Min Chung, the West Seattle entrepreneur who runs a sophisticated beer, wine, and hoagie shop in a former 7-Eleven, is worried an opponent's dirty tricks>"/>
Min Chung, the West Seattle entrepreneur who runs a sophisticated beer, wine, and hoagie shop in a former 7-Eleven, is worried an opponent's dirty tricks could derail a planned customer-appreciation barbecue next month.
"It's disheartening for me," says Chung, whose popular Super Deli Mart was profiled on Voracious last week. "I'm trying to do something new and fun."
Min Chung fills growlers at his West Seattle store, much to the dismay of detractors who claim his service is an affront to the neighborhood.
According to Chung, he's been targeted with harassing phone calls, nasty Yelp reviews, and a Twitter smear campaign claiming the convenience store poses a threat to neighborhood children. Additionally, Chung says, police officers lunching at Super Deli Mart were recently interrupted by "someone who just popped in, screaming 'Crooked cops! Dirty cops!'."
Many of Chung's customers, including contributors to the West Seattle Blog, have sprung to the store's defense. "This place is bringing something to my neighborhood that has never been done before, so show some respect," a Yelp poster wrote.
Chung believes one of his competitors may be jealous of the attention his store's received since introducing beer and wine tastings and a growler-filling service.
"That's what I'm leaning toward," Chung says of his theory. "Everyone tells me it comes with fame."
This isn't the first time Chung's had to contend with potentially damaging allegations. A tipster last year filed a complaint with the state liquor control board, accusing Chung of allowing drunkards to overrun his store during his first-anniversary barbecue. "It was really made up," says Chung, who's now worried another complaint will surface in advance of the party's second edition on May 1.
"We're going to have a little beer garden, and I'm working with the Department of Health to try to roast a pig," Chung reports. "They're telling me to serve hot dogs, but I'm the type of guy who tries to do something fun and exciting."
Even if Chung's forced to roast the pig offsite, he says he won't allow anonymous cranks to dissuade him from pouring alcoholic beverages. "Because I can serve beer, I'm going to serve beer," he says.
Update: Just heard back from the State Liquor Control Board. As Chung said, investigators couldn't find anything seriously amiss at his May 2010 barbecue, although officers did advise Chung to move his condiment station so "youths could 'dress' their hot dogs outside the beer garden." The store's also been cited for selling cigarettes to minors. Read on for the board's full report.