A restaurant’s “politically incorrect” sign has sparked both admiration and condemnation in its community. The Berryhill Baja Grill, which serves Mexican cuisine in Houston, Texas, posted a sign on its door that warned customers of its stance on various issues. These included the right to say “God Bless America” as well as “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.” It also mentioned its support of soldiers, firefighters, and police officers. “This store is politically incorrect,” declared the sign, before launching into its beliefs, including the right to salute the American flag. “If this offends you, you are welcome to leave,” the sign finished. “In God we trust.”
The grill’s CEO, Jeff Anon, said that he wasn’t trying to offend anyone with the sign. He was just frustrated after reading a news story about Starbucks getting in trouble for red, holiday-themed cups. Customers claimed that they weren’t being inclusive to all religions. “I thought somebody had to stand up and say enough of this,” Anon explained. He designed and printed the sign after his son showed him similar signs from other businesses across the country. The reaction in the community was split. While some people stopped coming to the grill or tore down the sign-in protest, others lauded Anon for taking a stand. Anon said that the response was largely positive with a few naysayers thrown in the mix. “I’d say for everyone who thought it wasn’t appropriate, probably 10 to 20 who thought it was and supported it.”
When the story hit the news, however, the reaction of the public became even more divided. On one hand, Anon was being showered with praise by those who believed in his message or approved of his flex of the First Amendment. On the other hand, he was criticized for both politicizing his restaurant and for choosing to include alienating religious language. “I will make it a point to have a meal at one of their restaurants. Screw politically correct!” claimed RobertLynch, a supporter. “What’s with the rather tense ‘If this offends you, you are welcome to leave’ statement at the end?” wondered KevinWaziki. “So much for merriment and cheer for all.” A few, more cynical folks refused to take sides at all. “Texas Restaurant Chain Seeks Free Publicity,” pointed out 3CallFinagle. Anon, who is Jewish, fired back on some of the critiques during an interview with ABC News. “When people say ‘Merry Christmas,’ they’re being nice,” he said. “They’re not trying to be politically incorrect or have religious beliefs. He also took issue with certain claims from online commenters. “Some people say you shouldn’t take religion into the workplace. We’re not trying to bring religion into the workplace,” he explained. “It has nothing to do with religion. It’s the spirit of the holidays.” He also pointed out that his restaurant had Hanukkah-themed decorations as well as Christmas-themed ones. Some customers approved of his explanations, but others weren’t satisfied. Notably, a few customers disagreed with his words but supported him anyway. “Actually, since it is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it certainly does have to do with religion,” said devan95. “But I will give them a C….for Christmas!” Though the long-term impact of the sign remains to be seen, the Berryhill Baja Grill is currently open and operational.