Turtleboy Investigates

North Shore Eats Part 3: “We Don’t Charge Ad Dollars,” But We Will Turn Our Followers Against You If You Don’t Give Us Free Gift Cards Every Month

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If you didn’t read Part 1 of North Shore Eats exposed, read it here.

If you didn’t read Part 2 of North Shore Eats exposed, read it here.

Last we spoke we were explaining how Greg Bates (the guy running the 36,000 member strong North Shore Eats Facebook group) was intentionally not working in order to avoid paying child support. He was sentenced to jail for 30 days last summer and it’s come to our attention that during that time the word on the street was that his Facebook was suspended, which was why he wasn’t posting on NSE:

But…..nah. Just a deadbeat.

His return was like when MacArthur stormed the beaches of Leyte Gulf:

But the bottom line is that Greg essentially was stealing money from his own family, particularly his children, by not paying child support. If you’re willing to steal from your own kids, who aren’t you willing to steal from?

Now, I just want to say that I have zero problem with Greg Bates monetizing his platform. This is America after all. He built that page up, people enjoy going to it, and if businesses see value in paying him money to be seen on his page then so be it. When we were first contacted about this story we passed on it specifically because of that reason.

But you also have an obligation to do the following:

  • Let people know that the reviews you are giving are coming from people who paid you so they know that the reviews might not be 100% authentic
  • Treat all business owners the same, meaning charging them all the same rate for equal exposure
  • Use a business Facebook page instead of a community group
  • Register your business with the secretary of state’s office, report your income, and pay your taxes
  • Be professional and forthcoming

Greg Bates doesn’t do any of these things, which is why we’re exposing him.

For starters, he insists he doesn’t demand gift cards from restaurant owners:

And he does not charge restaurants for advertising:

And indeed some restaurant owners are coming to his defense on his page:

It’s noteworthy that Kevin Ricci was at one point an administrator on that page. And if he says he’s not being forced to pay for exposure, that’s cool too. Just don’t charge others. Or let people know who’s paying and who’s not.

But yet countless businesses have messaged us telling us that he made it very clear that he requires  two cards PER MONTH, one that he will raffle and one for his personal use…..for a family of four. 

He also promises a positive review in exchange for the cards:

“The more I am there the more you will see.”

And he tells business owners that he’s gonna keep coming back because it will be so good for them.

“I require two gift cards a month.”

But wait Greg, I thought you didn’t make restaurants give you gift cards?

Now, Greg has told us that the person he was speaking to was a caterer, not a restaurant owner, therefore he’s not a liar. In reality he’s just hiding behind semantics, and if he wants to we can produce multiple restaurant owners who were told the same thing.

It’s his way of getting free food. After all, how else can an unemployed deadbeat dad afford to eat out twice a day:

His followers are led to believe that he’s some sort of legitimate food critic giving them honest and fair evaluations of local restaurants. He’s basically doing what Anthony Bourdain did for a living, except he stays along Route 1 and he has zero background as a chef, food critic, or business owner. In reality he’s just getting free meals and cash out of it, and saying good things about those who pay him. The entire premise of his page is that people can discuss food in the north shore. But the conversation is completely controlled by who is hooking him up with the most food. And yes, gift cards would be considered payment.

If his page were as he claimed it is, he would be trying different restaurants, paying for it himself, and letting people know what he thinks. But as some people have noticed, he seems to go to the same places a lot, and hits them up multiple times:

As you can see from his replies, he’s a very busy and wanted man. And he constantly brags about the reach of his page. He forces his advertisers to share and comment on content on his page, thus it gets more reach. Which is fine. But that’s essentially a form of spamming, and the people you’re reaching aren’t coming to you  because they’re interested in what you’re sharing. There’s a big difference.

Here he is messaging a critic (he has TONS of critics), bragging to them about how he’s going out to eat again and 20-25 restaurants a day reach out to him:

With the two gift cards he claims that he keeps one for himself, and one goes towards his “raffles,” which raise money for the ARC. We’ll delve more into the Autism thing in a later blog, but the whole premise of having lotteries like this is actually illegal:

“Only qualified non-profit organizations that have obtained a permit and act in accordance with M.G.L. c. 271, s. 7A and, if applicable, 940 CMR 12.00 can conduct raffles. An individual cannot hold a raffle even if a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a qualified nonprofit organization.”

He either charges $10 a ticket, or makes them share/comment on his page, and claims that the winners are randomly picked. This violates Facebook’s terms and conditions, but considering our history with Facebook’s bullshit we won’t fault him for that. But as we saw yesterday, people like Chrissy Langdon (him) have a tendency to win:

And others have messaged us and told us that they won these “raffles” but never received their gift cards. Like this guy, who won a gift card to Salty Franks in Gloucester:

And another…..

