After making headlines and stirring a gun control controversy, the owner of Downtown Dallas restaurant Ellen’s is making good on his pledge to donate in support of gun reform laws.
Ellen’s owner Joe Groves will write a $15,000 check to Moms Demand Action, a nonprofit advocacy organization that was founded after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to CultureMap. When the National Rifle Association hosted its annual conference in Downtown Dallas last week, Groves printed a note on the bottom of his restaurant’s receipts that pledged a percentage of the week’s proceeds to “organizations dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulation.”
When Eater talked with Groves on Friday, he hadn’t yet decided which organization would be the beneficiary of the money raised, only that it would be a group dedicated to solutions to gun violence, which he believes isn’t in opposition with the NRA’s mission. He expressed surprise that his receipts had inspired a wave of national backlash, which included a tweet from the National Rifle Association to its 668,000 followers urging a boycott. The backlash was so widespread that a similarly-named restaurant outside Houston, called Ellen’s Cafe, was also deluged by negative reviews even though it has no affiliation with the Ellen’s in Dallas.
The restaurant also dealt with an onslaught of phone calls that threatened physical violence, as well as a rash of negative online reviews. “I expected some backlash but I did not expect to become a pariah personally or to be interviewed by the BBC,” Groves told CultureMap. “But in the end, I think the NRA helped us, not only in allowing us to make this generous contribution, but ultimately to create the conversation we need to have.”
Groves says that he contributed a sizable amount from his own pocket toward the $15,000 check, and donations came in from all over the world in addition to what was raised in the restaurant. He’s set to make the donation on Sunday, May 13 — a.k.a. Mother’s Day.