The owners of New Zealand restaurant have been “overwhelmed” by support after a local shopkeeper advised tourists not to eat there because it is owned by a gay male couple from the US.
Visiting tourist Alexia Black posted a review detailing her experience, which was has gone viral since it was shared to the Facebook page of Saluté restaurant in Greytown on New Zealand’s North Island.
“We were told that it was owned by two gay men from America and that ‘locals don’t eat there,’” she wrote.
“When we asked what was wrong with the food we were told they couldn’t comment as they hadn’t eaten there in over a year, but that we should drive to the next town, Carteton, for lunch.
“She also commented that it was a real shame and she hoped something nice could be done with the place in future. So of course these queers walked straight into Saluté.”
Black, who reported that the “food, atmosphere and service were all fantastic”, said she took the time to explain to the manager what had happened, and discovered they had been struggling with such attitudes for some time.
“Asking to speak to the manager, we sat him down and told him what had happened,” wrote Black.
“He wasn’t surprised at all, and the quiet emotion in his eyes showed us they had been battling for a while and it hurt deeply.
“We told him we’d loved our meal and would be back, and apologised to him for the way they have been treated in NZ.
“If you love great food and hate bigotry and small mindedness, book a table at Saluté and show these lovely men that Aotearoa is no place for hate,” she concluded.
Locals and tourists alike have taken Black’s advice and the restaurant has been inundated with customers since the 18 November Facebook post.
The interest has been such that New Zealand’s largest daily newspaper, The New Zealand Herald, reviewed the establishment yesterday (Sunday, 24 November).
“The food and service is consistently excellent,” wrote reviewer Deborah Coddington, who praised her meal and the “expertly curated” wine list.
Owners and husbands Jason Brumbaugh and Ken Miller say they have been overwhelmed by the support and positivity they have received since the story first broke.
“It’s been extraordinary to see the response of people,” said Miller.
“We’ve had such an outpouring of support, with people telling us that this is not New Zealand. We agree with it. When we left the US, we chose New Zealand because we love it so much.
“This is the NZ we fell in love with. It’s overwhelming in a beautiful way.”