A local restaurant has ended a popular dinner special that generated two death threats.

During the COVID-19 lockdown it's been a challenge for some restaurants to get people to come out of their homes to pick up dinner. As a result, chefs have had to become creative in inventing new menu items and bundling food into dinners to feed whole families. These tactics seemed to work a little too well for one Poughkeepsie restaurant, who's dinner special created an out-of-control fanbase of hungry customers who resorted to bribery and even death threats to get their hands on this hard-to-get meal.

Mill House Brewing Company in Poughkeepsie announced last week that they would be creating a Chinese food pop-up. Because many local Chinese food restaurants have closed down, Mill House decided to create their own version of the cuisine to help bring a bit of "normalcy" back with comfort foods like lo mein and eggrolls. Starting last Tuesday, customers could order a family bundle inspired by the brewery's former occupant, Mill House Panda, which was known for their exceptional Chinese food. The bundle consisted of sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, veggie eggrolls, cold sesame lo mein noodles, pork fried rice, boneless spare ribs and even fortune cookies. The dinner cost $75 and was more than enough to feed a family of four.

A. Boris

Customers who wanted to order the meal had to call up and pre-pay for curbside pick-up starting at 3:30pm. On Tuesday the dinner special sold out in about a half-hour. To help ease the process, the ordering time was moved up by an hour on Wednesday, but that only jammed up the phone line even more, with hundreds of people hoping to "win" their chance of purchasing the meal.

I was one of the customers who was calling in on Wednesday. Starting at 2:30 I immediately got a busy signal. Utilizing the "call back" button on my cellphone, my call log shows that it took over 150 attempts to finally get through with my order. While I was lucky enough to be able to buy the dinner, many disappointed customers took to social media to share their frustration in missing out.

Mill House Brewing Company

While many people took the challenge of being able to purchase the Chinese food special in good humor, there were some who resorted to bad behavior. According to Mill House Brewing Company, a few customers stormed the restaurant, banging on the door after not being able to get through on the phone. Some hungry people even sent employees text messages, hoping to bribe their way onto the list.

Perhaps the most shocking example of how this menu item took the Hudson Valley by storm is that Mill House Brewing Company says they actually received two death threats over not being able to purchase the Chinese food special.

On Friday, the restaurant decided to permanently end the Chinese food pop-up with one more night of service. The restaurant shut down the rest of their menu and, instead, focused entirely on the dinner special. They increased the number of meals available from 200 to 600. And in just an hour and a half, all 600 meals were sold out.

Mill House Brewing Company

Mill House Brewing Company posted a thank you message to their customers on Facebook. It announced that the restaurant was ending the Chinese Food special and returning to its regular menu. The message encouraged customers to seek out Chinese food restaurants that had since re-opened.

We will stick to being Mill House Brewing Company and do what we do best, while we urge you to go get your Chinese food fix from our neighbors. Because we’re all in this together and we will all survive this together.

On Saturday, Mill House's menu was back to normal, offering pizzas, burgers, several different entrees and, of course, plenty of freshly brewed beer.


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