Actor, television host and noted Dodgers fan Mario Lopez has opened a ghost restaurant in Houston, and Astros fans are absolutely not having it.
As Eater reported yesterday, Lopez, best known for playing Hammer pants aficionado A.C. Slater on the recently rebooted ‘90s teen comedy Saved by the Bell, has lent his name to a virtual restaurant concept called Mario’s Tortas Lopez, which serves Mexican-style sandwiches filled with ingredients like grilled steak, chorizo and egg and pork carnitas, available exclusively through delivery from Grubhub.
But Astros fans have long memories, and were quick to reference a January 2020 video in which Lopez, a fan of the L.A. Dodgers, called the ‘Stros “cheating rat bastards” and said the team’s punishment for the 2017 “trash can scandal” was too light. Those comments have apparently made Lopez, and his tortas, persona non grata in Space City.
“Bless your heart if you think you’ll sell your crappy tortas here in H-town,” tweeted one user. “Nope. That fool’s a Dodger fan. That’s [a] big fucking no from me dog,” posted another user, along with a gif of American Idol judge Randy Jackson.
Nope. That fools a Dodger fan. That’s big fucking no from me dog pic.twitter.com/T9wpn5LcKy— Ilan (@Skeelon1215) March 17, 2021
It’s not the first time Houston sports fans have rallied against a celeb-led restaurant project in the Bayou City. In 2018, Rockets fans bombarded barbecue restaurant International Smoke, co-founded by Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry’s wife Ayesha, with negative reviews, before it even opened. And earlier this year, when Rockets player James Harden was traded just before the opening of his Midtown restaurant Thirteen, angry fans flooded Google with negative reviews.
One Twitter user even referenced the International Smoke incident in response to Lopez, writing “We are going to drag that place down like the Curry’s restaurant.”
We are going to drag that place down like the Curry’s restaurant.— Nes (@Stros_Nes) March 17, 2021
It’s worth noting, at least in Lopez’s case, that when celebs launch virtual restaurants like this, they are usually partnering with local restaurants whose staff prepare the food, taking some cut of the proceeds. In Houston, that restaurant is a Wayside tamale shop called Doña Tere.
And Mario’s Tortas Lopez isn’t the actor’s only connection to Houston. His sister Marissa is married to former Texans linebacker Kailee Wong.