Gay Restaurant Owners Forced to Shut Down After Homophobic Slurs from Customers Get To Be Too Much

It's been just over four months since chef Dave Claringbould decided to realize his dream of owning his own restaurant after fifteen years in the restaurant business.

But this week, he and his co-owner/partner announced they were shutting down their rural Manitoba eatery, having become fed up with the homophobic slurs hurled at them by patrons and town residents alike.

Gay Restaurant Owners Forced to Shut Down After Homophobic Slurs from Customers Get To Be Too MuchS

"We were asked if somebody was going to catch something off of the plate because we had prepared the food on it," Claringbould recently told the Winnipeg Free Press. "We were very hurt and upset by it. Some of the narrow-minded things that have been said to us are absolutely shocking."

Pots N Hands opened up in December of last year in the small town of Morris which sits about 45 miles south of Winnipeg.

The home-style cooking restaurant initially proved popular among the 1,700 or so residents, but as soon as word got out that it was run by two gay men, many regulars stopped coming in.

Claringbould and his unnamed partner have experienced similar intolerance before, which is precisely why they've decided to cut their losses and close up shop.

"We're not prepared to go through that again," he said, noting that, despite some support in the wake of their announcement, most people are incapable of change.

George Ifantis, another local restaurant owner, offered a striking example of this when he was asked his opinion on the matter.

"A lot of people don't like it," he was quoted as saying. "You don't know what they're doing in the kitchen."

Morris mayor Gavin van der Linde and other town council members sought to make it clear that many other residents had no qualms whatsoever about eating at Pots N Hands.

"We have received more emails (complaints) on this as a town than any issue. Ever," van der Linde told the Brandon Sun. "It's going viral in a negative direction, which I don't think is an accurate reflection of what's happening in town."

In an official statement, the Town of Morris it was sad to see a business "run by two very polite individuals" close, but asked those criticizing Morris to "please remember that painting an entire town with the same intolerant brush is akin to the ignorance that made this front page news to begin with."

Though Claringbould said he hadn't changed his mind about pulling the plug on his restaurant, he is expected to receive a VIP visitor in the form of Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, who said he plans to stop by for lunch next week.

"Manitoba is an inclusive province that respects all Manitobans and their right to exist and make a living," Selinger said.

[screengrabs via CBC]