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Published on February 25, 2024
The Feud between Boston Restaurant and NYC Diner Heats Up with Viral Reservation Cancellation Dispute Involving TABLE OwnerSource: Google Street View

A culinary clash between a North End restaurant owner and a would-be diner has taken the Internet by storm, quickly escalating from a canceled reservation to a viral showdown complete with online backlash and legal threats. TABLE Boston owner Jen Royle lashed out at New Yorker Trevor Chauvin-DeCaro for disputing a $250 cancellation fee after he nixed his plans due to a medical emergency, according to messages posted by Chauvin-DeCaro that were obtained by Boston.com. Amidst the kerfuffle, Yelp has stepped in to monitor a surge of negative reviews hitting TABLE's page, and though the Google Card listed TABLE as "permanently closed," it was a planned response to deflect negative input, and the establishment remains open for business.

The dispute became public when Chauvin-DeCaro, after being hospitalized and missing his trip to Boston was told by Royle via Instagram to "have more respect for restaurants, especially small businesses such as mine," with Royle's disdain for the disputed fee palpable in the message exchange, in these private moments now laid bare we see the tensions running high between the expectations of consumer protection and the strains on small business operators, tensions that have become embodied in the push and pull between Royle and Chauvin-DeCaro's accounts of their unappetizing interaction. The legal team for TABLE Boston, has flagged the potential for legal action in light of the viral spectacle as Royle's attorney Michael Ford labelled the threats and defamatory comments following the debacle as hurtful, drawing sympathy and scorn in equal measure as Ford confirmed to The Herald that Royle has been "bombarded with death threats."

The flame-fanned dispute ignited when Chauvin-DeCaro utilized his Chase credit card travel insurance to reclaim the cancellation fee, sparking Royle's ire, who felt the restaurant and its staff were being undercut by such actions, despite the fact that Royle is no stranger to online disputes, once defending her approach as reflective of many restaurant workers' unspoken frustrations. Yet in the glare of the virality, Chauvin-DeCaro found himself facing hostility as well, sharing with Boston.com that he never desired to stir up hate against the local eatery nor did he campaign for people to leave reviews on his behalf, seeking only to assert the validity of his travel insurance claim having called the several establishments, including TABLE, to inform them of the necessary cancellations.