People are rushing to eat at a gay couple’s restaurant after unaccepting locals spurn it

Saluté restaurant in Greytown, Wairarapa, New Zealand.
Saluté restaurant in Greytown, Wairarapa, New Zealand. Photo: Saluté Instagram

Customers are lining up at a New Zealand restaurant after locals revealed they wouldn’t eat there because the owners are a gay couple. A review of the restaurant by Alexia Black went viral after she revealed the small town’s homophobia in the post.

“We were told that it was owned by two gay men from America and that ‘locals don’t eat there,’” Black said a local shopkeeper told her and a group of friends. “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.”

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The shopkeeper didn’t realize Black’s wife was among the group.

“So of course these queers walked straight into Saluté,” she wrote.

After a rave review of several dishes, Black related the conversation she had with one of the owners.

“Asking to speak to the manager, we sat him down and told him what had happened,” she wrote.“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 apologized to him for the way they have been treated in NZ,” she concluded. “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.”

But once Black’s review went viral, business has picked up considerably at Saluté. Customers are flocking to the eatery and helping to spread the word. Saluté was also named one of Restaurant Guru’s “Best Restaurant” shortly after the review went viral.

“People here have been lovely, for the most part. It’s why we fell in love with New Zealand and decided to move here,” owner Ken Miller told the New Zealand Herald. “That kind of discrimination exists in all communities. People see something that is different, something they don’t know, and they don’t know how to react. But that does not define the community.”

“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 U.S., we chose New Zealand because we love it so much. This is the New Zealand we fell in love with. It’s overwhelming in a beautiful way.”

“Greytown is a vibrant and beautiful place where most care about the community and the citizens that live within and outside its boundaries, regardless of their differences. What is unfortunate is that bigotry and discrimination exist between the lines in all places.”

“[The shopkeeper’s] choice and desire of trying to taint our reputation and prevent business from walking through our doors is questionable indeed and does sting,” he continued. “But from our perspective, it is even sadder in that it puts a negative filter on our town and the other people here who do believe in inclusivity and a place for all.”

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