One Dallas restaurant learned the hard way this week why businesses should keep their noses out of politics and just stick to serving their customers.
Ellen’s, a restaurant that serves brunch all day, brought scorn and rebuke to its tables when it injected itself into the ongoing debate between gun control zealots and Second Amendment supporters.
The controversy started Friday when a man in town for the National Rifle Association’s annual convention tweeted a copy of his Ellen’s receipt with the caption, “If I had known we wouldn’t have eaten here.”
Included at the bottom of the receipt was the following political message: “A portion of this week’s proceeds will be donated to organizations dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations.”
His tweet wound up going viral and capturing the attention of the NRA:
Attn @AnnualMeetings attendees. Steer clear of Ellen’s in downtown Dallas! Why go there when there are so many other great choices. 🤔#sorrynotsorry #StandAndFight #DefendTheSecond pic.twitter.com/joX7pPoPm4
— NRA (@NRA) May 5, 2018
What followed was an onslaught of backlash that continues to this very moment, with the restaurant being blasted nonstop on Facebook and Yelp with negative reviews.
The way the restaurant’s owner, Joe Groves, reportedly responded to the controversy certainly didn’t help matters one bit.
He wrote on his personal Facebook page that he overheard “vile, racist, moronic conversations” from NRA conventioneers who dined at Ellen’s, as reported by Dallas station KDFW.
“The staff seem very judgmental. They don’t seem to like locals or tourists, which make up about 100% of their customers. I don’t really care what they think as long as they keep it to themselves, but they don’t,” wrote reviewer Jess M.
“Instead you can hear them making fun of the way people talk or look when the servers interact with each other. It’s amateur. At least keep it in the kitchen if you must insult the very people supporting you. There’s nothing like a server with dyed hair and face piercings telling another waiter that she can’t stand ‘rednecks.'”
Other reviews were similar:
Way to completely disrespect and offend your customers.
The restaurant tried to lessen the damage Thursday by updating its receipt to be slightly less offensive and posting a whiny screed on Facebook justifying its original decision.
“A portion of this week’s proceeds will be donated to organizations dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations that protect citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights and also help reduce needless gun violence,” the new receipt reads.
Downtown #Dallas restaurant welcomes #NRA with what it hopes is pro #2ndAmendment message & common sense regulations to stop #gun violence on receipt. Story at 10 p.m. on @CBSDFW #NRAAM2018 #NRA2018 #NRAAM #NRAconvention pic.twitter.com/X7MF4VuCPS
— MaryAnn Martinez (@MaryAnnreports) May 4, 2018
The restaurant’s Facebook message likewise spoke of respect for “the Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment,” and claimed its original receipt had simply been misinterpreted.
“What was not expected was that those two words — reasonable and effective — would be misinterpreted as our support for gun control. The mistake was an honest one. The opposite is true,” its post reads.
Too bad the restaurant’s owner has already made it abundantly clear to America how he really feels about those “vile, racist, moronic” people who believe in, you know, the Second Amendment!
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