It was a moody first week for Mainland Poke in Santa Monica, as the summery newcomer faced an epic tirade from a disgruntled customer over the weekend. The internet lit up with the exchange, which (of course) was all captured on video.
Reddit, LiveLeak, and the Daily Mail first picked up on the evening fracas over the weekend, wherein a woman paying for her poke became incensed at a younger couple in line that was apparently being too affectionate. Some verbal jabbing back and forth quickly escalated into much more, with the woman berating staff members and eventually being coaxed to leave. Along the way, she accused the couple of engaging in prostitution, and threatened to call the police.
That is, not before turning on an entirely different customer on her way out the door, telling a man in line that she is “American” and that he should “go back to whatever land” he came from, among other things. It’s a rather distasteful showing from the unnamed woman, and is obviously hard to listen to and very NSFW due to the language used.
Of course, this is sadly not the first time racism has intersected with the restaurant industry. Recently an episode of Food Network’s Pioneer Woman came under fire for some offensive language, and for years well-meaning restaurant reviews around the country have often been inadvertently written and read through some pretty narrow cultural glasses. And that’s to say nothing of Paula Deen.
Eater reached out to Mainland Poke founder Ari Kahan for a statement, and received the following back:
At Mainland Poke Shop, we believe in the value of diversity and equality. In addition to providing great food and service, we strive to create an environment that welcomes all. The incident that occurred on March 30th at our Santa Monica location is ugly, plain and simple. We in no way condone any speech or behavior that makes anyone feel uncomfortable. We’ve been in touch with the couple, and want to assure our community that we have zero tolerance for hate.