Montreal is a city that’s well known for its rich cuisine that’s a result of the blending of many different cultures coming together in one city. According to TripAdvisor, there are more than 4100 restaurants around the city. If you’re the type of person who likes to browse the top rated restaurants in a city when you’re about to visit, then you might have already checked out Le Nouveau Duluth, which is described as a Canadian Deli.
The place has 85 five-star reviews, although there are only 4 photos on the page and no website listed, as well as no information on the menu, staff, or contact details. So what gives?
CBC investigated further and it turns out that not only has nobody heard of this restaurant locally, it does not actually exist. CBC referenced the registrar of companies in Quebec and couldn’t find the restaurant listed there. When they checked its address, there was no restaurant to be found, and even the adjacent businesses nearby had never heard of Le Nouveau Deuluth.
When asked about it, Yoo Jeung, who owns a flower shop that is supposed to be right next door answered: “Nouveau Duluth? No. here’s a very high ceiling [in the photos]. On Duluth [Avenue] there are no high ceilings … it looks fake.”
Since then, TripAdvisor actually removed the restaurants listing, and when speaking with Food & Wine magazine, Brian Hoyt, the company’s head of global communication and industry affairs said: “Publicity stunts like this one are uncommon occurrences and do not share the characteristics of genuine instances of fraud, making them more challenging for Tripadvisor’s moderation teams and automated systems to detect. On this occasion, a failure in human moderation practices meant the fake listing remained live on the platform longer than it should have. Tripadvisor’s detection and moderation practices will be strengthened and improved in response to this stunt.”
It’s not clear whether or not anyone traveled to this location only to find that it does not exist, this kind of situation could be bad news for tourists who spend time looking for highly rated restaurants, only to be confused when it is nowhere to be found.