Empanada Joe's, a small but growing chain in Manhattan, just made its debut, and already the PR folks have been busy on the user review boards. From Yelp to Citysearch to Menupages, we have some incredibly suspect reviews for its Morningside Height location. In fact, it's one of the more aggressive infiltrations of the review sties that we've seen in awhile.
Responding to a commenter who said she hated the place, the first shill comes from our own comment section: "Well, i'm sorry but i have to disagree with you 'latina'. I'm also spanish, i went to Empanadas Joe's yesterday and i have just one word, "excellent".As soon as i had a bite it was like coming back home. I found these empanadas bigger that they use to be, and very tasty. Price?? it's not bad, if take into consideration that you can pay $7.95 for a small salad, or $4 bucks for a coffe at some coffe chains. And last but not least, i had 2 empanadas (chicken and caprese) and a water and i was satisfying. I recommend this place, people go and judge it by yourself."
Shill Probability: 68%
Our second culprit comes from Yelp. Almost the entirety of the reviews here, and there are many, are negative. Yet three, all from people who have only ever reviewed Empanada Joe's, are all out raves. Here's the most recent: "These are the best tasting empanadas I've eaten. First off, the shell is lightly toasted flaky, just perfect. And you won't find pulled pork or chicken that is more tender and savory. I grabbed the pork chicken tomato and cheese. Great store helpful staff. Emjos is on my luch stop short list."
Shill Probability: 85%
Our third shill is up on Menupages. Again we have starkly opposed reviews here, with half calling the place terrible, half swooning over it. One swoon: "These are the best empanadas in NYC. Lightly toasted crust. Very tasty fillings. I like the fact that they have some non traditional offering like the caprese (mozzerella and tomatoe) Veggie Mamma and Bacon egg and cheese. Check out the store too. It's gotta be one of the nicest fast food places I've been in bright clean cheerful really cool vibe."
Shill Probability: 92%
The worst rash of shills can, naturally, be found on Empanada Joe's CItysearch page: "Empanada Joe's is the savior of fast food. Not only is the food unique to NY but it is far more healthy than burgers,hot dogs, and fried chicken [with their mystery meat]. The service was excellent,fast and courtious along with a very cool setting. I tried three empanadas all excellent. Being latin I'm happy to see an upscale fast food restaurant that is healthy without sacrificing taste. The price is also right .....quality at a reasonable cost. If you want excellent fast food that's also healthy this is your place."
Shill Probability: 98%