By Kevin Daley, DCNF
While terror suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami was preparing to wage war on the West, his family was mixing coleslaw and filling meal tickets.
The Rahami family, who came to the United States in 1995 and were granted asylum in 2011, owns and operates a greasy spoon in Elizabeth, N.J. called First American Fried Chicken, the sort of corner store that slings subs, fried chicken, and flavored cigars — all mainstays of American dining.
Though the stand enjoyed high ratings and positive reviews prior to this weekend’s bombings, Yelpers inundated the page with feedback ranging from cheeky to deeply racist after press reports identified the restaurant as belonging to the terror suspect’s family.
“Not as good as the Guantanamo location,” quipped Mark S. of Flushing, New York.
“I was told that the pressure-cooked fried chicken was da bomb, but I must have come across one of the duds,” Don L. of Tuscon, Arizona wrote. “The ‘call to prayer’ music is a bit unnerving, too.”
“My personal recco is to order the Religion Of Pieces – it’s Shredded Meat, cooked rare and dripping with blood. And to wash it down, drink their Tea Roar,” adds Mark S. of Mandeville, Louisiana, who elsewhere refers to the family as “filthy Mohammedan savages.”
One user in the Edison, N.J. area claimed to frequent the restaurant in the past. He hedged his four star rating by alleging disparate treatment due to his race. “But for real tho I think the dude that works there is a little racist,” Samy A. writes. “My name is Mike but he still calls me Miguel cause I’m brown wtf bro? Also they real stingy on dem napkins and plastic spoon forks so yea just remember that.”
Some came to the family’s defense, and admonished users who were mocking the Rahami family.
“Grow up and stop taking your miserable lives out on these innocent people,” Joshua D. of Barnstable, Massachusetts wrote.
The deluge of comments prompted Yelp to moderate the board. Comments relating to the attack or posted in proximity to events in New York this weekend will be removed from public view.
“This business recently made waves in the news, which often means that people come to this page to post their views on the news,” Yelp advised on the restaurant’s page.
“While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business.”
The Elizabeth City Council passed an ordinance requiring the restaurant to close at 10:00 p.m. after repeated nuisance complaints from neighbors, The New York Times reports. Members of the community said it attracted rowdy crowds late into the evening who exhibited boorish behavior.
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