The cafe that gained wingnut fame for a $5 fee for orders placed while wearing a mask won’t be charging that fee anymore, as a new landlord refuses to renew the cafe's lease unless the owner stops proselytizing.
Back around Memorial Day, we noted the curious case of a Mendocino cafe that was charging $5 extra to customers wearing face coverings. It was not the first Covidiot trolling stunt for which Mendocino's Fiddlehead’s Cafe owner Chris Castleman had made the news; he’d previously closed the restaurant instead of complying with mask orders, offered a 50% discount to people who threw away their masks, and apparently hawked fake vaccination cards. Surely none of those things were actual restaurant “promotions,” they were merely publicity stunts designed to garner attention and promote his “I’m the real victim here!” GoFundMe campaign.
Fiddlehead’s Cafe in Mendocino pic.twitter.com/V6GsE4cc02— Prof. Ahmed Banafa (@BanafaAhmed) May 28, 2021
But Fiddlehead’s Cafe will have to find other ways to seek attention and right-wing donations. SFGate reports that the burgers and sandwich shop’s new landlord refused to renew the lease unless Castleman agreed to knock it off with the anti-public health shenanigans. Castleman, of course, refused those terms, and the restaurant will close July 4.
Avoid this restaurant:— Steve Overby (@overbysteve) May 29, 2021
“$5 FEE ADDED TO ORDERS PLACED WHILE WEARING A FACE MASK,” read the poster on the glass window at Fiddlehead’s Cafe in Mendocino. A second sign with the same memo was located by the register pic.twitter.com/VudgBa74eg
Per the Chronicle, the new lease required that Castleman refrain from “disparaging or harmful communications or actions or consequences of any kind” and that “all controversial signage or writings” be removed from the cafe’s windows.
"I rejected the extension offer because of the extraordinary terms, so I am being forced to move everything out of this location on July 4th (Independence Day)," Castleman told SFGate. "I view these actions by my landlord as a clear attempt to silence my views and eliminate me and my customers from the community."
The landlord rather diplomatically explained to SFGate that they were just tired of his shit.
“We respect and are accepting of all our Tenants' political and personal beliefs," they said in a statement. "However, if a Tenant's behavior impacts the business of other Tenants (driving away customers to the building) or creates a potential liability (e.g. large fines the building owner is ultimately responsible for or conflict in the community that could translate into physical altercations), then it becomes a business decision as to whether or not to continue the Tenancy.”
True to form, many anti-maskers have lodged threats at the landlords, who are doing their damnedest to remain anonymous.
“We received multiple messages — many threatening — from his supporters that expressed dismay we would not renew his lease based on a difference in ideology,” they told SFGate. “This narrative is patently false. This is a business and since we will be losing money with the decision to end his lease, it's just indicative of the magnitude to which Mr. Castleman's beliefs have interfered and added risk to the overall business. We have heard from people in the community that continue to steer clear of the building as a result of Mr. Castleman, and some have expressed fear."
Castleman will likely get a Tucker Carlson or Newsmax appearance for his “troubles,” and lay on thick that horsehit rationale that endangering the public was constitutionally protected free speech. But from the looks of his restaurant’s website, it looks he’s pivoting more toward selling gaslighting t-shirts anyway.
Image: @overbysteve via Twitter