A Nebraska restaurant is closing its doors for good after backlash from residents over an item on its menu that was deemed racially insensitive.
The 11-Worth Cafe in Omaha, Nebraska, announced it was closing permanently after allegedly receiving “numerous threats” to family members. The threats include two instances where police had to be called, as well as a reported extortion attempt in which residents demanded it make a donation to a charity for black Americans for the threats to stop,according to WOWT News.
The restaurant, considered a staple in the community, came under fire over a menu item named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Controversial Facebook posts allegedly made by the store owner’s son, which he denied posting, were also criticized, including a post saying protesters should be shot.
The store owners, the Caniglia family,saidthey received threats via social media that resulted in two calls to the police and also said noisy protests outside the cafe took a toll.
The leader of the protest movement against the restaurant, a local city council candidate, David Mitchell, said in a Facebook Live video that the establishment was told by upset residents to rename the menu item after a “black icon” or “black union soldier.” It was also told to issue a public apology, while others demanded the restaurant donate $500 to $1,000 to an African American organization.
Mitchell says the owners were planning to donate $1,000 to a Malcolm X memorial, but some protesters didn’t believe that was enough and demanded a “seven-figure” donation, which he described as “extortion.”
The restaurant owners ultimately decided the demands were too much and closed permanently on Sunday.
“Our customers and staff are of the utmost importance to our family,” a letter from management read. “The verbal abuse, taunting and having to be escorted to and from their cars by police and security officers for their safety for two straight days was more than we could watch them endure.”
Racial tensions have been flaring across the country following the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. Resulting protests have prompted somedestruction,the removal of Confederate statues, and therebrandingof popular brands deemed controversial or racist.