Cornerstone Cafe, a New York City restaurant, has gotten flak from social media users over the past few days, after it was reported that a server allegedly used the offensive term “Ching Chong” on an Asian woman’s takeout receipt.
The HuffPost reported that the supposed incident took place on the morning of August 16, when the customer ordered steak and eggs to go at the Cornerstone Cafe. Soon after, the woman noticed that the server named Rubi referred to her as “Ching Chong,” a racial slur against Asians or people of Asian descent, on the receipt.
It wasn’t long before the receipt went viral, as the woman showed it to her daughter, who then shared it with a friend who goes by the name “Ziggy Chau” on Facebook. The friend posted a photo of the receipt on Facebook, asking people to boycott Cornerstone Cafe in New York City until the restaurant makes a public apology.
“This just happened to my friend’s mother…right here in NYC!! Please boycott this place Cornerstone Cafe NYC until they publicly apologize. Better yet, call them directly and let them know they have a racist staff. Racism has no place ANYWHERE. Asian friends—– speak up for ALL… not just when it affects you, please.”
After Ziggy Chau’s Facebook post went viral, Cornerstone Cafe got a flurry of negative reviews, not only from New Yorkers, but from people across the United States who took to Yelp to call the restaurant out for its allegedly racist practices. As of this writing, negative reviews are still coming in, and while many of the reviews reference last week’s “Ching Chong” incident, there are some that take issue with the restaurant in general, noting the supposedly poor quality of the food and the service.
Many of the Cornerstone Cafe reviews dropped the name of a manager only identified as Rocco, who purportedly made excuses for Rubi’s using the name “Ching Chong” on the Asian woman’s takeout receipt. This was noted by Chau in a subsequent update to her original post, where she claims Rocco tried to turn a blind eye to the issue.
“I explained the situation to the manager by the name of Rocco who then proceeded to ask me, ‘so what is the customer’s name then?’ I said regardless, the receipt said Ching Chong, a derogatory term for Asians. He made an excuse and said maybe the server misheard the name. I said the receipt is being shared on social media and his restaurant should respond to it.”
— HuffPost India (@HuffPostIndia) August 23, 2017
This conversation ultimately prompted Rocco to issue an apology on the official Cornerstone Cafe page, according to NBC New York. In this post, the restaurant manager said that he was left with no choice but to fire Rubi for her alleged use of racially-charged language, and stressed that her actions are not representative of how Cornerstone does business.
“This situation leaves me no choice than to terminate this employee for this unjustified act. It definitely does not reflect the way the Cornerstone staff or I think because of one individuals [sic] stupidity.”
As noted by the HuffPost, Rocco has since deactivated his Facebook account amid the continuing furor over his employee’s alleged actions. Chau also issued another update to her original Facebook post, asking customers to go easy on their demands for a Cornerstone Cafe boycott and noting that many other people work at the New York City restaurant and shouldn’t lose their jobs just because of one person’s actions.
Tom Colicchio has decided that the Fowler & Wells name is too racially loaded, and is renaming the restaurant https://t.co/Wcj2GnQAhL
— Grub Street (@grubstreet) August 22, 2017
Cornerstone Cafe isn’t the only New York restaurant that has been involved in a racially-charged controversy in recent days. According to the New York Times, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio recently changed the name of his new Manhattan restaurant from Fowler & Wells to Temple Court, after learning that the original name referred to a company that endorsed the belief of phrenology, a practice that was often used in the 19th century to justify slavery and establish African-Americans as inferior. Colicchio admitted that his team wasn’t too familiar with phrenology when they first named the restaurant, but was convinced to make the name change after staff members told him about the potentially racist implications.
[Featured Image by Mut Hardman/Shutterstock]