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'Just the way I felt': Woman who called 911 over pink BBQ tells her side of the story

WRAL News on Friday spoke to the woman who ripped into a local barbecue restaurant for serving her pink meat.

Posted Updated

Ken Smith
Chris Lovingood, WRAL anchors/reporters
RALEIGH, N.C. — WRAL News on Friday spoke to the woman who ripped into a local barbecue restaurant for serving her pink meat.

Annie Cooke said she has had barbecue at other restaurants, and it was never pink.

The issue started, she said, when she returned to Clyde Cooper's Barbeque to either have the restaurant cook the barbecue longer, serve her something else off the menu or give her a refund. Cooke said none of these things happened after she talked with the owner of the restaurant.

Cooke said she wrote the negative review because she felt the owner was being dismissive of her concerns, explaining, "That’s just the way I felt -- that’s the reason I called the cops, because I couldn’t get my money back or I couldn’t get a different plate."

Debbie Holt, owner of Clyde Cooper's Barbeque, said she did offer the customer a different meal, but Cooke refused. When that happened, Cooke was given one piece of chicken in a brown paper bag, and not the full chicken plate she expected.

Cooke told WRAL News on Friday she is considering filing a civil lawsuit.

Clyde Cooper’s is seeing an influx of customers since the incident. The restaurant posted to Facebook on Friday thanking people for the "pink bbq" love after Cooke's criticism.

Holt said Cooke, didn't understand that it’s normal for the restaurant to cook pork barbecue that way. She took a screenshot of the review, which has since been deleted, and posted it on social media.

WRAL News on Friday spoke to the woman who ripped into a local barbecue restaurant for serving her pink meat.

Cooke eventually called 911 after leaving the restaurant, Holt said. Before the 911 call, Holt tried to explain several times to the disgruntled customer why the meat was pink. Even other customers tried to chime in.

"I kind of snickered a little bit and told her, 'Honey, that's when the barbecue is smoked. It turns pink,’” Holt said. “And she was insistent it wasn't done."

Holt said she offered to bring another meal, white-meat chicken. She said Cooke did not make a fuss, left and dialed 911.

"I had ordered some food from there and the barbecue is pink," the woman told 911. "I asked for either for them to cook it some more or exchange my order. They are saying that the meat is supposed to be pink. I asked for them to change my order and they said they are not giving me my money back or they are not going to trade out the food.”

Holt said that after she called 911, police arrived.

"When the cop came in though, he had a cute little smile in his face and rolled his eyes, and just had his arms folded,” Holt said. “ I don't even think he said much to me except, ‘I got you.’”

“The beef” didn't stop there.

Cooke left a one-star review on Google and a photo of a barbecue plate. She also complained the cheese in her mac-n-cheese was not melted, but Clyde Cooper's explained that is a special smoked cheddar that adds flavor.

Holt said she has no hard feelings.

“Tell her to come back and I'll educate her about North Carolina, southeastern-style barbecue,” Holt said. “I'd be happy to."

The last health inspection for Clyde Cooper's Barbeque showed the restaurant had a 96.5, which is an A grade.

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