Although I would like to remain anonymous, I “won” a $75 (I think, it may have been $50 but it was months ago) gift card to Tonno in Wakefield. He messaged me for my address, which I gave Greg. I still have received nothing. I tried to give him/them the benefit of the doubt because the restaurant is still under construction.  

Here’s some more stories that restaurant owners have told us…….

At one point Greg had posted that he was going to be placing interns for Salem State into restaurant social media positions.  Someone messaged him, interested in getting an intern. Greg tried to convert them to a paid customer until he learned they don’t market locally.  At that point he offered to let them post for free as long as they threw him a few lobsters.

No big deal. He puts something out offering these imaginary interns he has at his disposal (despite not being anything remotely close to being considered a legal entity) to local businesses to run their social media page. But really he just ends up mooching some free lobsters out of them. Because…why pay for your own food? You’re the guy who runs a Facebook page. It should be raining lobsters on you.

The 4 Winds in Lynn got hit up for the gift cards:

He’s very self important and considers himself some sort of food critic celebrity. Thus he can’t seem to fathom why some restaurants aren’t bending over backwards to invite him to events:

A new restaurant was opening in Salem (Ledger).  It was a much anticipated opening and had massive buzz in the industry.  I was trying to get it posted and to get him invited to the soft opening, i thought it would be great for the business but the owner can’t stand him and they didn’t invite him.  Here’s his pity party.

“I don’t charge restaurants.” LOL.

Poor Greggy. Looks like his Facebook page just isn’t as impressive to others as he believes it should be. Because Ledger didn’t pay to join his network he never posted about the restaurant opening at all:

The day before the opening he posted about a 3% kitchen administration fee that is charged.  He basically riled everyone up against the place without stepping foot in it.  All because his little feelings were hurt because they didn’t want him at any of the 3 soft openings.  He then opening the flood gates again in October but made frequent comments and jabs here and there about the fee, prices etc.  He’s a vindictive prick.

Here’s what another owner told us:

He tipped a bartender named redacted at a place called Jacobs Corner in Beverly with a gift card from Sidelines. 

Just what a bartender wants for a tip – a gift card to a restaurant he may or may not like to eat at.

At the top of the page he pins some of the “member” restaurants, and their specials. This is prime real estate to Greg because it’s what everyone sees first. The 3rd restaurant down is Jami’s Kitchen.

A couple people reached out about his relationship with them. Here’s what one of them told us:

He’s been in bed with this shitty restaurant called Jami’s Kitchen.  Constantly posting, my friend worked here and said they were paying more than 75$ per week which is what her old restaurant Stonewood Tavern paid at one point.  He’d go to Stonewood every night to collect. Anyway, Jami’s sucks, but he promotes them a lot because they pay. 

When people post about Jami’s the comments are often negative. One of their employees went ballistic on NSE attacking the members.  Her name is Kelsey.

Well….that’s one way to conduct business I suppose.

Then there’s Burger Master, an unofficial group of people who come together over their love of burgers, and Greg’s precursor to North Shore Eats. Greg tries strong arming the restaurants into joining his burger master network and makes it seem as if they are for charity (notice the comments):

But he’s making money off of it. Here’s another email we got from someone who used to affiliate with Burger Master:

My interaction goes back to the Burgermaster days.  Never bought into his gift card scams and ignored him on a few charity events because I could smell bullshit.  I’m not involved with the restaurants anymore but they are alive and thriving without Greg so I have deleted their names.  We always were involved in local charities hosting events and donating regularly, we just chose not to participate in his.

 The story goes:

  1. Tell restaurant about the burger group and encourage participation
  2. Have your pain in the ass members act like food critics
  3. Try to get MINIMUM of two gift cards a month (see attached)
  4. Ask for charity donations
  5. When you don’t reply tag you personally on Facebook notifying you he will be visiting the establishment that night
  6. Never ask if you are available when he visits or has an “issue” with his $3 burger
  7. Passive Aggressively message you privately the next day with a long rant about one side of his burger bun.
  8. When you still don’t reply publicly post a negative review after claiming the group is not to rant
  9. Comment on posts using Greg’s fake account (Chrissy langdon)
  10. Instead of removing the business from the burger special announcements leave them up with a thumbs down

But remember, he doesn’t charge ad dollars:

You just have to give him gift cards. Because he’s some random guy with a Facebook page who’s appointed himself king food critic of the north shore.

Remember though, he doesn’t make you give him gift cards. Except here’s the message he sent a burger joint, specifically telling them they have to give him a personal gift card every month (for “reviews”) that will cover two burgers, two drinks, AND tip.

But he’s “not a businessman, this is just a hobby.” Lots of hobbies involve using your relative Facebook fame to strong arm and extort business owners into feeding you and your girlfriend once a month.

Greg never heard back from him, despite repeatedly messaging them to join his stupid network, and began over selling it by always mentioning Autism:

When Greg went to eat at this particular restaurant he couldn’t believe he wasn’t hearing back from them. Naturally he tagged someone associated with the business because his celebrity presence in the establishment was a gift from God.

