It all started Monday night on the Facebook page of P2-The Deuce.
The owner said the post wasn’t meant to be taken literally. Although he denied coming on camera, Owner Steve Wilkinson said over the phone vaccination mandates in New York City are what inspired him to make the post, which now has more than 1,000 comments, both positive and negative.
“If that’s how that owner really feels and doesn’t want a certain demographic or political affiliation over there, we’ll take ’em,” Stone Oven Pizza co-owner Tanner Lucking said. “We’re a safe space, everybody.”
The co-owner of Stone Oven Pizza is one of the thousands who had a reaction to a polarizing Facebook post by the owner of P2, Steve Wilkinson.
Posted Monday night, it suggested separate menus for Republicans and Democrats. The post said rude servers for Republicans, and no server for Democrats because the restaurant can’t hire any help.
Off-camera, Wilkinson said it was a joke and that he would never treat his customers that way. He also said he is for vaccines, but he is against proof of vaccination being required to enter businesses.
Joke or not, the post rubbed many people, including business owners like Tanner Lucking, the wrong way. He said that’s not how Stone Oven will run its business.
“That’s how America should work. We should all be trying to find some level of common ground,” Lucking said. “We’re not gonna stop a Trump supporter, die-hard Trump supporter or an anti-vaxxer walking in here.”
In equal measure, the post garnered a lot of support by people who defended Wilkinson, saying P2 will continue to see business because of these views.
The Republican Party of Texas issued a statement saying that President Biden’s policies have crippled many small business owners like Wilkinson.
Party chairman Matt Rinaldi said the party shares Wilkinson’s frustration.
As the discussion continues over vaccines, political parties and P2, Stone Oven officials said they hold no ill will toward P2. They just want residents to support downtown.
“We just took the opportunity to market for ourselves,” Lucking said. “Our message has always been ‘Come support local businesses, check it out. Do your part as a community to be a part of the community’.”
While opinions and political affiliations may cause support to waver, both business owners expressed their right to free speech at their own peril.
As this topic continues to spark conversation online, we have a question for you on Facebook: Do the political beliefs of the owner or manager of a restaurant affect whether or not you will dine there? Let us know what you think.