Restaurant removes sign shunning Trump supporters
July 28, 2017 | 76° | Check Traffic

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Restaurant removes sign shunning Trump supporters

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Robert Warner stood at the door of his restaurant, Cafe 8 1/2, on Alakea Street on Tuesday, next to his handwritten sign that says, “If you voted for Trump, you can not eat here! No Nazis.”

The owners of Cafe 8 1/2 have taken down a sign from the Italian restaurant’s front door telling voters of President-elect Donald Trump they did not want them there.

The sign at the downtown Honolulu restaurant said, “If you voted for Trump, you cannot eat here! No Nazis.”

Robert Warner, chef and restaurant co-owner, said he took down the pencil-scrawled sign this morning because he felt there was no point in keeping it up.

“It’s not necessary anymore,” Warner said. “It ran its course … no need for more aggravation for me or them and all that. No problem, no big deal to me.”

It was not a financial decision because “that’s not the way I do things,” he said. Removal of the sign was prompted by other priorities, he said. “If there’s a little open space for us being human together, then that’s great.”

He doesn’t regret — and isn’t apologizing — for putting the sign up in the first place, he said. “I just ended it because I felt like ending it, and that’s my prerogative.”

The sign had generated a swarm of mostly negative reviews and comments on the restaurant’s Yelp and Facebook pages after a foxnews.com story on it Tuesday morning.

Many, if not most, of recent Yelp comments came from the mainland. One described eating bad pizza when Cafe 8 1/2 doesn’t serve pizza. Several described getting poor service from multiple servers although the establishment is a two-person operation.

The restaurant’s Yelp page got so busy that Yelp web monitors threw an “Active Cleanup Alert” of the possible removal of “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.”

Warner, who does not vote, said the sign wasn’t meant to turn away people on the basis of whom they supported for president, but only as a personal expression of his view on the matter and as a warning that Trump supporters might find the environment of the restaurant unappealing.

The publicity also triggered a slew of negative telephone calls, most with mainland prefixes.

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