D is for Dick: Capriotti's Gave Mag Free Publicity and Got Threatened with Legal Action

Categories: Complaint Desk

capriottis.jpg
A Capriotti's sando.
Back in late February, SideDish, the food blog over at D, carried the news that a sandwich shop called Capriotti's was going to revamp an old gas station downtown and subsequently expand to 50 other locations around DFW.

"Has anybody eaten here before? Is it any good?" the post asked. We had, and were fine with the place. Reviews by SideDish commenters were slanted significantly positive, too. After the post, the restaurant, as restaurants do, came down and gave the folks at the magazine free sandwiches, fueling another post giving fairly glowing reviews of the place.

Apparently Capriotti's really liked the coverage SideDish had given its goods. The restaurant ordered a gigantic banner telling the Cougs of Plano, "Hey, this great food blog thinks our sandwiches are pretty good you should read it while you eat one while reading this blog!"

Seems like a pretty nice endorsement to me. But not to the folks at D, who immediately took to the blog to make vague and entirely lame legal threats, shaming the restaurant's owner into taking down the sign and apologizing -- apologizing! -- for giving the magazine free publicity.

From the blog post:

Anyways, you should enjoy the sign while it lasts, Capriotti's. I think our lawyers will be contacting you guys soon since ya'll are breaking a couple of copyright laws and all. But before you throw that banner away, I have this one request: Send me your sign. I'd really like to hang it outside my house. That way, should I ever get lost in space, I'll know how to return home.

From owner Phil Jackson, in the comments:

Carol: I'm the one responsible for this snafu, so I'll take full responsibility for the screw up. It wasn't our intention to offend. We were obviously proud and enthusiastic about the previous post you made, and got ahead of ourselves. Capriotti's is well known on the coasts, but new to Texas, so we wanted to publicize the quality of our product. But clearly we didn't think it through. So again, your criticism is appropriate, and the sign has been removed. By the way, the article in the window has all the comments, including the one about "Mayo overkill on all accounts. My sandwich is dripping like a snot-nosed toddler." So I'm not sure where you folks got the idea that we selectively edited what you said. In any event the banner is down. Sorry again for the fuss.

It's strange, when you think about it: D's logo-of-approval is in the window of more or less every restaurant from here to Oklahoma. But when someone wants to chip in their own dime to promote the mag, that's when shit gets legal.

Besides: If the restaurant did violate some copyright law (which seems unlikely), wouldn't that be easily remedied with a discreet email as opposed to a cease-and-desist blog post? I haven't been to Capriotti's since my ancient write-up, so I don't know if they put out a vinyl marquee saying "City of Ate says our sandwiches 'incite codependency'." But for all I care they could have photoshopped my face onto Michaelangelo's "Creation of Adam" and had the God of Sandwiches handing me a hoagie, as long as they didn't shortchange me on the frontspiece.

Location Info

Capriotti's Sandwich Shop

4021 Preston Rd, Plano, TX

Category: Restaurant


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34 comments
Sandy
Sandy

Err...Talk about "professional reporting". There are several things about this article that makes me worry about the freedom the Dallas Observer gives its obviously more zealous "writers" (I'm talking about you Justin Bitner--gotta make sure you don't miss this, get carried away, and in a obvious move to advance on up write an article condemning the zealousness of your own magazine's writers too)

1. Since when is giving positive reviews automatically translate to "slants" and biases...

2. To implicitly suggest that a kind gesture on the restaurants part was made to bribe better reviews...and that D Mag catered to it...if not libel, then is just sorta low-class and petty...especially from someone from the Dallas Observer.

3. Read the blog your referring too--she mentions space in the very next sentence...I'm not an English major... but when lawsuits, requests for a huge signs, and seeing things from space,  are all written within the same paragraph--I am pretty sure all of it was written as a joke.

4. The fact that something written in jest can be blown so out of proportion, and that a competing magazine exploits and acts as the fiasco's facilitator--is sort of obvious and again...pretty low class...and sort of stupid.  

Great Job Mr. Bitner! I am totally going continue reading the Observer and look out for all their unbiased, completely credible posts! (And just in case you missed that too--that was sarcasm.)

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

The Observer did more of a disservice to this place by posting that God awful picture. Come on that sandwich looks so sad!

