A Restaurant I Never Want to Go To

If I ever get to Oklahoma City, here’s one restaurant I am definitely not going to go to. The owner of Gary’s Chicaros restaurant is a raging bigot on almost every possible level. After being accused of discrimination by a handicapped person, it all comes spewing forth:

Matt Gard claims that the owner of Gary’s Chicaros restaurant, Gary James, banned him from the restaurant because of his wheelchair. James, however, says otherwise: “He created an issue. You only have one time here. You create an issue, you’re out forever.”

Gard claims that’s just “a weak excuse,” and that James’s real problem with him is that he’s on disability.

James doesn’t deny that he thinks some people shouldn’t patronize his restaurant. “Well if you work, you own a business, pay your taxes, you’re more than welcome here,” he told KFOR. “If you’re on welfare, stay at home and spend my money, there. I don’t deal with these people walking down the street with no jobs on welfare.”

Gard also claims that James has routinely turned away customers for decades. “He doesn’t like certain people of race, color, ethnicity,” Gard said of James.

James told KFOR that he’s owned Gary’s Chicaros for 44 years, so he “think[s] I can spot a freak or a f*ggot.”

The restaurant’s official t-shirt makes it clear that a “f*ggot” isn’t welcome in James’s establishment. It features that word, the N-word, and threatens violence against Muslims, Democrats, and members of many minority groups.

James says he is “proud” to wear the shirt: “I really don’t want gays around. Any man that would compromise his own body would compromise anything.”

I don’t know how this restaurant has customers, even in Oklahoma.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Pierce R. Butler

    I first read that as “Gary’s Chicano Restaurant”, and wondered if that described the clientele or the menu.

  • Chiroptera

    Huh. Are you even allowed to spend “welfare benefits” in a restaurant?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    It’s as if he’s put up a great big sign saying “TROLL ME”

    Anyone know a dozen or so big dark-skinned uniformed military at one of the airbases in OK? I’d cheerfully pay for a couple of meals and beers for the lot of them at a decent restaurant, if they’d promise to go and hang out and occupy a few prominent tables then order nothing but iced tea.

  • waldteufel

    Welcome to Christian Love in Okla-by-god-homa. I’m not surprised at all.

  • abb3w

    Perhaps it has customers in part because it has been getting reviews on Yelp as one of the best gay bars in Oklahoma.

  • http://mostlyrational.net tacitus

    The owner probably doesn’t even know (or care) about Yelp. Unlike most Yelp-activism, the only genuine reviews on there (i.e. before the story went viral) look as though they are from friends of the disabled guy who was refused service recently and were both bad reviews.

    Curiously, they do mention the fact that you don’t get to know how much you’re going to be charged until you see the bill at the end of the meal. Most likely, this is because he can jack up the prices on anyone he doesn’t want to see back in there. Yet another reason not to darken his doorstep.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    They serve great meals there. You can really taste the resentment.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Perhaps it has customers in part because it has been getting reviews on Yelp as one of the best gay bars in Oklahoma.

    Yeah, encourage gays– by lying to them– to go to a restaurant whose owner and probably most clientele are raging homophobic bigots. That’s a great idea. If one or more of them decide to go gay-bashing, can the gays in question sue Yelp?

  • eric

    Gard also claims that James has routinely turned away customers for decades. “He doesn’t like certain people of race, color, ethnicity,” Gard said of James…

    …The restaurant’s official t-shirt makes it clear that a “f*ggot” isn’t welcome in James’s establishment. It features that word, the N-word, and threatens violence against Muslims, Democrats, and members of many minority groups.

    James sounds appalling. But that ‘routinely’ and the description makes it sounds like Gard frequented the place and was happy to watch James’ behavior for some time before it targeted him. So I honestly don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for him here. (At least not from this description. Maybe he’d never been there before and that text is misleading – if so, Gard has my sympathies. But this really sounds like a case of ‘if you lay down with dogs, you’re bound to get fleas.’)

  • Sastra

    I watched a documentary about a small restaurant in New York — I l Like Killing Flies — which was famous for two things: unpredictable but great food and an unpredictable and cranky owner/cook. Apparently it was the inspiration for Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi.” The director interviewed lots of customers, people who had been going there for sometimes decades, and claimed that he couldn’t find one regular who hadn’t been thrown out and told to “never come back.” They cheerfully ignored it and the owner couldn’t care less. He had some firm rules — iirc never more than 4 people in a party (no dividing between tables if he could tell it was a single group out you’d go) — but many of the no-nos seemed to be spur of the moment things.

    But they weren’t bigoted.

    From the interview it looks like the Chicaros guy thinks he’s quite a colorful character, maybe from the same mold.

    No. Doesn’t matter how good the food is or the “atmosphere” of the real South. It’s inedible.

  • iknklast

    Ed – the restaurant is in Enid, not Oklahoma City. That’s about a ninety minute drive from Oklahoma City.

