‘The verbal abuse, taunting and having to be escorted … for two straight days was more than we could watch…’
The 11-Worth Cafe, described as a staple in Omaha, announced earlier this month that it would be shutting its doors due to the “numerous threats” it had received over a menu item that protesters deemed “racist.”
Owners of the restaurant had also been vocally critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, suggesting that law enforcement should take action against violent rioters.
Protesters reportedly pounded on the restaurant’s windows demanding that the menu item, which was named after Robert E. Lee, be taken off. They blocked traffic and extorted money—purportedly in the form of a donation—from the owners in exchange for ending the harassment, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
The owners agreed to pay the sum, which led some protesters, including a local city council candidate named David Mitchell, to demand even more money from the restaurant. Suddenly, the donation request went from $500 to $500,000, the owners explained.
“Our customers and staff are of the utmost importance to our family,” the restaurant said in a statement announcing its closure.
“The verbal abuse, taunting, and having to be escorted to and from their cars by police and security officers for their safety for two straight days was more than we could watch them endure.”
In response, Mayor Jean Stothert directed the Omaha Police Department to investigate potential criminal activity, including the extortion.
“We don’t want to let this one incident that was a few hours on a Saturday and Sunday to close a long-standing business that people enjoyed,” she said.
“The message I wanted to give to them—and I wanted them to hear it from me—is we don’t want them to go out of business. We don’t want them to close.”