Restaurant Axed Reservation After Staff Looked Up Group

Metzger Bar and Butchery in Richmond had been slated to serve the Family Foundation
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2022 2:36 PM CST
Eatery Axes Christian Group's Reservation, Citing Staff Safety
   (Getty Images / stephconnell)

Prior to December, Metzger Bar and Butchery in Richmond, Virginia, was likely best known for being helmed by Top Chef alumna Brittanny Anderson. But it's entered the national spotlight over its refusal to host a private event for a conservative Christian group. That group, the Family Foundation, published a blog post last Thursday titled, "We’ve Been Canceled! Again" that begins, "Have you ever been denied a meal because of your beliefs?" Victoria Cobb wrote that her group received a cancellation phone call from one of the owners 90 minutes before their event was set to begin. Cobb wrote she was told that an employee had Googled the group and the waitstaff balked at the group's stance on same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

In the post, Cobb goes on to compare the denial of service to what occurred in "the 1950s and early 60s, when people were denied food service due to their race" and swings at "the double standard of the left," citing the case of the Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple. That same day, the restaurant posted a statement on Instagram explaining its position. It confirms it denied service to "a political organization that seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic human rights in Virginia," noting the restaurant employs many women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

"We have always refused service to anyone for making our staff uncomfortable or unsafe and this was the driving force behind our decision," the restaurant continued. "All of our staff are people with rights who deserve dignity and a safe work environment." CBS News reports the following day, Metzger Bar and Butchery posted a message of thanks for the support it said it had received and showcased a cocktail called "Cracks in the Foundation," sales of which would benefit Equality Virginia. On the financial front, the Family Foundation's post ended with a call for donations "to support our efforts to ensure that no Virginian will ever have to worry about being refused a simple meal because of his or her religious beliefs."

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In a Wednesday appearance on the Faulkner Focus on Fox News, Cobb took issue with what she saw as the restaurant attributing the move to its waitstaff. "Certainly, they can put it off on their team, but the owner made the phone call, they've put out an official statement, and the bottom line is the buck stops with the owner of the restaurant," Cobb said. "Restaurants are not allowed to discriminate even if their employees are discriminatory." The Washington Post spoke with a legal expert who pushed back on Cobb's thinking, saying that while it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race or religion, "It’s about the overall positions and policies the group has taken—it’s not about Christian vs. non-Christian." (More restaurant stories.)

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