The name of the restaurant is Café 8 ½; it is located in Honolulu; and recently, much attention was directed its way because of a sign the owners taped on the front glass door of the restaurant. The yellow, handmade sign read: “If you voted for Trump you can not eat here! No Nazis.”
Owners of the restaurant are a former hairstylist and restaurant owner from Seattle, Robert Warner, and his wife, Jali. Patrons of Cafe 8 ½ describe Jali as a quiet sort, and Robert as a loud-mouthed, pan-throwing, customer-belittling sort.
Willes Lee called the sign discriminatory and reverts 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?” he said. Lee, who is of Japanese descent, is the former chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party and is now president of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies.
A Honolulu resident called the sign “childish, very unprofessional, and in extreme poor taste.” A former customer thought that “people should be able to get food without hearing a political message.”
Jali said the sign is only sort of earnest, because the waitstaff does not scrutinize customers to identify those who voted for Trump. If such customers were identified, she stated, the restaurant wouldn’t “put anything different” in the customers’ food, which according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, is Hawaiian for “we won’t spit in your food excessively.”
The restaurant owners say their establishment does not discriminate against Trump voters. “Robert just wants to express how much he doesn’t like Trump,” Jali explained. “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.”
The sign has been removed. However, Jali says they received only three complaints about the sign when it was first posted on the door. “We don’t want to create trouble,” Jali said. “There is enough trouble in the world.”