A bright yellow, handmade sign posted on the restaurant’s front glass door declares: “If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis.” One also is proudly posted on the café’s Facebook page, and was “liked” by some 40 people. “The next time you’re in Honolulu, eat lunch here, not only are they on the right side of things, the food is delicious and reasonable,” one Facebook user wrote next to the photo.
Others aren’t so charmed.
Honolulu resident and Donald Trump voter Susan Roberts told, she found the sign in “extreme poor taste.”
“It’s childish and very unprofessional,” she said in an email. “… The restaurant owner doesn’t have to worry … I will not be stepping foot in that establishment.” Willes Lee, former chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party and now president of National Federation of Republican Assemblies, the sign is discriminatory, and harkens back to “racist and hate-filled” days before statehood. “Remember when Filipinos couldn’t go in certain places, or Japanese wouldn’t be allowed in many homes? And, it didn’t matter who they voted for,” said Lee, who is of Japanese descent. “People should be able to get food without hearing a political message,” one apparent former customer wrote on Yelp. “I will never go back.” According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the cafe was founded by Robert Warner, a former hair stylist for Vidal Sassoon in San Francisco and former restaurateur in Seattle, along with his wife Jali. Reached for comment Tuesday, Jali downplayed the sign’s supposed ban. The restaurant is not actually asking customers whether they voted for President-elect Trump, and said even if they see a customer with a Trump shirt, “we don’t put anything different in your food.” “Robert just wants to express how much he doesn’t like Trump,” Jali said. “If people take it personally or it hurts them, we cannot help. That’s why we say they have a choice if they want to come or not come. We don’t force them.” She said three people called to complain about the sign when it first went up, “that’s it.” “We don’t want to create trouble,” Jali said. “There is enough trouble in the world.”