Anti-Trump sign at Honolulu eatery garners national attention

Anti-Trump sign at Honolulu eatery garners national attention
Robert Warner (image: Hawaii News Now)
Robert Warner (image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There are signs posted everywhere inside a quaint mom-and-pop Italian restaurant in downtown Honolulu.

But it's the sign that used to be on the front door of the Alakea Street eatery that's getting national attention."Just 12 words on a piece of paper. It was not that big. You don't see it from the street or anything. Just kind of scribbled off quick," said Robert Warner, owner and chef of Café 8 ½.

Warner figured a few people might see the sign that said "If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis."

He had no idea it would go viral.

"I didn't really mean it for real either," he said.

"If somebody came in and said, 'Hey, I know you can't tell who I voted for, but I voted for Trump. Would you let me eat?' I would say, 'Sure, if you're nice with me and I'm nice with you and you like my food, sit down, no problem,'" Warner said.

The sign, though, left some irked -- or worse. And it drew the attention of Fox News and other national news media.

There are also now endless comments on the eatery's Yelp page about it.

Despite the national backlash, sign doesn't appear to have deterred local customers. Warner said the restaurant is busier now than it ever has been in its 23 years of existence.

"Didn't deter me one way or the other. Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs and I don't think that affects the way they cook," said first-time customer Marcus Jordan.

"As for me, I really don't care … the food is still good. We're here for the food," said repeat customer Jenly Chen.

Warner said the sign has been up since the election. He said he has no idea why only now it's been getting attention.

And, he added, he doesn't regret posting it.

"This is my place and if I don't want to serve a Trump person, I can do that," Warner said.

"I'm here every day making what today is and making my food ... and hopefully everybody likes my food. And those who don't, don't. And that's life. And I do my best every day I can't do better than that," he said.

Still, after Warner's lunch rush Wednesday, he took down the sign.

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