“After seeing the rainbow flag in the window, I’ve had it with this place and have thrown in the towel…"
A restaurant owner in Massachusetts is getting a lot of support from the community after a customer gave him a one-star review on Yelp simply because he displays a small Pride flag in the window.
Nino Barbalace is the owner of Caffe Zia Gianna in Dorchester, and he is welcoming to everyone. But recently he noticed that one patron was seemingly dissatisfied with his restaurant and it wasn't because of the food.
In a Yelp review now removed the critic said, “After seeing the rainbow flag in the window, I’ve had it with this place and have thrown in the towel…Well, that flag says all and when you delve deeper to see the real customer base here, it’s clearly geared and catered ONLY to those who rally behind the rainbow flag.”
Barbalace told the local news station that it was a personal attack. “If you go to a place and you’re not happy with the food or the service, I understand that if I made a mistake because we all make mistakes. This is a restaurant, not politics.”
The reviewer had no problem with the food calling it "decent" but adds he can “no longer accept patronizing this establishment.”
Yelp discourages its members from making rants about, "a business' employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don't address the core of the consumer experience."
Originally from Italy, Barbalace took a screen grab of the review and reposted it to Facebook saying that everyone is welcome at Zia Gianna, "even this gentleman.”
His loyal customers came to the owner's defense, “We thought we were beyond that at this point,” Tiffany Andrade, a customer who showed up at the eatery to show support, told the Boson Fox affiliate.
Andrade. adds; “Luckily we live in the land of the free and people are entitled to their own opinion, but I do think it’s something to understand that we are an open community and there are people who come from all different countries and all different backgrounds and we should be welcoming of everyone."
The Pride flag remains in the window and Barbalace says he would welcome the Yelp reviewer should he come back in.
Barbalace said, “I’m here to serve the food. If he is hungry, he is welcome to come here.”