 invented this extremely complicated sauce made of Parmigiano tossed with butter. Something that in Italy only a 5 year old or someone with health or serious personal issues would ever order in a restaurant. But somewhere on the way between Rome and New York something happened to this innovative recipe, and the groundbreaking butter and Parmigiano sauce became the Frankestein of Italian cuisine. Who knows what really happened, but something pretty bad definitely happened.
All in all it could be worse, at least it’s easy to make.
Next time I’ll teach you about the famous Italian dressing that no Italians recognize and the spaghetti and meatballs that...OK, maybe I should wait for this one, you already went thru a lot today and you’re not ready for this level of truth.
Now I probably pushed too much here, but in case you are not part of the Alfredo fan club and you are interested in learning what the unaware Italian people eat in Italy, I offer cooking classes for small and large groups, private dinners and other culinary services.
OMG WE I LOVE YOU
(I really do)
I just want to hug you and introduce you to my mamma in Italy.
My mamma always told us "think before you open your mouth'
Obviously these people did not get mamma's memo!
(Any reference to any person or episode is not accidental, we just don't know their names or I would definitely tell you)
Q) Wow this soup is amazing! What kind of soup is it? What's inside?
A) I'm glad you like it, it's a simple cream of tomato basil soup
Q) And there is no lobster in it?
A) No it's a cream of tomato basil soup.
Q) And are you sure there is not lobster in it?
A) Why would I not say if there was lobster in it.
Q) I don't know maybe you want to keep the secret.
A) No really, there is no lobster, it's a tomato basil soup.
Q) It's too good, I think there is lobster.
A) Ok, there is lobster ma'am, can't hide the truth from you, you totally nailed it!
Q) See I knew it!
AWESOME PHONE CALL
Q) So I'd like to order A Veal parmigiana.
A) Sorry but we do not serve veal parmigiana.
Q) OH, infact I'm looking at your website and I can't find it. I don't understand.
A) Oh it's easy, you read the menu and if you don't see it, it means that we don't have it.
Q) So you only have one menu? There is no other menu available?
A) Well we do have a special menu for special people but I'm not sure I can tell you about it.
Q) And that menu has a veal parmigiana?.
A) No unfortunately it does not, but we have another 6 menus that we hide from anyone to keep the secret. Do you want me to check if there is the veal parmigiana?
Q) Yes please.
A) Just checked it, sorry no veal parm.
Q) Oh that's too bad, I guess you don't have any more menus?
A) Well we have another 2 menus that we keep as emergency, just in case.
Q) Wow, so you do have lots of menus., I knew it!
A) But still no veal parm.
Q) Well you are not getting any business from me today but I'll stop by to check all other menus you have since you don't put them online.
A) please stop by, we all want to meet you.
10am in the morning with his cup of Starbuck coffe in one hand, having passed the sign that says
Restaurant & Pizzeria, the security gate which is half down, the dining room with all the tables set up,
and then seeing us wearing chef coats.
Q) Are you open?
A) No we open at 11.
Q) Is this a restaurant?
A) No it's a Tennis Cub.
Q) What do you mean?
A) Does it look like a restaurant to you? It's aTennis Club.
Q) Oh ok, thank you!
Storming in at lunch time
Q) Why this place is always busy?
A) We have a lots of relatives.
Q) Oh that make sense now (And he left).
PAESANO OF THE MONTH
Q) Does your panini comes with bread?
A) Yes panini are sandwiches and they are with bread.
Q) I'm Italian and I know what panini is, thank you very much, and sometimes they have no bread.
A) Oh ok, sure.
Q) You are not Italian obviously.
A) Oh no we are all from Konfusistan.
Q) That's what I thought.
Q) I'm from Chicago, would I like your pizza?
A) It depends, are you from Chicago downtown?
South Chicago or Chigago suburbs?
A) Because here we are very specific and we put attention on details.
Q) I'm from the city of Chicago.
A) That's too bad because we really think you are not going to like our pizza.
Q) Why not?
A) When we make our pizza the last thing on our minds is Chicago city. I promise.
Q) But I want it.
A) Your call, I would'nt reccomend it, but ok your call.
Q) So is NY style?
A) It depends, Ny uptown, downtown, Brooklin, Queens, it depends.
Q) Ok ok got it, just make me a small Margherita.
A) Alrighty then!
Q) Spaghetti with live sea urchin..mmmmmhhh.
So the Sea urchin is alive on the plate?
A) Are you eating here or you taking it to go?
Q) It's to go.
A) Perfect, by the time you get home the Sea urchin will have passed to a better life already.
Q) Just so you know, I ordered one of your small pizzas last nighjt and it is certainly not enough for two people.
A) You mean you ordered the pizza on the menu that says PERSONAL/INDIVIDUAL size and it wasn't enough for two?
Q) Yes that one!
A) Thanks for letting us know, we'll certainly look into it.
Q) You better.
CHEF OF THE MONTH
Q) This spinach tastes wierd.
A) It's arugula it's not spinach, you ordered the arugula salad.
Q) Yes I know, but usually the arugula salad comes with spinach.
A) (This one did not ended up too well, let's just say we lost a valued customer)
CHEF FROM NAPA
Q) I'm a Chef from Napa.
Q) I'm a Chef from Napa and I like your food.
Q) i'm a Chef from Napa, is there anyrhing special you can do?
