Atlanta’s popular Capital Grille Restaurant is under fire after former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she was refused entry because of her attire.
“I was just turned away at @CapitalGrille at Perimeter Mall because I have on leggings,” Bottoms tweeted on Friday, April 15.
A Twitter user pointed out that the restaurant had a dress code and had posted “polite notice” on its website. Bottoms replied, saying that another woman – whom she implied was similarly dressed – entered and did not come back out.
“Odd that a restaurant in a mall parking lot turns away customers in ‘mall’ attire. Asked if I could sit in the bar area and was told, ‘No,’” the former mayor responded in a follow-up tweet. “Rules are the rules, just wonder if the woman who came in immediately after me, who I did not see come back out, was also denied service.”
It didn’t take long for the tweet to go viral or for people to start weighing in. Though Bottoms didn’t state the woman’s race or if they were similarly attired, many assumed it was implied and racism was a factor.
“I worked as a waitress in college. Dress codes were only used when you wanted to keep certain people out. I can’t believe we are still there,” @ThePirateQueen2 responded.
“A quick trip to Instagram reveals ripped jeans, booty shorts and men with hats on and T-shirts. What you stepped into wasnt a restaurant…it was the past,” @portarican_RT tweeted.
“The girl on the right. She is in leggings. She ate at your restaurant,” Twitter user @wellington_lynn responded to a tweet from the restaurant.
“BLACK Democrat Mayor of Atlanta (my Friend) Keisha Lance Bottoms was refused service at @CapitalGrille … But WHITE Folk in Gym clothes and T-shirts are totally fine at Capital grille,” actor Daniel Newman wrote.
“I personally have gone to capital Grille many times in a Wife beater or T-shirt and or gym shorts. Many times. Never had a problem getting a seat,” Newman, who is white added in a follow-up tweet. “I guess my clothes looked whiter.”
“Kristen that’s what Keisha is implying. Clearly they were wearing similar clothes. And when there is a pattern of people being “singled out” you have to ask why,” @luvyewtoo tweeted along with a quote of another user who identified as a white man saying he ate at the restaurant three weeks prior wearing a Nike sweatsuit and jordans.
“When I lived in Baltimore this happened there. Their young black son had sweat pants on and said they could not eat there while you could a white boy weR similar clothes eating at the restaurant,” @FouseMichael chimed in. “It caused an uproar in the community people threatening a boycott of restaurant.”
“She definitely shouldn’t have been singled out! That’s discrimination especially being that it’s in a mall parking lot!” @ORhondeC tweeted referring to the former mayor. “Now I’m curious to see video footage of the other guest who went in behind her who may not have been turned away!”
Others weren’t so sympathetic and said Bottoms shouldn’t think she’s above the rules. Some referred to her approval of vaccine mandates and mask-wearing during covid.
“The irony of someone who wanted to force people to show vaccine status to enter a restaurant being upset at a restaurant for setting a standard with a dress code,” writer and comedian Tim Young wrote.
“Let’s be fair and not make a big deal out of it. They specifically state no leggings, let’s stick to the dress code, there’s no need to put them on blast because you chose to go against it. Hope you found another restaurant,” @BajanButterfly1 wrote. “Still love yuh but fair is fair.”
Another user challenged Young’s perspective. “Leggings can’t land an immunocompromised person in the hospital. Don’t be so obtuse,” @mizmayette wrote.
The Orlando, Florida-based owner of Capital Grille, Darden Restaurants, had 63 locations as of 2021. In 2012, employees in five states filed lawsuits against the company alleging racial discrimination and wage violations. The lawsuit alleged that the company favored white workers while Black employees were denied advancement opportunities or fired without cause.
Capital Grille did not respond when 11 Alive reached out for comment.
PHOTO: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms arrives during a celebration at Truist Park, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Atlanta, where the Braves beat the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 6 to win their first World Series MLB baseball title in 26 years. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)