Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gay Canadian Couple To Close Restaurant- Sick Of Anti-Gay Abuse

Dave Claringbould being interviewed by CBC News
By Brody Levesque | MORRIS, MANITOBA -- A gay couple in Morris, Manitoba, announced that they are closing their restaurant, planning to serve their last meal there April 13 after only being open four months, because of ongoing anti-gay abuse leveled against them and their employees.
Dave Claringbould, a 35-year-old chef originally from the UK, has worked in the restaurant business across Canada cooking in kitchens for the past 15 years. Claringbould said that when he and his partner opened a restaurant in rural Manitoba, they knew some people might have a problem with them being gay. But the couple was also not expecting open hostility and blatant ignorance. He and his partner didn't hide their relationship Claringbould said, but he noted that they but didn't flaunt it either.
In February, he said a group of regular customers found out they were gay and stopped coming. Others verbally attacked the couple in the restaurant and around town. 
"We were asked if somebody was going to catch something off of the plate because we had prepared the food on it," Claringbould said in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press Tuesday. He added that his partner calmly dealt with the customer and told the man he would be okay; 
"We were very hurt and upset by it. Some of the narrow-minded things that have been said to us are absolutely shocking."
The attitude in the small town has mostly been supportive towards Claringbould and his partner, which as the story spread nationally across Canada earlier this week, the ensuing debate caused the town's government to publicly weigh in with a statement on its website released Wednesday, by the town's chief administrative officer Brigitte Duerksen:
Regrettably, the Town of Morris (population: 1800) will be losing a small business in a few short days. This restaurant only recently opened (December 2012), and by most accounts received very good reviews.
Pots N Hands is run by two openly homosexual men, one of whom is a certified chef, and until very recently, was just one of many small businesses within our boundaries, and one that we as representatives of the town, believed was doing as well as could be expected of any new restaurant. Sadly, this is not the case, and the prevailing sentiment seems to be that it is due to the fact the owners have not been accepted by all because of their personal lives.
The Town of Morris is saddened to be losing a business run by two very polite individuals, and especially under these circumstances.
Not everyone has expressed support as another local restaurant owner, George Ifantis, who runs George’s Burgers & Subs, said he has nothing against the Pots N Hands owners, but understands that some customers might be uncomfortable with the men’s sexuality.
“A lot of people don’t like it,” said Ifantis. “You don’t know what they’re doing in the kitchen.”
The mayor and the town's folk have offered the couple resources to help their business to stay open, but for Claringould it’s not enough to convince him and his partner to stay — though they harbor no hard feelings.
“There’s many great people here,” he said. “We’ve been supported by a lot of local people and local businesses that don’t deserve any negative impact from this.”


Tim Trent said...

I think it is fair to say that here in Dartmouth in South Devon we live in a small town. We have more business in this town run by openly homosexual couples than you can shake a stick at. We have the most glorious tea shoppe, two gift shops, a gay mayor, and a gay district and county councillor. And that's before counting the population that is not out!

There are catering businesses for sale here. Maybe they should come over. We like good food in Dartmouth, and we treat people on their merits, not rumour and innuendo.