A San Francisco restaurant was inundated with one-star reviews saying it refused to serve police.
The eatery, Hilda and Jesse, said police weapons made staff uncomfortable in a "safe space."
After an online backlash, the restaurant apologized, and its owners said "we handled this badly."
A San Francisco restaurant was flooded with hundreds of one-star reviews after staff refused to serve three armed police officers and asked them to leave.
The owners of Hilda and Jesse, a breakfast restaurant in North Beach, apologized for the incident after a widespread backlash.
According to a post shared by the restaurant on Instagram, three armed and uniformed police officers came on Friday.
The post said the staff asked them "politely" to leave because they felt "uncomfortable with the presence of their multiple weapons."
The post described the restaurant as a "safe space" and said the "presence of the officers weapons in the restaurant made us feel uncomfortable." It said asking them to go was not a "political statement."
In a statement, the restaurant's co-owner Rachel Sillcocks said the restaurant was a "safe space — particularly for queer and bipoc individuals." BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
She said the police officers could have made guests as well as staff uncomfortable.
—Richie Greenberg (@richieSF2016) December 5, 2021
After the Instagram post was published on Saturday, the restaurant was flooded with hundreds of one-star reviews on Yelp.
Yelp added a statement to the restaurant's page saying it had temporarily stopped accepting reviews since they mostly did not relate to people's experience dining there.
Many of the reviews cited the decision to eject the police officers. One said: "I would not support or recommend a San Francisco business that discriminates against the SFPD. Shame on you!!!"
On Sunday evening, Sillcocks and the co-owner Kristina Compton apologized in another Instagram post.
"We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident on Friday when we asked members of the San Francisco Police Department to leave our restaurant," they said.
"We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times.
"We hope this will be a teachable moment for us as we repair and continue to build bridges with the SFPD.
"These are stressful times, and we handled this badly."
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