A New Zealand restaurant has enjoyed “an overwhelming outpouring of support” after a tourist was told locals avoid it because it’s owned by an American gay couple.
Tourist Alexia Black wrote on Facebook she and her wife were told by a nearby shopkeeper to avoid restaurant and tapas bar Saluté in Greytown, Wairarapa.
“We were told that it was owned by two gay men from America and that ‘locals don’t eat there,’” Black wrote in her viral Facebook review.
“When we asked what was wrong with the food we were told they couldn’t comment as they hadn’t eaten there in over a year.
“But [they suggested] we should drive to the next town, Carteton, for lunch.
“She also commented that it was a real shame and she hoped something nice could be done with the place in future.
“So of course these queers walked straight into Saluté.”
After lunch, the tourist reported the restaurant’s “food, atmosphere and service were all fantastic.”
Black spoke to the manager and suggested the restaurant’s team had been dealing with backlash from locals for some time.
“Asking to speak to the manager, we sat him down and told him what had happened,” she wrote.
“He wasn’t surprised at all… The quiet emotion in his eyes showed us they had been battling for a while and it hurt deeply.”
Black wrote that “we told him we’d loved our meal and would be back, and apologised to him for the way they have been treated.”
Restaurant owners ‘overwhelmed’ by local support
After the Facebook review went viral, the restaurant’s owners told the New Zealand Herald they were “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of community support.
“We’ve had such an outpouring of support, with people telling us that this is not New Zealand,” owner Ken Miller said.
He said the shopkeeper actively trying to damage their reputation “is questionable indeed and does sting.”
“But from our perspective, it is even sadder in that it puts a negative filter on our town and the other people here who do believe in inclusivity and a place for all.
“When we left the US, we chose New Zealand because we love it so much.
“This is the NZ we fell in love with. [The support is] overwhelming in a beautiful way.”
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