Political pizza: Obama bear-hugger Van Duzer swarmed on Yelp

President Obama is picked up by Scott Van Duzer, owner of Big Apple Pizza, during a visit to the restaurant in Fort Pierce, Fla.
(Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)

It’s never just a simple bear hug when President Obama is involved.

For Florida pizza parlor owner Scott Van Duzer, lifting the president off the floor this weekend has wrought an onslaught of impassioned political commentary from customers on Yelp.

When Obama on Sunday unexpectedly dropped by Van Duzer’s eatery, Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce, the registered Republican and Obama supporter was so excited that he swept the commander in chief clear off his feet.

PHOTOS: Obama bear-hugged at pizzeria

Photos of the jubilant embrace raced around the Web. Diners (and more) raced onto Yelp.


Before Sunday, Big Apple Pizza had two customer entries on the review site, both rating the restaurant at five stars. The eatery has maintained its exemplary score, but now has 2,352 reviews, as well as 159 reviews filtered by the site for being suspicious.

Many comments were directed at Van Duzer.

Bruce B. of Ocala, Fla., called the restaurant owner “a moron” for backing Obama – but only because the decisions “will Alienate HALF of the people who may potentially give you money for your product.”

“If you have no more business acument than that, you don’t DESERVE to stay in business,” Bruce B. wrote.

Bob S. of Ellicott City, Md., wrote that Big Apple Pizza was “how businesses should be run.”

“This is an owner who works for himself and his community and is a model of how free enterprise works when it isn’t trampled by corporate America,” Bob S. wrote.

Some were more focused on the pie.

Kay J. of Frankfort, Ill., complained that the “pizza is horrible!”

“If I could give it a ZERO rating I would,” Kay J. wrote.

“It’s the best pizza in Florida,” wrote John C. of Laguna Niguel, who said he had tried it earlier this year.

“I only wish we were in Florida more often so we could enjoy this great restaurant every week,” he wrote.

Others were astounded at the sheer volume of remarks.

“Only the original two reviews should still be standing!” wrote Diana S. of Fountain Valley. “Everything else should be filtered. Including mine. This is ridiculous. Also... I’m a bleeding heart liberal. But 2,000+ reviews for a local pizza place?”

PHOTOS: Obama bear-hugged at pizzeria

Of course, Van Duzer is far from the only restaurateur to wade into the political muck. Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, set off weeks of debate this summer when he publicly voiced his support for the biblical definition of the family unit. John Schnatter, chief executive of the Papa John’s pizza chain, said Obama’s healthcare reform law will force the company to raise prices.

Take Marilyn Hagerty’s earnest review of a local Olive Garden for the Grand Forks Herald. Depending on who you asked, her report was a statement on bicoastal elitism, the role of niceness in fame, the decline of good manners in public commentary and several other themes now playing out in the election.


Marilyn Hagerty’s Olive Garden review now something else entirely

Is Chick-fil-A anti-gay marriage? ‘Guilty as charged,’ leader says

Papa John’s to raise pizza prices if ‘Obamacare’ survives: CEO

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