San Mateo Chef Apologizes For Banning Customers With MAGA Hats

February 1, 2019
Wursthall | Restaurant & Bierhaus (Photo credit: Keith Menconi/ KCBS Radio)

(Photo credit: Keith Menconi/ KCBS Radio)

SAN MATEO (KCBS RADIO) — A San Mateo chef has apologized for his "recklessness" after earlier this week saying he would not serve customers who wear "Make America Great Again" baseball caps that are associated with President Trump. 

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt published the mea culpa on Medium on Friday days after comparing the MAGA hats to the white hoods worn by Ku Klux Klan members. 

"My message was intended to reject anger, hate and violence, and indicate that these shouldn’t be welcomed in our society and aren’t welcome in our community. It was meant to be directed at those who would try to bring messages of hate, violence, and anger into my place of business, no matter what form it comes in," said Lopez-Alt ."t was aimed at these three elements rather than at a physical object, but I understand that many interpreted my words in a different context, and construed a message of hate directed at them. This was not my intent in any way, and I am sorry for my recklessness."

The controversy began after Lopez-Alt, the chef at Wursthall and a cookbook author, tweeted that "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."

That message and another in which he said that "MAGA hats are like white hoods except stupider because you can see exactly who is wearing them" have since been deleted.

In his apology, Lopez-Alt denied that his comments had meant there was any change in policy at the restaurant. 

"What’s more, my personal perspective in no way meant that Wursthall was changing its policy, as is being erroneously reported in media," said Lopez-Alt. 

He promised to welcome a diverse range of customers at Wursthall, a German-style beer hall. 

"Wursthall will continue, as it always has, to serve all customer regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual preference, gender orientation, disability, or political opinion — so long as they leave hate, anger, and violence outside of the doors of our restaurant."