MTL Blog called out for wildly inaccurate post about U.S. restaurants

Pop Goes The News – A Montreal click-bait blog that has for years been derided for its poor grammar and factual errors is being called out this week for a bizarre article about American restaurant chains.

Katina Goulakos, a MTL Blog writer described on the website as “just a girl from Montreal with a dog named Denver,” wrote the piece under the headline: “This Map Will Guide You To The Closest American Food Chains That We Don’t Have In Quebec.”

The first factual error is in the headline and repeated in a subhead (“Below is a list of popular American chain restaurants and their locations that are closest to Montreal”).

Goulakos suggested driving 3.25 hours to Fort Drum, New York to eat at Popeye’s – even though the chain operates dozens of locations in Canada, including just two hours away in Ottawa.

She recommended a 2.75-hour drive to Queensbury, New York for a meal at Red Lobster instead of staying in Canada and making the 2-hour drive to Red Lobster in Ottawa.

Goulakos suggested readers drive 1.75 hours into the U.S. to eat at Denny’s in Burlington, Vermont despite there being a Denny’s only an hour away in Lancaster, Ont.

The next factual error comes in Goulakos’ opening paragraph.

“These massive moneymakers can be found across the U.S., but many of them have yet to enter the Canadian market,” she reported.

In fact, 17 of the 19 restaurant brands she listed currently operate in the Canadian market. Only Cracker Barrel and Longhorn Steakhouse are not found north of the border. (None are located in Quebec, where companies face higher operating costs related to stringent business and language regulations.)

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Goulakos unabashedly promotes the idea of crossing an international border to eat at a chain restaurant. Her preamble to the list of restaurants includes a reminder to “Just make sure to bring your passport!”

She wrote: “If you are anything like my friends and me, sometimes you just drive across the border to get Chipotle.” They could stay in Canada, though, and enjoy Chipotle in Ottawa, along with Panera Bread and Arby’s – all chains she suggested Montrealers cross into the U.S. to visit.

In November, Goulakos authored a post on MTL Blog about a Kijiji ad for “Céline Dion’s used tissue” several days after it was exposed as a scam by the mainstream media. The fake ad had already been removed by Kijiji when she published her story.

In a 2014 since-deleted message to its readers, MTL Blog admitted it is “guilty of making many a mistake” and blamed the factual errors on its “youthful and inexperienced” contributors.

“We are sorry to any we have led astray, or made weary with informational/grammatical errors,” the open letter read. “A small team of only several individuals, we lack the resources to ensure perfection in the plethora of content pumped out each day, yet we should regardless.”