Bay Area diners interviewed by The San Francisco Chronicle rejected a popular chef’s decision to deny service to MAGA hat-wearing supporters of President Trump.

Renowned chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt didn’t see the irony Sunday when he tweeted he wouldn’t serve customers wearing the MAGA hat because it’s a “symbol of intolerance.”

“It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate,” Lopez-Alt wrote in a now-deleted tweet.

Lopez-Alt on Thursday also deleted an additional tweet where he wrote that “MAGA hats are like white hoods except stupider because you can see exactly who is wearing them.”

It’s unclear why the chef deleted the tweets sent to his 42.6K followers (he declined comment to The Chronicle citing staff safety concerns), however sentiments expressed by diners regarding his tweets probably didn’t help — every person interviewed by the newspaper essentially disagreed with Lopez-Alt’s stance.

One woman interviewed by The Chronicle at the Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo, where Lopez-Alt is a chef-partner, said members of her family support Trump and that it’s likely not a good idea to discriminate based on political ideology.

“I see where he’s coming from, but I don’t think you should just keep people out because of a hat,” the woman told The Chronicle. “I get that idea, that maybe that hat could mean the person wearing it is just looking for a fight, but just cutting off dialogue, not giving a chance to get to know someone — I just don’t know if that’s something I would do.”

Another woman said she understood where Lopez-Alt was coming from because she too felt the MAGA hat had “come to represent racism, intolerance, exclusivity,” but stopped short of supporting his decision to outright ban Trumpers.

That’s “what the right wants,” she said. “They already feel like they’re being demonized by what they call the liberal elite. We shouldn’t add fire to that. Instead, it should be us creating a dialogue, leaving a space open to discuss the issues.”

Yet another customer described the move as “weird” and argued people can’t be judged based on a hat.

“I don’t think it matters to me about the rule, but the hat doesn’t just tell you all about the person,” the male customer said. “All people are different. It’s just weird, to me, at least, that he would make it part of this business.”

The male customer’s brother, visiting from the Philippines, said Lopez-Alt’s ban amounted to discrimination.

“You’re discriminating against those with different political views,” he said. “That’s just not OK.”

After the story appeared on, people began leaving negative reviews at the Wursthall Facebook page.

It remains to be seen whether the chef will retract his comments, or issue an apology.


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