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This Wild Story of a Naked Baby in a Vegan Restaurant Is Melting the Internet

Just when you'd thought you'd seen it all, the Internet will prove you wrong. That's one of the several takeaways from this manic tale of a naked child running around Imagine Vegan, a vegan cafe in Memphis, Tennessee. Like most great and terrible Food Service Internet stories, this saga begins with an over-the-top review left by disgruntled customer Chelsea Bartley. Her chief complaint, as screenshots and the tweet embedded above show, was as follows (emphasis added):

"During my visit, a bare butt naked baby was running around, stood up on a table with its black theyre [sic] so dirty feet, and bent over to show me its butthole. I wish I was exaggerating. This is like while I'm eating, and it's the owner's kids? An older kid came over and started like yodeling and staring at me during my meal. I was SO uncomfortable."

Since the au naturel anecdote was shared, it's thrown the many thousands of people who've seen the comments by now into disarray. Reviewers also allege that children have also pooped on the floor of the restaurant, which -- no matter what your opinions on proper parenting are -- would be a serious health code violation practically anywhere. Just look at some of the reactions:

The cafe, a family-owned spot which touts its "good food in a laid-back environment" on its website, didn't exactly take this on the chin. Its owners, Adam and Kristie Jeffrey, reportedly replied to the controversy on their since-deactivated or -deleted Facebook page by emphasizing that kids will be kids and going on the defensive against the angered customers and commenters.

"If a one-year-old was upside down on a table showing everyone there [sic] butt hole I don't think that's the biggest problem," according to screenshots. As Munchiesreports, they did not deny any of the things that reviewers allege happened, and apparently threatened to "start calling out names and pictures of people who leave us bad reviews, especially when it deals with our children."

To echo the immortal words of The Boondocks' Riley Freeman, as voiced by Regina King: "That ain't a good look, Granddad." This drama worsened when the Internet hordes surfaced old posts from the cafe's Facebook page as the controversy and Twitter hashtag #ButtholeGate spread wide and far.

As the layers of the story mounted, the original commenter, Chelsea Bartley -- who deleted her original review, now immortalized in screenshots -- posted a statement in an image to Facebook yesterday in response to the ensuing controversy. In it she reiterates her discomfort throughout her meal, doubles down on every word she had written in her review as the truth, and decries the restaurant's "childish" response, which "dragged [my name] through the mud."

When Munchies reached Kristie Jeffrey, at Imagine Vegan, for comment, she denied Bartley's version of the events that day and remained unapologetic, calling the incident a "freak accident" and maintaining that it was not the norm at their restaurant. She stated that she wished Bartley had said something or approached her in the restaurant and attempted to resolve the issue. "She waited and then posted a nasty review and brought my children into it," she said. "It was just completely uncalled for."

"We get negative reviews all the time. It's part of the vegan restaurant business. It's not a big deal at all," she said. "We usually let it go."

But not this time.

h/t Munchies

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Eric Vilas-Boas is a writer and editor at Thrillist. Follow him @e_vb_.