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Chinese restaurant attacks gluten-free customers in rant

Lana Bandoim's picture

A Chinese restaurant shut its doors temporarily after the owner posted a rant about customers. In his list, he included people who require gluten-free menu options. Employees at SO Restaurant claim the location is back in business, but the owner’s message may keep people away.


It is not easy for people with celiac disease to find restaurants that will accommodate their gluten-free diets. Despite ongoing media coverage of the disorder, there are still myths and issues that prevent others from understanding the severity of consuming the protein for someone who has been diagnosed with celiac disease. Unfortunately, SO Restaurant is one of many businesses that has decided that catering to restricted diet needs is not a priority.

SO Restaurant is located in San Francisco and states that it offers Asian fusion cuisine. The items on the menu range from spicy wings to rice dishes, and the restaurant claims to be family-friendly. However, customers and employees witnessed the owner exhibiting an attitude that definitely did not fit a friendly atmosphere. After a difficult day with demanding customers, the owner’s anger reached a new level, and he shut down the restaurant early. He also wrote a rant on a poster that appeared in the window of the restaurant and reprimanded difficult customers. The owner blamed the early closure on the customers and added he did not care about being gluten-free. He also admitted to using MSG and not serving organic food.

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Although the restaurant has reopened, it is not clear how the behavior of the owner will affect future business and sales of curry fried rice or shrimp dumplings. Although most people with celiac disease understand that many restaurants are not able to accommodate their diets, they still expect to be treated civilly and have their disorders recognized. It may have been inconvenient for the owner to help the customer who complained about his meal being too spicy and refused to pay, but attacking gluten-free diets is not the answer.

Read more about celiac disease:
Celiac disease tips for making bread at home
Celiac disease apps help create gluten-free meal plans

Image: William Cho/Wikimedia Commons



Not everyone who is gluten intolerant is conclusively diagnosed with Celiac Disease. You can have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity - undergo all the necessary testing only to have it diagnosed you are not "true" Celiac, but even crumbs of gluten can make you horribly ill. I am not "true Celiac" but even the slightest gluten contamination makes me sick for days. Its not in my head, I assure you.
Cathy. I have Celiac, and guess what! I eat in restaurants on occasion. We can't live in a cave, or wave to our families as they leave us to go to enjoy a nice meal. With this, we have to trust people in restaurants.
It's the free market. If you have Celiac disease, then be grateful the owner openly, albeit not tactfully, disclosed that this is not the place for you. Businesses have the right to conduct business as they see fit. As long as it is within the law, they can do what they want... including taking steps that could kill their business. Complaining that he refuses to cater to specific dietary needs is akin to complaining that an adult book store doesn't sell bibles. It's a restaurant that serves gluten and MSG meals. Don't like it, don't go.
As a true Celiac patient, I make a point of thanking those who are able to provide gluten free options where ever possible. There's no place for a patron being rude when a proprietor is politely unable to comply. That cuts both ways. Your expectation that others should be 'grateful' for equally rude behavior from the proprietor doesn't speak to free market values. It speaks to a lack of class, a lack of maturity, poor impulse control and a lack of a good service mentality. Those would be traits you apparently also fail to grasp given your endorsement above. Your analogy using bibles and adult book stores speaks further: to a failed mastery of metaphor and even further to incredibly bad taste. I'm not sure which you need more: a remedial course in English or a remedial course in manners. One can only hope you share the same kind of future prospects as this temper tantrum throwing business owner: commensurate with the repellant personal qualities you've decided to advertise.