  • howardhershey

    If he routinely discriminates between customers on the basis of race or other such categories, he sounds like he is wide open for multiple public accommodation discrimination law suits. Run the asshat out of business by having all those dark-skinned soldiers sue him. Even in OK, I bet a jury would have little sympathy.

  • Moggie

    tacitus:

    Curiously, they do mention the fact that you don’t get to know how much you’re going to be charged until you see the bill at the end of the meal.

    That’s legal?

  • Alverant

    @Moggie #13

    I was thinking the same thing. I don’t buy something unless I know how much it is. It’s a good policy to shop by since many bars don’t tell you the price of drinks so I avoid the sticker shock when the bill comes.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Huh. Are you even allowed to spend “welfare benefits” in a restaurant?

    Assuming it’s TANF benefits, which are mostly cash assistance, then there’s nothing preventing someone from spending that money in a restaurant. Less than 1.5% of the population gets TANF.

    If you want to expand the definition of “welfare” to include SNAP (food stamps), then no, they cannot be redeemed at restaurants. Of course, since money is fungible, SNAP benefits might allow someone to eat out who otherwise couldn’t.

    Obviously, this guy has no way of knowing who does or doesn’t receive benefits, he’s just proudly displaying his bigotry against the poor.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    That’s legal?

    Sadly yes, if you’re a hospital.

  • John Pieret

    eric @ 9:

    Yeah, the article’s linked tv report says just that: Gard patronized the place for years but he “turned a blind eye” to James’ behavior until the bigotry was turned on him. But any lack of sympathy for Gard doesn’t excuse James’ despicable behavior.

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    Yeah, encourage gays– by lying to them– to go to a restaurant whose owner and probably most clientele are raging homophobic bigots. That’s a great idea. If one or more of them decide to go gay-bashing, can the gays in question sue Yelp?

    Actually, having 20-30 gays show up at once demanding service would be a great protest. Too many to bash or throw out.

  • jnorris

    44 years and still going strong. I’ve read his Yelp review is being goated as the best gay bar in Oklahoma. I do hope his restaurant is put on display at the Smithsonian.

  • iangould

    “It’s as if he’s put up a great big sign saying “TROLL ME””

    Which is a shame because according to recent reviews on Yelp and Facebook, he runs the best gay bar in the state.

  • Drolfe

    I don’t know how this restaurant has customers, even in Oklahoma.

    For over four decades…

    So I assume this is a rhetorical statement, Ed. But fwiw, why wouldn’t he get away with this for decades? Most white pepole are white supremacist to some degree, aka racist. And a majority of white people vote for and belong to and financially support racist political parties and support racist policies and outcomes. That’s just reality. Any sociologist that’s studied race in the US could explain. Any journal search of the subject will supply mountains of evidence.

    My favorite example of this is when you explain to people in a survey that the death penalty is applied disproportionately to African Americans, white people support it at even higher rates. Whites prefer our racist system, and in some cases like it better when they learn it’s more racist!

    The white community really needs to address its problems with race.

  • Trebuchet

    The white community really needs to address its problems with race.

    The white community doesn’t HAVE any problems with race. It’s just OBAMA that’s the racist. (/snark)

  • http://www.facebook.com/josef.mulroney Josef Mulroney

    yeah, matt gard has been going there for years without concern for the owner bigotry, so i don’t care about him getting kicked out. he should stopped going when he first noticed the bigotry. considering the place has been operating for over forty years, the town might be a good place to do some nuclear testing. or maybe it already has.

  • chilidog99

    It’s in Enid, OK, not Oklahoma City.

    I spent some time in Enid once as a contractor at the Air Force base on the edge of town.

    It was the festering armpit of the state.

  • Childermass

    Thank you chilidog99. I too was going to point out that that restaurant is not in OKC. Enid is over 50 away from OKC as the crow flies.

  • magistramarla

    We spent five miserable years stationed in OKC. The entire state is a festering armpit.

    The interesting thing is that my two best friends while we lived there were a lesbian couple.

  • smrnda

    On disability – depending on the type of aid you might end up with a small amount from social security that you can spend at your discretion.

    All said, this guy seems like a genuine jackass. Regrettably, where he is at the market might *reward* his behavior more than it would punish it.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    White people do not HAVE a problem with racism, it’s non-whites that have the problem. Except in places like Central Africa or parts of most major U.S. cities.

    My brother and some of his HS friends were going to take a ride around “Niggertown*” during the riots in Omaha’s ghetto in the summer of 1966. A sensible white cop turned them around and said, “Get the fuck out of here before you get yourselves–and others–hurt, or worse.”.

    I remember, with great shame, that we all laughed about it.

    * Not a name that I gave it, it was an acceptable term in many, many homes when I was a kid.

  • criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton

    There’s an update to this story, looks like someone decided to get revenge on Gary James for being such a horrible bigoted jerk face. Check out what they did.

    Oklahoma restaurant that won’t serve ‘f*ggots’ gets Internet push as ‘best gay bar’

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/10/oklahoma-restaurant-that-wont-serve-fggots-gets-internet-push-as-best-gay-bar/#.Uvk_zCD189g.twitter