A Soleil Ho opinion piece in the Chronicle brought attention to an anti-trans dinner party at a North Beach restaurant, but now the restaurant itself is getting a barrage of bad press and one-star Yelp reviews for hosting the event.
You may have seen a Thursday Chronicle exposé by food-writer-turned-opinion-columnist Soleil Ho, who infiltrated a local Republican Party-affiliated event for an article called “I attended a secretive anti-trans dinner in San Francisco. And then I puked.” The San Francisco Republican Party had rented out a North Beach restaurant — they of course chose one called American Bites — and booked some speakers from the book-banning and schoolteacher-harassing group Moms for Liberty, plus some “parental rights” types who’ve led the charge to equate transgender culture with human trafficking.
The private event was Thursday, May 11, and approximately 100 people reportedly attended to hear right-wing rants about “transgender destruction,” children “being sterilized,” “groomers,” and “If you are a man in the Democrat Party, your highest value men are the ones who wear dresses.” And as is teased in the headline, Ho vomited at the end of the night’s proceedings.
Moms for Liberty hate group was hosted at restaurant,”American Bites” in San Francisco. The food, and service sounds good. Maybe it was an innocent mistake. https://t.co/UC9G1AmEvT— Noel (@Frogerta) May 14, 2023
Ho’s article was not really about the venue, though there were several not-so-subtle digs at the quality of food (“very dry garlic bread,” “limp Romaine lettuce”). But the name of the venue was mentioned in the sentence “The alleyway entrance to the restaurant, American Bites, had two layers of security.” And plenty of readers recognized the red-lit interior of American Bites’s bar in the article’s photos.
And so the backlash is underway, as Eater SF reports American Bites is being barraged with negative comments on their social media pages. And KRON4 adds that the restaurant’s Yelp reviews have been disabled amidst a slew of one-star reviews, as seen above, with the Unusual Activity Alert concealing otherwise innocuous remarks like “Hi. Is there a salsa class happening on Thursday night?"
American Bites is trying to be proactive in apologizing for all of this. “At the time of coordination, we were unaware of the details that would be discussed during this meeting,” the restaurant said in an Instagram post. “As a company, we do not endorse any of the talking points addressed. We take full accountability for catering this event without knowing its true intentions. In hindsight, had we known the true nature of this event, we would have never allowed it to take place.”
Additionally, American Bites managing partner Mike Saremy told Eater SF, “We did not know the content of this event,” and “It was booked as a fundraiser for the Republican Party. We had no idea it was going to be anti-trans and all these outrageous remarks made.”
The backlash will surely be played by some as an example of “cancel culture,” despite that the event itself was calling for the eradication of an entire group of people. And these controversies can play both ways, remember how the North Beach restaurant Hilda and Jesse took a ton of right-wing outrage when they refused to serve armed police officers in December 2021.
American Bites has been quick to apologize, but this might take more than an Instagram post to clean up. And Pride Month is right around the corner, so there may be an opportunity sitting right there for American Bites to make amends towards the trans community.
Image: Ed U. via Yelp