But yet he STILL didn’t hear from the chud!! Bro, do you even know who you’re dealing with?

You can’t ignore the burger master!

So it looks like he never got his gift cards and was forced to (gasp) pay for his own food. Naturally he messaged the owner some more to go into great detail about his traumatizing ordeal with a bad burger:

Notice he tells the business owner that the conversation will stay between them. As if he’s doing the business a favor. So long as the don’t ignore him. No one ignore’s Greg Bates!! As if they ever signed up to be a part of his shit carousel to begin with. But because of Greg’s self-importance complex he cannot understand why someone has the audacity not to get back to him about his $3 burger. He’s not some cheapskate, after all, he orders $75 worth of food and drink. BALLAHHH!!

Greg just could not believe this guy wasn’t getting back to him, so he did exactly what he said he wasn’t going to do – posted about it on NSE:

“It could have been an opportunity for them. Failed.”

Imagine opening up a restaurant, investing your life saving’s into it, working 7 days a week just to survive, and all of a sudden this random laardvark with a Facebook page shows up, demands free shit, and then craps all over you to his 35,000 member cult because you had the audacity to ignore him.

Chrissy Langdon was cool with it:

He uses his followers as a weapon to destroy businesses that don’t recognize his importance. He coyly does it by trying to be polite, but it’s really just a ruse for free gift cards. And if you don’t give it to him, this is what he does to you. Coincidentally he set Burger Masters to private once he knew the turtle was doing a story on him:

Here’s another burger joint who had an awful experience with him:

I own Lexie’s burger joints in Southern NH and we have one in Newburyport as well. We were talked about often on the NSE page and then Greg reached out to me personally and we had some conversations about our business and spreading the word and how much people loved Lexie’s. Then he started asking for donations, which was fine with me, but when I explained our company wide policy on donations and how we only donate to youth sports teams or programs where our restaurants are located his whole tune changed. Here is our exchange through messenger below. 

Oh look, he’s done the whole, “I’m calling my lawyer” routine before. And like the business owner says, he’s clearly only allowing people to post on his page who give him free gift cards.

He also pulls tricks with liquor stores:

He does a couple of things. He’ll post on the North Shore Eats page and say “Tell me what local brewery you think should be at XXXX restaurant”.  A bunch of people reply saying “X, Y and Z”.  He then reaches out to X, Y and Z breweries and says “Hey, i’m helping XXXX redo their menu and I want to get your local beer in there. I can make it happen for a placement fee and a small commission on sales”.  What he is asking for is actually illegal for two reasons, A) paying for placement is illegal in massachusetts  B) in order to solicit orders for a brewery you need to be an actual employee with a Mass ABCC Salesman Permit

Greg’s actually breaking the law.  And then when a brewery replies “No, thanks” to his scheme, he’ll go back to the Eats page an reply “Z Brewery was not interested”.  Truth is, Z brewery was just not interested in getting extorted.

We’re not sharing the screenshot of this message from Greg since it could reveal who sent it to us, and if our sources ask to remain anonymous we actually respect that. But Greg clearly is violating this law too, or at least trying to.

Here’s another anonymous restauranteur telling a similar story:

But wait, Greg said he doesn’t accept ad dollars. Weird.

Check out what he did to Mile Marker 1 in Gloucester:

Mile Marker 1 didn’t wanna pay to play. Naturally he acted like this was an insult to the 35,000 people in his group, but in reality he was just pissed they had the audacity to not give him free gift cards.

“I will make an official announcement they are not interested in the members of this group and get the word our for us to avoid them. I completely respect their position.”

Nah, Greg, you don’t respect their position. Because you ban them from posting on their page so people have to sneak around while referencing them:

He did notice this one and slyly asked, “Is that 100% fresh lobster?”

According to some he actually had a meeting with Mile Marker 1 that he blew off:


Cygnet is another restaurant that opened up in Beverly. Naturally Greg tried to strong arm them into free gift cards but failed. Once again he whored out his group, “hope they have interest in our 20,000 members,” and let Cygnet know that they’d be getting a positive review if they played ball:

“Not a lot of changes need to be made to make this a very positive review”

This quickly turned into public posts about how rude Cygnet was for ignoring the fresh prince of gift cards:

He was “amazed” this fancy new restaurant had the nerve to not reach out to some random glutton chunk with a Facebook group, and he let it be known whenever someone said something positive about them…..

He made it crystal clear that because of this perceived “disrespect” from the owner he was banning them or anyone else promoting Cygnet from posting on the page:

“I will make an announcement they are not interested in the members of this group and get the word out for us to avoid them.”

And that’s about half the restaurants we heard from. We’ll have more for you tomorrow. You haven’t seen some of the best ones yet – Hoppy’s, G Parties, Champions, Ryan Side-Cafe, Salerno, and many more……

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