San Francisco Eatery’s Owner Apologizes for Banning MAGA Hat Customers

Supporters hold up their 'Make America Great Again' hats as US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa, Florida, on July 31, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The owner of a San Francisco-area eatery is apologizing for stating that he would ban customers sporting “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats inside his restaurant.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who is a chef-partner at Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo, penned a post on Medium Friday apologizing to staff and business partners for his “reckless” public statement.

“Making a public statement without taking my team’s thoughts into consideration was disrespectful and reckless. My goal at Wursthall was for it to be a restaurant where all employees and staff are treated with respect and trust, and by making that public statement without your consent, I failed at that goal,” Lopez-Alt wrote.

“Wursthall will continue, as it always has, to serve all customer (sic) regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual preference, gender orientation, disability, or political opinion — so long as they leave hate, anger, and violence outside of the doors of our restaurant,” the chef continued.

Lopez-Alt posted a tweet Sunday saying he would not serve customers wearing the Trump campaign-issued red caps, comparing the hats to wearing swastikas and white hoods from the Ku Klux Klan.

“It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate,” said a now-deleted tweet from Lopez-Alt obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday.

The tweet spurred a lot of backlash long after it was deleted, causing angry commenters to flood the restaurant’s Yelp and Facebook pages with negative reviews.