Downtown Dallas restaurant Ravenna Italian Grille & Bar made it through the pandemic months and didn’t suffer during the protests that damaged several properties. However, a social media video alleging racial discrimination has raised a major backlash, as the Dallas Morning News reports.
The owner had to make the restaurant’s social media page private, and all reviews are paused due to the wave of negative comments.
What are the details?
Owner Milan Karadzovski, who opened Ravenna in 2007, shared with the outlet that he got an astounding number of negative reviews in a matter of hours. He turned off the restaurant’s phone after callers bombarded him with racist claims. He said there were also threats to burn down the restaurant and to kill him. Unfortunately, his blood pressure got so high that he eventually ended up in the emergency room.
As his business rapidly goes on a downward curve, the owner told the outlet a woman even canceled her food order after she watched the video on social media. She reportedly told him “I can’t give you my money! Stop the racism!”
Karadzovski is very concerned about his safety and thinks he might have to permanently close the restaurant.
What was in the video that got so many people angry and upset?
The incident took place on July 30, but it only started to get noticed on social media on Wednesday, when the video was published on several online accounts.
It was made by Cierra Wright, a makeup artist from Houston, and it shows how her family was refused service because one of the men had a tank top on, which goes against the restaurant’s dress code.
Since the dress code allowed women to wear tank tops, the man switched shirts with a woman in the same group and they all headed back to the restaurant. But the owner still refused to let them in. He also made a rude gesture at them in front of a room full of customers.
“I had Black people sitting inside,” the owner said for the outlet, pointing out that some of the other customers were not comfortable when the group came inside the dining room.
“They got very loud, arguing and yelling. One table yelled back and told them to be quiet. If I was what they say I am this would have happened many years ago. Every restaurant with a dress code is apparently racist. I don’t know what to say about that, but I do have a dress code, and I can’t have people in here smelling of drugs and yelling.”
He added that he regrets the rude gesture but that it was a reaction to insults yelled at him. “I need every dollar. I didn’t want to lose $500 in sales. But I had to protect the people who were already in here spending money, as well as my employees,” Karadzovski concluded.
Wright, who filmed the video, said they did not yell, and that they were in Dallas to celebrate her mother’s birthday. She added the group only got upset when the owner said he didn’t like them.
“I believe it happened because we were a large group of African Americans. There were no people of color in there. We tried to abide by their dress code, and we were still denied, so what was it then motivated by? We just wanted somewhere nice to sit down. He ruined the family vacation. He didn’t like us from the moment we walked up. I’m not out to end the restaurant or anybody, but what I would like to come of this is simply for people to treat each other better. That’s what I’m advocating,” she said for The Dallas Morning News.
She emphasized that her group, which also had kids, had to walk away “distraught and hungry.”