When news broke Monday that two men had been charged federally with assaulting Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who later died after defending the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, one of the names carried a long history in Morgantown, West Virginia.
“This guy has had so much bad karma coming his way that I hope he goes to jail for a long time,” one commenter on a Morgantown Facebook group wrote of one of the defendants, George Tanios. “He’s such a horrible person.”
“I wish I could say that I was surprised,” wrote another.
Tanios now faces charges including assaulting an officer with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to injure an officer. Prosecutors say Tanios was with another defendant, Julian Elie Khater, who appeared to spray police officers — including Sicknick — with a chemical irritant during a scuffle on Capitol grounds. Khater allegedly retrieved a canister from Tanios’ bag, telling him “Give me that bear shit,” and then used what prosecutors said appeared to be a chemical spray on police.
But the bad blood against Tanios in Morgantown, which is home to West Virginia University, doesn’t have much to do with the alleged assault of a police officer during an attempted insurrection.
Tanios has… a reputation, one that quickly becomes evident reading through reviews for his restaurant, Sandwich University. (Tanios allegedly wore clothing with a “Sandwich U” logo to the Capitol attack.)
After one reviewer, David, complained about his food on GrubHub, the Sandwich University account replied: “David is smoking crack everyone!” When someone else complained about a Sandwich University driver on Google, the store responded by acknowledging the complaint and saying they had reprimanded the driver — but that wasn’t all.
“Like the Old Snowflake that you are, you stayed in a fit of rage and could not tell me what to do about it,” the response read. “Yes we were very busy and I am sorry we do not have a dedicated person to sit here and listen to you cry about it over the phone for over 10 mins (Which I did). You get 1 star for crying on the phone and half a star for complaining online wishing we go out of business.”
It wasn’t just customers with a grudge against Tanios: Over the years, student-focused publications including Barstool Sports and TotalFratMove captured Sandwich University feuding with former employees over Twitter.
An archived Twitter account for Tanios’ restaurant shows Sandwich University frequently retweeting then-President Donald Trump. And on Instagram, an username associated with Tanios, “kingofthefatsandwich,” posted a screenshot of a one-star review that read “If donald trump was a restaurant manager, this is who he would be.” The account seemed to take that comment as flattery.
“To [sic] epic not to share,” the account responded.
On top of the decidedly aggressive customer service, Tanios also ticked off some customers with so-called “ghost kitchens,” or restaurants that purport to be independent eateries when, in fact, they are re-branded versions of an existing kitchen. In September, one disgruntled West Virginian Reddit user counted multiple restaurants that shared Sandwich University’s address, including “Sub Me Sideways,” “Burgers in Bed” and “Wingin’ It.”
“My friends and I have actually made a game of guessing which restaurants are real and which restaurants are ‘fucking Sandwich University again,’” the Reddit user complained.
Tanios told Morgantown Magazine that the different restaurant names allowed him to appeal to different customers.
“Our location here has always been delivery-heavy, but everyone kinda put us in a box, saying we were just drunk food. But in reality, we really aren’t,” he said.
Sandwich University’s Facebook account has been suspended, but a post from three years ago, preserved on the store’s website, seemingly shows Tanios pushing the so-called “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory with the hashtag #CometPizza, an apparent reference to the pizza place at the center of the off-the-walls theory, Comet Ping Pong.
“If you care about your children, read on it a bit,” Tanios wrote. “Careful it is a worm hole they don’t want you in.”
Business troubles were part of what led to Tanios’ downfall, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit. One of the witnesses who allegedly helped federal agents identify Tanios noted a business dispute, authorities said, in which Tanios allegedly embezzled $435,000 from a former business. (Details of that case weren’t available Monday.)