Ember_lily
Ember_lily

Do you have the reading comprehension and professionalism of a middle schooler? If you're going to represent yourself and Dallas Observer by trampling on someone else and encouraging comments ("hilarious comments RT") that are asinine and inflammatory from an equally juvenile readership in order to gang up on one blogger, that's pathetic. Grow up.

commentDevolution
commentDevolution

Wow. Why do some these comments sound as if high schoolers made them?

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Does anybody in Dallas actually read D anymore?? I always thought of it as 150 pages of adver-journalism lined w/ slick ads for breast lifts and self-congratulatory circle-jerking...

Nancyn
Nancyn

Justin, think what you want about Carol and her post which, by the way, was intended to be a joke on herself being important, but when you write: "If the restaurant did violate some copyright law (which seems unlikely)", you show your ignorance. Go ask your marketing people how many times they have had to contact a business for misusing the DO Best of Dallas logo. I thought the Capriotti owner played along well. And Twinwillow, really? 

Katierex1
Katierex1

Carol Shih's class can be summarized with her excitement over a Salt Lick BBQ coming to the DFW Airport. And what self-respecting Asian doesn't know how to eat Vietnamese food. It's like explaining how he's never fried chicken. Bitner is black right?

Mervis
Mervis

I always thought D stood for Douche....no?

Mark Howard
Mark Howard

Can I say cocksuckers? They really eat ass at D. I just read this and they took in a little payola from the place with 100 sandwiches for their staff, then peed on the deli's cornflakes. There is no reason to read D in any form.

G_David
G_David

Thanks for reporting this act of idiocy on the part of D.  It reminded me that they are still in business.

Ozonedude
Ozonedude

Carol Shih is a piece of work. She needs to be shown the door.

Justin B.
Justin B.

Thank you for your comment. My tweet was a misguided remark intended to refer to one piece of a comment that had nothing to do with Carol or D. I've since deleted it as I realize the potential for misinterpretation.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

because there is still a high schooler in every one of us.

TLS
TLS

I read D every month.  There have been many interesting and well written articles that justify my subscription cost (Just off the top of my head, the Robert Jeffress piece, the Jon Tesar article and the ESD sex scandal).  You can find them online without having to slog through twenty plastic surgeon ads.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

HI Nancy!

Sarcasm is dangerous in the hands of amateurs. Just like calling your degree from Duke "worthless". Also, you as an experienced media professional know that it is above the pay grade for any blogger to work on copywrite issues, if there are any. This is why D Magazine has a general council

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Umm - Chinese people are not Vietnamese,  the rest of your post is pretty stupid, and there is an "edit" button that would allow you to more accurately represent your ignorance in one post...

Katierex1
Katierex1

 joke failed. It's like explaining how Bitner's never had fried chicken. Bitner is black right?

Sandy
Sandy

Shouldn't there be an a blog post trumpeting the irresponsibleness of your tweets? I'm sure being called a cocksucker, accused of sleeping with your boss, and having people comment on how you should be shown the door would be very educational and an enlightening experience for you as a fellow blogger.

Sandy
Sandy

Twin willow, then why are your comments all over SideDish.

Mervis
Mervis

No I'm not. Unless it is two consenting children.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

The reason why people say things like "D is for douche" is the way your blogger reacted to the situation. That's alright though, she probably gave them more publicity by doing that then by actually reaching out to the owner in regards to his banner. I will agree that the banner is overkill, but the situation could have been handled better than that. You'd think someone with a degree from Duke would handle themselves better. D did not threaten legal action, but your blogger basically said it. From now on, will you be reading her blogs before she hits the "send" button? Might be a good idea until she hits 30, just sayin.

Karen
Karen

I thunk the issue with VV is child prostitution. That cool with you too?

Mervis
Mervis

In the immortal words of my father (though I think he was quoting someone else): Prostitution, the oldest profession in the world.

Also some other sage words: Directly of indirectly.

Mervis
Mervis

Sorry Nancy. I retract my comment and will just have to agree with the headline instead.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Oh Nancy -

Why do you always feel the need to defend your bad hires?

At least a prostitute is honest about what they are advertising and charging for, as opposed to food bloggers sleeping with restaurant owners then shilling the restaurant in print....

Nancyn
Nancyn

I can't believe the immaturity of the comments above. Name calling and racial slurs? And D is a douche? Look in the mirror. D did no threaten legal action as you say. As a matter of fact, the Capriotti owner is very happy with the post and the new business he has. For the record, I would rather wade through ads for plastic surgery than Village Voice Media (owner of DO) promoting prostitution.

Bob
Bob

Oh, no she din't!

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