1000 pissed off ex-customers blast The Food Network’s guest chef’s restaurants

CLEVELAND, OH – With all the national media exposure Beckham’s B&M BBQ has received as Greg Beckham built his family-owned franchise, the thought one of his stores has a near-empty parking lot around lunch time should be non-existent.  But at the Lee Road Beckham’s B&M BBQ that occupies a former Wendy’s restaurant building, the parking lot is always near-empty and ex-customers like me say for good reason. 

The food sucks and the service is lousy.  The company “The Food Network” promoted on its “Chopped” show offers no refunds.  Critics of its service or food become Sonya Sterling-Beckham and her employees’ social media character assassination victims.

I authored a review of my experiences at B&M on my Facebook page and shared how the wait was nearly 40 minutes for three pieces of chicken, a small fry and a small side of collard greens.  I was with my son.  Two of the thighs were for him.

After 4 attempts to give the clerk the simple order over the barely-audible drive-thru speaker the manager stepped in to take it.  $11.35.  I drove to the window and questioned the high costs for the small amount of food, but paid anyway rather than go to another restaurant.  The young male clerk told us the wait would be 15 minutes and asked me to pull up.

Sonya Sterling Beckham’s defamatory and ghetto response to me and over 1000 other critical customers features the writing of a semi-literate and lying hood rat instead of a professional Christian woman trying to win over customers to her husband’s family-owned business and brand.

After 15 minutes I walked in to get my order although the clerk had promised to bring it out.  It wasn’t ready.  Just a few more minutes I was told by the female clerk behind the counter.  We’ll bring it out.  Two other customers in cars behind me had already received their order and drove away.  A couple sat in the lobby.  The store wasn’t busy.

I walked back to my car and continued talking with my son for about 15 minutes and went back inside B&M’s.  The order still wasn’t ready so I asked for a return of my money.  The female clerk told me they don’t give refunds.  There was nothing to refund.  They hadn’t filled the order.  I asked for the manager.  

B&M store manager Octavia Gunter defamed this writer with lies instead of dealing with the reality of a bad non-refund policy and poor service the restaurant The Food Network should not ever have allowed to appear on the show “Chopped.” The Food Network should bear some liability for encouraging its trusting audience to support a business they should have first investigated.

The manager, Octavia Gunten, told me the restaurant that appeared on an episode of “Chopped” called “Bangin’ Backyard Cookout” offered only exchanges.  The only thing they exchange is food.  I might as well wait. 

I told her the drive-thru suggests they’re a “fast food” and not a “slow food” restaurant.  She told me chicken took 20 minutes to cook and that all orders were cooked from scratch.  It’s the same crap I was told by the clerk as his reason for the 15 minute wait.   So despite the fact I’d already waited over 30 minutes for chicken promised in 15 by one employee, and 20 by another, no refund.  Wait longer.

To those close to her Sonya Sterling Beckham is “one of the nicest people.” Not to people she doesn’t know. Instead of an apology for poor service and a refund, she offered a dissatisfied customer who waited nearly 40 minutes for high-priced food a “hug” and defamed him. [Facebook photo]  

Minutes later I got my order and left.  I took a bite of the chicken and threw the rest back in the box for my cats.  The collard greens were dry, tasteless and the container was half full.  One bite and done.  No one enjoys a meal angry. 

I shared my experience with the horrible restaurant the “The Food Network” and “Chopped” encouraged its audience to support on my “Eric Jonathan Brewer” Facebook page.  I was stunned at the volume of negative “local” responses from ex-customers who weren’t impressed with the Beckham’s so-called “celebrity.”

In my first post nearly 500 former customers ripped that particular store and the Beckham’s for not caring about their food quality or customer service. 

The food they served was called “garbage.”  Customers complained of receiving chicken that wasn’t fully-cooked and was red with blood.  The same issues I raised about refunds, slow service and poor management were raised by them.  Some were even harsher.  They thought B&M should be shut down by the city of Cleveland’s health department.

After a second post more spelled out how the experience robbed me as a customer of nearly 40 minutes of “time” from my life I’d never get back, Sonya Sterling-Beckham offered an ignorant reponse after another more than 400 ex-customers ripped them.  She’s Greg Beckham’s wife. 

Sonya’s ghetto response was straight from the hood.  She defamed me by falsely describing me as being intoxicated in her store and sought to discredit my service in office as the City of East Cleveland’s former mayor.  She maliciously and falsely claimed I engaged in “disturbing behavior” while in office,  but accepted no responsibility for the service or wait.  I was lying about the length of time it took, according to Sonya’s “lying-with-her” manager.

The Beckham’s B&M manager, Octavia Gunter, maliciously and falsely claimed that I was intoxicated and lied that I disrespected her when I asked for a refund.  She also lied that I used “profanity” even though the service would have deserved it.

I published both their responses for a third Facebook post and shared their reaction to my customer service criticism with the more than 10,0000 people who follow or have friended me through the social media site.  Their responses expressed how stunned they were as Sonya was ripped, again, for her hood rat style professionalism.  The post was going viral and had generated over 100 responses in less than 30 minutes.  Readers were stunned at Sonya’s ignorant words and more at were semi-literate way of writing.

In retaliation B&M supporters reported the post to Facebook for “bullying.”  It was removed.  I was temporarily blocked from posting.  They could defame me but I could not respond.

A friend of the Beckham’s told me they wanted to hide Sonya and the manager’s defamatory words knowing they were untrue and used only to cover up for their theft of my money and time.

I reached out to “The Food Network” and the producers of “Chopped” for their response to such overwhelming criticism of a restaurant they’ve encourage their national audience to support.  They hadn’t responded by the time this story was published.  Their response will be published when it’s supplied.

Eric Jonathan Brewer

Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more.

Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings.

As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national.

Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year.

Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.