- Jul 2007
- So. Md.
Well, it turns out that it's doing well as is the town with the help of supporters across the country. They did get a lot of hate mail and worse.
But they have a lot of supporters.The blowback was swift and aggressive. Within 24 hours, the restaurant’s phone line was hacked, my staff and I were doxxed, and threats to our lives and families and property were pouring in through every available channel. Protesters colonized the streets around the restaurant. Thousands of fake Yelp reviews torpedoed our ratings, and dozens of people attempted to lock up our tables with reservations they had no intention of honoring. Pundits lamented the prospect of “red restaurants” and “blue restaurants.” In less than three days, President Trump had mocked us on Twitter.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-own-the-red-hen-restaurant-that-asked-sarah-sanders-to-leave-resistance-isnt-futile/2019/05/14/125b4742-75a8-11e9-b7ae-390de4259661_story.html?utm_term=.d42836b15c71Yet, as I kept opening the letters, I saw a pattern. For every hateful message, there was one of gratitude. For every angry accusation that our actions were driven by the inability to accept Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss, there was a note of thanks from someone lamenting Trump’s rollback of protections for marginalized people. What’s more, for every wish that our business die a painful death, there was a dollar bill or a generous check or an order for a gift certificate.
When we opened after a 10-day hiatus, our dining room was full. In the following weeks, people who had never been to the Shenandoah Valley traveled out of their way to eat with us. Hundreds of orders for our Red Hen spice blend poured in. And the love spread far beyond our door, as supporters sent thousands of dollars in donations in our honor to our local food pantry, our domestic violence shelter and first responders.
After nearly a year, I’m happy to say that business is still good. Better than good, actually. And besides the boost to our area charities, our town’s hospitality and sales revenue have gone up, too.