Dallas Restaurant Openly Attacks Gun-Owners... Blindsided by NRA's Blistering Response


The National Rifle Association’s annual meeting wraps up in Dallas Sunday, and there have been plenty of visitors to the Texan metropolis, including the President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

While they might have been the most famous tourists there for the convention, they were hardly the only ones. And, as it turns out, that irked the owner of Ellen’s, a local restaurant.

According to KDFW-TV, the eatery in the West End neighborhood — described as “a southern-style diner that features all-day breakfast” — decided to put a message on its receipts showing exactly how it felt about Second Amendment supporters.

“A portion of this week’s proceeds will be donated to organizations dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations,” the message read. “Welcome to Dallas!”

It didn’t take long before a certain Twitter account alerted convention-goers about Ellen’s hostility toward gun-rights advocates.

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The receipt was apparently from a Twitter user named Rusty Shackleford, along with the caption, “If I had known we wouldn’t have eaten there.”

That was retweeted more than a thousand times before it made its way onto the NRA’s official account. Ellen’s owner Joe Groves didn’t exactly acquit himself well in the subsequent kerfuffle.

In a post on Facebook, Groves noted he’d heard “vile, racist, moronic conversations” from convention attendees.

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Aside from the rather strident stereotyping, this means that unless these patrons were wearing identifiable NRA gear, Groves was either guessing what patrons fit his stereotype of NRA convention attendees or he was eavesdropping on their conversations long enough to figure out they were going to the convention. Neither is a pleasant augury for the kind of service you might get at Ellen’s.

After the photo of the receipt got pushback from commenters, Groves tried to play diplomatic.

“We believe in the 2nd Amendment,” Groves wrote. “We also believe that patriotic people can come together to find solutions to end needless gun violence. That’s all we are proposing.”

Except that’s not what he was doing. His restaurant was putting a message at the bottom of the receipt that was a deliberate provocation against members of the largest Second Amendment-advocacy group in the nation and then accused them of having “vile, racist, moronic conversations” in his restaurant. That’s not “coming together” for anything.

Pretty soon, the one-star reviews started to pile up on Yelp.

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“Been here a few times. Decent food, but I don’t need the people who fry my eggs deciding my right to bear arms. This is Texas, not California. Good luck with that! I will never be back,” user Nathan Y. wrote.

Nathan later added an addendum to his review. “I want to thank everyone for the requests for me to shoot myself in the face and the like,” he wrote. “Very nice of all you hate-filled dummies. It only proves my point further. Keep it coming!

Other reviewers also chimed in.

“The staff seem very judgmental,” Jess M. wrote. “They don’t seem to like locals or tourists, which make up about 100 percent of their customers. I don’t really care what they think as long as they keep it to themselves, but they don’t. Instead you can hear them making fun of the way people talk or look when the servers interact with each other. It’s amateur. At least keep it in the kitchen if you must insult the very people supporting you. There’s nothing like a server with dyed hair and face piercings telling another waiter that she can’t stand ‘rednecks.'”

“They have very poor service and poor management that doesn’t care,” Brad M. wrote. “They are not customer friendly.  I do not recommend.  The menu was also missing Molon Labe.  A staple in these parts.”

The restaurant itself posted a message to Facebook similar to Grove’s second, more diplomatic take on the situation. It claimed the message on the receipt had intended to say, “that Ellen’s intends to donate a portion of our proceeds this week toward the efforts of finding common ground and compromise in the fight to eliminate needless gun violence, especially in our schools and against our dedicated police officers.

“With a limited number of characters available for that message, we simplified it to say we support ‘reasonable and effective gun regulations’ toward that end,” the explanation went on to say.

“What was not expected was that those two words — reasonable and effective — would be misinterpreted as our support for gun control. The mistake was an honest one. The opposite is true … After a very courteous and informative conversation with a customer, we realized how our message could be misconstrued and we moved quickly to clarify. By then, the situation had become viral.”

Good grief. This still doesn’t explain the owner implying that NRA convention attendees were “vile” or “racist” when the restaurant’s message was first “misconstrued.” In fact, I think given the available information, this was construed correctly at the beginning.

If Groves or his restaurant wants to apologize, fine. Until then, I think it’s safe for NRA supporters to stay away from Ellen’s. Instead of this weekend being a boon for business, it’s going to end up costing Ellen’s a lot of money.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture