Yelp, for the most part, exists as a service for people who want to read other people yell about businesses on the internet. Sometimes, it might even provide a helpful review for a restaurant or two, but rarely is it a place you go to read narrative prose that tells a story of romance and heartbreak, all while informing you of which brunch spot serves the best eggs.
Until now, that is. Enter Chase Compton, a Yelp commenter who's left a series of restaurant reviews that chronicle his 9-month relationship with the man who eventually broke his heart.
Of Cafe Mogador (located in Manhattan's East Village), Compton wrote:
Café Mogador is "our place." It was the scene for some of the best breakfasts of my entire life. Being madly in love, I would sit on the patio (which seems to be perpetually situated in springtime) and stare longingly into his eyes like I could fall into them like an endless cup of dark brown coffee. We're that couple. It's kind of gross, I'll admit to it. And have you ever seen someone try to use a knife and fork while holding someone's hand? It's like a one-handed-clap, and it's really kind of hard to get anything done. Ever since I first met him, I knew that I would forever live on the patio of Café Mogador with him. Days I'm not there, I picture my table out there goes completely unseated. Surely my ghost haunts it, hand in hand with his ghost, eating ghost merguez as fast as we can.
Compton's review of the NoHo bar Von is the story of the couple's first date:
I suppose that to truly understand the story of Him, you have to begin at the beginning. I know it sounds repetitive, but it's the honest truth. The beginning is always the best part of a love story, because that's where there's still hope. Everything is possible, and the story arc hasn't happened yet. There's not even all the good stuff that comes along with love to exalt yet. It's just a meeting of two strangers in the world who have found each other, and through hope, start to build something that, hopefully, will change their lives.
We sat in the back corner of Von and spoke of San Francisco, and Fernet Branca, and shopping at Oak. It was simple. It was easy. I immediately knew that I wanted this man to be my best friend, but more than that, I wanted to swallow him whole. I wanted to take him into my mouth, taste him, chew on him, and revel in his being. I wanted him on my skin like sexual photosynthesis. As he spoke effortlessly to me about his life, which I knew nothing about, I couldn't stop staring at his lips. They moved in slow motion and at times the words seemed to not make any sense at all. He could have been speaking Swahili for all I knew. I just wanted to kiss him.
On gourmet grocery store Dean & DeLuca:
Moving slowly from the produce department with one foot in front of the other, I found myself staring at a case full of gorgeous pastries. My eyes locked on a pile of the most beautiful almost croissants I'd ever seen. Instantly I was taken back to our morning walks we used to take and the almond croissants we had shared while walking up Lafayette, which had somehow or another become the most traveled street in our day to day. He'd take massive bites, and wind up with powdered sugar and big flakes of dough stuck in his dark red facial hair. With my free hand not clutching a cup of coffee, I'd reach up to dust him out and he'd smile at me. I wondered if he shared croissants with his new lover. I wondered if they tasted even better than the ones with me.
French Roast would never again be that place where I ate French onion soup and frisee salads at four in the morning. Now it had become French Roast where I spent Thanksgiving that year that he broke my heart.
Reading Compton's reviews produces mixed feelings. There's something wonderful about finding creativity in unexpected places and — in a way — his narrative highlights how your company and mood can have as much to do with shaping a restaurant experience as the food and service does.
If you're feeling cynical, however, Compton's reviews can read as particularly self indulgent (unlike the rest of Yelp?). He obnoxiously refers to himself as a "Guerilla Blogger," even telling Business Insider, "My intention was to be kind of like a literary Banksy."
Despite the annoying Banksy comparison, I'm inclined to appreciate what Compton is trying to do (gracious of me, I KNOW). Then again, I'm the sappy type who gets all misty-eyed when walking past places where I've shared memorable drinks and meals with loved-ones, so who knows.
Either way, write on, you BANKSY of Yelp!
Image via Shutterstock.