A) Are you by the chance a Chef from Napa?
Q) Yes I told you.
A) Yes but only three times and we just want to make sure that you are actually a real Chef from Napa and there are no misunderstandings here.
Q) I'm a Chef from Napa.
A) Ok, Chef from Napa, are you coming in peace or to conquer and invade this area.
Q) No I'd like to order something
A) Are you eating here or are you taking the food to Napa where you work as a Chef?
Q) I'll take it to go.
A) are you going to share the food with other Chefs from Napa or just normal Napa residents?
A) Ok Ok got it, you guy don't care.
Q) We love you, Chef from Napa, welcome to Botto
But strangely enough and according to us, here at Botto headquarter we are actually celebrating three successful years of trolling Yelp, and we are sharing it loudly, as usual, with our thousands of followers, Botters and friends.
That's right, three long years of giving crap and humiliating one of the biggest and scariest corporations on the internet (again scary according to them of course). How can this be possible?!! It's a miracle!!! (Still, a miracle according to Yelp of course)
Over the past three years they took so much crap from us that we are actually surprised that neither their V.P. Vince Sollito (the one who declares us out of business every week) nor any of their other big shots have jumped from the Golden Gate with a big sign 'I Hate Botto"!!
These three long years have been a pathetic parade of comical attempt by these geniuses to deal with us (at some point we thought they were going to call the Marines for help) and apparently all those Harvard studies and strategies have not worked against a couple of arrogant Italians fresh from the boat.
Over these last three years they have not figured this one out, but no worries, they have time as we have no intention of letting them off the hook any time soon, we are just warming up.
For any of you who are still unclear about why we're doing this, here is how it started:
on April 14th, 2014, after already harassing us every day and manipulating our ratings to try to force us to buy ads from them so they could help us "manage" our reviews, a Yelp salesperson called us. (What does the word "manage" mean to you? To us it smells like extortion).
He wanted us to sign a one year contract with Yelp. Instead, after we told him to go in that place that we can't really say on Facebook, we had him and Yelp sign a lifetime contract with us, an Italian contract that will take us on a journey that will troll them around the nation and around the world.
Asking our customers to give us one star reviews and paying for it destroyed Yelp's system along with their credibility. On the 1st of September, 2014 our campaign 'Hate Us On Yelp' was born, and in few weeks we became the worst business that ever existed on Yelp (increasing our business with more volume and better customers).
They thought Botto's 15 minutes of fame would slowly fade away. Well, as of today it hasn't really worked out that way and hundreds of articles and a documentary movie coming soon did exactly the opposite of what the geniuses predicted.
Over these past three years we learned a few things: first of all, it is not a great idea try to extort the Italians, but most importantly we learned that this big corporation has absolutely zero power over us, therefore we trolled them like there is no tomorrow any given day, holidays included.
To make it even more humiliating, we bribed their own users every single day, including the Yelp Elite. With a few dollars off a pizza you can buy their soul and their opinion, just like anyone else. Yelp gives them an Elite badge for loyalty, but when they see a cheap pizza that loyalty goes on vacation and they become our employees (something for everyone to think about in case you want free workers). Yelp's slaves become Botto's slaves. Amazing how easy it has been to line'em up out our door and stab Yelp in the back for a piece of bread with tomato and mozzarella.
Yelp is removing these reviews as fast as they can (so far 3,000 and counting), but we are faster than them and we got a few screen shots, and we got our trophy well placed on our desk and on our website for you to see.
Three long years during which people have not listened to Yelp and have kept coming to Botto, enjoying a Yelp-free and idiot-free environment created by Italians and their Italian community.
12,000 followers on Facebook, 15,000 subscribers to our newsletters, cooking classes sold out for over a year, and various appearances on TV, including the Jimmy Fallon show, all thanks to these geniuses that knocked on the wrong door that famous day of April 14th, 2014.
All of us, including all our followers, have to thank this gang of Mr Beans for allowing us to grow so much while having a blast mocking them and using their site without their permission. Priceless!
A big thank you with all our heart goes to all of you, dear Botters and followers who made this possible, and we can assure you that we have a few more years of fun and trolling ahead of us. We thank all the Italian American community, along with the thousands of business owners who supported us and continue to do so.
We promise you that we will continue to serve them with the taste of their own bitter medicine. When they hear Botto Bistro their blood pressure sky rockets for sure. Never lose focus here, they looked for us and started it, and in the name of the father, son, and the
holy spirit we are going to finish it
We thank also the ones who really hate us (for real). Without their hate we could not make it. It's only when we piss a few geniuses off that we know we are on the right track. We created a few pages on our site to deal with lower IQ people and they became the three pages with the most traffic ever. Go figure!
So, happy birthday 'Hate Us on Yelp"! Give us one star on Yelp, trash us, hate us, destroy us, and we'll give you 50% off and our Italian blessing.
Oops!!! We also forgot to promote our pizza and food, but who cares anyway, it is crap and expensive and after
all we are here to troll Yelp and their followers, certainly not to cook.
You don't like what we are doing? Don't worry this is not real, it's definitely not happening, it's all fake news (according to Yelp of course).
They say Yelp can make or break your business. So far they haven't broken a meatball, so maybe that rule doesn't apply for Italians
We love you all. Grazie!
The Botto Yelp Violator Team