A San Francisco restaurant apologized Sunday for its decision to ask three uniformed officers to leave the establishment because the presence of their guns made some staff uncomfortable, resulting in the restaurant receiving negative reviews online.
The incident occurred at the restaurant Hilda and Jesse, a brunch location in the city's North Beach area on Friday. In an Instagram post, the restaurant said three on-duty San Francisco police officers were seated. However, staff expressed the weapons the officers were carrying made them uncomfortable, and staff asked them to leave.
"We respect the San Francisco Police Department and are grateful for the work they do. We welcome them into the restaurant when they are off-duty, out of uniform and without their weapons," the statement read.
Since the incident occurred, Hilda and Jesse have received a huge amount of backlash online. On Google, the restaurant has a 1.4 star rating, while on Yelp, the establishment has a 1-star rating with over 900 reviews.
Several reviews on Yelp are calling out the restaurant for asking the officers to leave. One comment read, "I would not support or recommend a San Francisco business that discriminates against the SFPD. Shame on you!!!" Another read, "If I could give them a zero star rating I would. I will never eat here, people who discriminate against occupation."
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Yelp has since disabled comments and reviews from being made for Hilda and Jesse, as it is being monitored by Yelp for the coverage surrounding the restaurant.
"This business recently received increased public attention, which often means people come to this page to post their views on the news," Yelp says. "While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to this incident, we’ve temporarily disabled the posting of content to this page as we work to investigate the content you see here reflects actual consumer experiences rather than the recent events."
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said on Twitter that officers are encouraged to support local business, and the officers were "respecting wishes that our officers and I find discouraging and personally disappointing."
"I believe the vast majority of San Franciscans welcome their police officers, who deserve to know that they are appreciated for the difficult job we ask them to do — in their uniforms — to keep our neighborhoods and businesses safe," Scott said.
Rachel Sillcocks and Kristina Liedags Compton, co-owners of Hilda and Jesse, said in a statement on Instagram on Sunday afternoon they made a mistake and wanted to apologize for the incident.
"We are grateful to all members of the force who worked hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times. We hope this will be a teachable moment for us as we repair and continue to build bridges with the SFPD. These are stressful times and we handle this badly," the statement read.
Sillcocks told ABC7 News on Saturday that she and the staff are not anti-police and the officers are welcome to come back to the restaurant, just without their weapons.
"It has nothing to do that they were officers. It has everything to do that they were carrying guns," Sillcocks said. "We understand how much the police support and protect the community."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: San Francisco police officers denied service at restaurant over guns