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Restaurant Tells Customers it Doesn’t “Give a Sh*t” About Gluten-free Food 10/06/2014 - Anyone who has ever had difficulty ordering gluten-free food at a restaurant can likely appreciate the scene that recently played out at a San Francisco restaurant called SO.

Photo: CC--Theen MoyAfter back-to-back problems with “rude customers,” employees of the eatery staged a walkout. The next morning, the management posted a sign that not only made their feelings clear about the situation, but let no doubt about they position on MSG, organic food, and gluten-free food.

The sign read:

Because of You

*YES we use MSG!
*We don’t believe in organic food
AND…don’t give a
shit about gluten free

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The walkout allegedly occurred after one party refused to pay for food they said was ‘too spicy,’ and another cursed at the owner.

Granted, the dustup likely has more to do with rude patrons than with difficult gluten-free diners, but the management is making it clear that this is one place you will not be getting gluten-free food.

It’s too early to tell whether the SO will suffer any blowback from their actions, but stay tuned for further updates.

Here is the Yelp! page for SO.

In the meantime, what do you think? Are you offended at the owner’s attitude? Or maybe happy they have made their position so clear? Or confused to see gluten-free lumped in with MSG and organic food? welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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13 Responses:

Heather Twist
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said this on
06 Oct 2014 8:33:22 PM PST
S'alright ... I don't give a rip about restaurants anymore either. I mean, I used to eat out a LOT ... hundreds of dollars a month. Now I don't. Because it was just too dang hard to figure out how to get food that made me didn't feel sick after the meal.

I do so wish for restaurants that serve edible food again. I tell you though, once you start cooking real, homemade, quality food, the restaurant industry will have to jump through a lot of hoops to compete with the Moms of the world. We got lazy and gave up on "good home cooking" and the restaurants got lazy too, relying on pre-cooked packaged meals.

Meanwhile guys, don't worry! I won't bother you with my questions about shared fryers or GF soy sauce. I'm off to enjoy another amazing dinner. And I'll spend the tip money on ME.

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said this on
07 Oct 2014 7:06:33 AM PST
No, I'm not offended! Someones actions reflect who they are! I can CHOOSE not to eat there! I'm thankful I have the right "still" to choose!

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said this on
08 Oct 2014 12:10:11 AM PST
Well I am offended by the tone of the sign, had they said that they have no intention of catering for gluten-free diners then that would have been a different story.

Of course the management of the restaurant has the right to decide for whom they prepare food, but there's just no need to use language of this nature. One thing is an informative sign, quite another is one that's down right rude to a certain group of customers.

It would appear that the management of SO treat gluten-free as some type of eating choice or fad rather than the medical imposition that it is. I don't think that anyone with celiac disease would actively choose, or promote, the dietary stipulations that we are required to follow. Yet another eating establishment to cross off the list.

Could you imagine the reaction if a bank had a sign that said they don't give loans to ethnic group x posted at their door?

FYI SO management, if there's a celiac in a group of people that's going out to eat, it's usually that person that chooses where.

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said this on
09 Oct 2014 12:31:23 PM PST
Been celiac for over 12 yrs, had skin/digestive problems since 1990, gone to several md's that seemed NOT to care (Hispanic, white)finally February '02 a new dr moved here, she suspected several food allergies, she did an Elisa test, within a few days results were back, she told me that I had celiac disease plus allergies to many foods, broccoli,cauliflower, bell peppers, etc. I learned that there's 2 choices, eat GF & feel/act or eat whatever & suffer. I make my GF bread few times a week, my friends are aware of my health problems & truly care. Yes, its a learning process, skin is clear (no more rashes,I'm still very sensitive to sun (tomato red in less than 10 minutes, must wear sunblock daily)overall doing much better GF, read ingredients very carefully, eg 2 weeks ago bought "GF brownie mix" son baked them. Next am spent 3 hrs in bathroom, painful. Contained sorghum flour (few of us celiacs have a reaction with it or to it, goes on "Do not eat list". Been warned that if I keep irritating colon I could get cancer.
No thank you! Prefer to stay on GF regimen & stay well
also an Diabetic on insulin since '93 (I eat what I'm supposed to eat not what I want to eat,lots of protein/veg & very few carbs, only 1300 calories per day)doing well, kidneys are well & eyes are too.
Thanks for help with disease.


