After NRA convention attendees allegedly spewed racially driven insults at Ellen’s staff, one of the downtown restaurant’s owners responded by printing a politically-charged message on all customers’ receipts.
“Thanks for visiting Ellen’s! A portion of this week’s proceeds will be donated to organizations dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulation,” reads the newly added statement, which is finished with the greeting, “Welcome to Dallas!”
An anticipated 80,000 people are in town this weekend for NRA’s annual meeting at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which runs through Sunday and included a speech by President Donald Trump.
Ellen’s owner, Joe Groves, posted a picture of the receipt on Facebook, along with this caption: “I’m making a list of the vile, racist, moronic conversations overheard from NRA attendees eating at the restaurant. They don’t even speak softly.” The message was originally reported by the Dallas Observer.
Groves told Eater that convention attendees had insulted his staff members, which prompted him to add the message to his receipts. The customers, who Groves says were wearing convention attire, allegedly told a Latino staff member, “Your illegals are kept in the kitchen, right?”
Groves also told Eater that patrons made racially-charged statements to two of Ellen’s servers and one manager, all of whom are black. The alleged comments include: “You don’t sound black, where are you from, India?” and “The only reason we need our guns is because of the blacks.”
“They actually said that to a black person’s face; it’s disturbing,” Groves told Eater. “Some of the servers were quite upset and demoralized last night.”
The Facebook post is going viral. Groves says the restaurant phone is ringing off the hook with both praise and threats, and people are chiming in on the restaurant’s Facebook and Yelp pages from places as far away as Wisconsin.
“I’m far from extreme, and I’m pro-Second Amendment and pro gun rights. But I’m also firmly believe in safety and want people to be able to live long lives, in school especially... this is not that controversial,” Groves told Eater. “The NRA has launched a big publicity campaign in the last couple weeks saying they want to find solutions as well. To me, it seems that we agree.”
Groves will be donating a portion of proceeds to a yet-unnamed organization that promotes gun control. “We’ve been affected by this cause since July 2016 when those officers were gunned down in Dallas. Those guys were friends of ours, came into the restaurant, we knew them personally,” he said.
After the tragic incident in Downtown that killed five officers and wounded 9 others, Ellen’s recorded a roundtable discussion with members of Dallas’ police force in response to the shooting, which it also re-posted today on its Facebook site in light of the NRA’s visit to Dallas.
Update: Following the incident, the NRA urged a boycott of Ellen’s, tweeting: “Attn @AnnualMeetings attendees. Steer clear of Ellen’s in downtown Dallas! Why go there when there are so many other great choices.” In another tweet, the NRA posted anti-N.R.A screengrabs purportedly taken from Ellen’s owner’s personal Facebook. The battle over the receipts also grabbed the attention of the New York Times.