Detroit's Town Pump Tavern submits entry for biggest food fail of 2017


  • Jackie Coats/Facebook

Update: Coats says UberEats has contacted her and promised to refund her order in full within the next seven to 10 days.

Kitchen mistakes happen all the time and normally we wouldn't report on one. But a sad looking box of uncooked onion slices sitting in a pile of powdered batter mix that downtown Detroit's Town Pump Tavern sent to customer Jackie Coats is perhaps one of the more incredible orders we've ever seen.

When she called the restaurant to report the issue and didn't get a satisfactory response, she went the next most effective route — social media shaming. Coats posted a photo of the box of raw onion slices and powder to Facebook on Dec. 8, and expressed her shock in a message accompanying the pic: "Don’t ever order food from this restaurant.... we ordered onion rings and they sent onions and batter. All they had to say was 'Sorry, I’ll talk to the cook.' Bartender claimed that there was no managers at the restaurant at all to speak to. Very unprofessional. He said that there was no way to receive a refund #donteatthere."

It went viral with 559 shares as of Tuesday and dozens of comments.

Among those comments is one from Lindsay B Balitus, who says she's Town Pump Tavern's general manager.

We are so, incredibly sorry for this egregious mistake. Given that we are a restaurant that makes many of our items in house, most of the food is made to order instead of prepped ahead of time. Our onion rings are freshly cut and breaded each time they are ordered, and often times the cooks will use a to go box to bread the onion rings, because the smaller size lets them shake the box harder, and therefore gives a more even coating. Our cook was making mutiple orders of onion rings and included his prep box with your order in error. It was an honest mistake and again, we are truly sorry that this happened to you and are doing everything we can to make it right. As for your refund, the employee you spoke with this afternoon was correct—our management staff does not arrive until the evening, but he took a detailed note and gave it to me the second I walked in. Since the order was placed with Ubereats, he was unable to refund your money, as we are not paid immediately for each order—the payment is processed through uber, who in reimburses us at a later date. We have contacted ubereats and instructed them to refund your payment in full, which they issued immediately—please see your private messages for the confirmation number. Again, we are truly sorry for this inconvenience and we hope you will give us a chance to make this up to you.

So, OK, it was an honest mistake, the Town Pump Tavern apologized, the manager said in multiple posts that she is refunding the entire meal and is even offering a gift certificate, so all should be good in the world. But on Tuesday morning Coats said she only received a refund for the onion rings — $2.12.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.