said this on
27 Oct 2014 7:22:57 PM PST
Well, in their defense, most of the gf crowd ARE fad dieters, and a lot of them can be really annoying. Celiacs are a smaller crowd, and most of us are pretty hesitant to eat out any way, so I don't think we are necessarily who the sign is aimed at. Regardless, I get their frustration, though the sign was a bit rude. Either way, if that is their stance, I would be glad to know it so I don't eat there. Much worse are the restaurants that PRETEND to care about keeping our food safe, but are rolling their eyes as they walk away from the table, and cross contaminating things in the kitchen because they think we are just over-reacting. At least these people were honest.

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said this on
13 Oct 2014 8:04:56 AM PST
I'm not offended or angered! I've been gluten-free for over 22 years. If all restaurants posted their stance on serving people with particular diet needs it would make it easy for us to know that we simply shouldn't eat there. There are plenty of other places willing to accommodate special diet needs - go to one you know and trust or eat at home!! Simple!

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said this on
13 Oct 2014 8:30:07 AM PST
I give them points for honesty and subtract a few for lacking tact. I have heard diners complain that jalapenos on their pizza were too hot, so I'm almost sympathetic on that point. It would at least let me know not to dine there.

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said this on
13 Oct 2014 12:53:27 PM PST
It's so difficult to get reliable information about the risks of eating at any particular restaurant. I appreciate being informed even if the tone is rude. Of course, my family will not be eating there, nor hanging out for the good company...

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said this on
13 Oct 2014 3:16:33 PM PST
Could care less about the SO, would never eat there and that includes my friends. If they don't care about organic or GF, how good must their food be?

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said this on
13 Oct 2014 4:03:13 PM PST
I heartily approve of sign! I think it is funny, and I would appreciate knowing right off the bat if it is worth my time and effort to try to eat somewhere. It is not their problem that I have serious dietary problems. I do not expect anyone to cater to my needs.

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said this on
13 Oct 2014 9:19:10 PM PST
Sounds like they were having a bad day but that doesn't excuse them for the rude sign. I can understand restaurants not wanting to have any gluten free items. It is so easy to cross contaminate and it takes a whole station/equipment dedicated to feeding a very small % of their customers. I expect most feel they would be open to a law suit if they screwed an order up.

I'm new to gluten free but have been checking labels for a year do to a severe cottonseed oil allergy. Luckily, I can have some flour like in cream sauces and our favorite restaurants are Thai. We never ate out a lot and I can usually find something on the menu to eat but unless the whole restaurant is gluten free, I don't think I'd eat out if I had celiac disease unless I could bring my own food and they could serve it.

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said this on
14 Oct 2014 1:08:03 AM PST
Sounds like the owner of SO is an S.O.B. But I'd rather know where I stand when I go into a restaurant, so now I know. It's pretty common that people like him, though, typically realize the err of their ways when someone close to them--or even they themselves--comes down with a major G.I. disorder. He's bound to deal with it sooner or later--in this life of the next.

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said this on
15 Oct 2014 10:13:27 AM PST
Sad, not offended! I don't blame the restaurant for getting frustrated to the point of exasperation! I imagine it's getting to be as 'no fun' to be a restauranteur these days, as it is 'no fun' for me to go out to eat anymore. It's become a minefield for both sides trying to maneuver through all the food issues. Does make me angry at demanding people who push gluten free as fad diet rather than the medical issue it is for the majority of us. My husband makes a big deal at restaurants (while I try to crawl under the table) about GF both because he likes to go out to eat and also because he has to live with me in severe pain if I accidentally ingest gluten (once an emergency room visit). I just spent the weekend at a retreat in conversations with many people who were confused about the gluten issue, some mixing it up with really just wanting a low-carb diet. I also ran into some who started to dine at the separated GF food because they didn't know better; almost ran out of lunch and dinner a couple times. I so wish people would get better educated about this, get the information correct!

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