Houston Restaurant Blasted over Attorney General Visit

A popular Houston restaurant is forced to shut down its social media accounts over criticism it received over a recent VIP visitor.

The firestorm started after El Tiempo Cantina executive chef Domenic Laurenzo posed for a picture with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  He was in town Friday to address a group of prosecutors and law enforcement on the subjects of illegal immigration and violent crimes.

Critics of the administration blasted the local business, and some called for a boycott.

Laurenzo responded writing, “El Tiempo does not in anyway support the practice of separating children from parents or any other practices of the government relative to immigration… The posting of a photograph of the Attorney General at one of our restaurants does not represent us supporting his positions. The secret service contacted us that a government official was coming to dinner at our establishment and his identity was not know until he walked through the door."

"The man came to dinner and he was served without us even thinking about the political situations. We were preoccupied with the secret service and catering to their wants and needs. The only thing on our minds was serving great food and giving great customer service. It was posted without review or approval by ownership and this has lead to everyone jumping to conclusions that somehow we are involved in this political matter. We don't approve of anyone separating parents and children."

The social media attacks continued, and Laurenzo later apologized:

"The last thing I ever wanted to do was to upset everybody. It didn't dawn on me until after that everyone was associating me with approving of the politics of Mr. Sessions and by no means is that the case. It's been a big misunderstanding.”

The posting was removed on Friday, and El Tiempo closed its Facebook, InstaGram, and Twitter accounts Saturday.  Community activist Cesar Espinosa tells our TV partner KPRC Channel-2 an apology isn't good enough.

"A lot of these restaurants hire undocumented people, they hire immigrants to work, to take these long shifts, to serve people with a smile on their face, and you have this man, Jeff Sessions, who, consequentially, before visiting El Tiempo blamed a lot of the U-S crime, a lot of the U-S ills on immigrants. So you can't have it both ways. You can't be hypocritical and say, 'I don't like immigrants but I like what they contribute to the U-S through their food and their culture.”

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