Restaurant denies Christian group service over its anti-abortion and LGBTQ stances

The faith-based group denied service at a Richmond, Virginia, restaurant is speaking out against what it called a “bigoted” decision by the eatery to cancel its reservation.

Metzger Bar and Butchery recently refused to host a private event for The Family Foundation, a conservative Christian organization, over its position on same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb told CBS MoneyWatch that the restaurant’s decision not to serve the group based on its religious and political views was “alarming and disgraceful.”

“It’s not a good business model to have the feeling like people are making an assessment of you of whether you’re worthy to eat at their restaurant,” Cobb told CBS MoneyWatch. “It’s uncomfortable for people to think that’s how we’re going to function in society.”

Metzger Bar and Butchery, which called itself an “inclusive” establishment that has rarely refused service to willing patrons, said on social media that it denied service to the group to protect its staff, many of whom are women or members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Recently we refused service to a group that had booked an event with us after the owners of Metzger found out it was a group of donors to a political organization that seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic human rights in Virginia,” the establishment said in a recent post on Instagram.

The move was consistent with Metzger’s past practices and was made out of respect for its staff, according to the restaurant.

“We have always refused service to anyone for making our staff uncomfortable or unsafe and this was the driving force behind our decision,” the business said in a post. “All of our staff are people with rights who deserve dignity and a safe work environment.”

Metzger added that it strives to create a work environment where its staff “can do their jobs with dignity, comfort and safety.”

In a subsequent Instagram post, the restaurant also thanked its patrons for supporting the establishment following the incident. Metzger included an image of a cocktail named “Cracks in the Foundation” and said it would donate all sales proceeds to Equality Virginia, an organization advocating for LGBTQ equality.

“Top Chef” alumna

The restaurant’s lead chef and co-owner, Brittanny Anderson, is known for having been contestant on the “Top Chef” cooking competition show.

Metzger co-owner Nathan Conway declined to comment on the incident beyond the restaurant’s social media post “of respect for the privacy of all of our guests.”

After the incident, Cobb, of The Family Foundation, wrote a blog post entitled “We’ve Been Canceled! Again.”

“Have you ever been denied a meal because of your beliefs? Last night, our team and supporters got that firsthand experience when Metzger’s Bar and Butchery in Richmond, VA refused to service our pre-reserved event, leaving us scrambling just moments before,” she wrote.

Cobb said in the post that one of the restaurant’s owners called her to cancel the reservation about an hour and a half before the event was set to begin. She compared the experience — and today’s cultural climate — to “the 1950s and early 60s, when people were denied food service due to their race.”

She also encouraged supporters of the group to make a financial contribution.

“Will you consider a donation today to support our efforts to ensure that no Virginian will ever have to worry about being refused a simple meal because of his or her religious beliefs?” the post read.

Cobb told CBS MoneyWatch she is open to having a conversation with Metzger’s owners and would consider dining there should the Family Foundation be welcome. “But I don’t think that’s their intention,” she said.

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