Silicon Valley eatery bans 'Make America Great Again' hats

FILE- In this Aug. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump hands a signed "Make America Great Again," hat back to a supporter in Reno, Nev. An award-winning cookbook author and California restaurant owner says anyone wearing a red "Make America Great Again" baseball cap will be refused service at his restaurant. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is a chef-partner of the Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo and says in a tweet Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, that he views the hats as symbols of intolerance and hate. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

An award-winning cookbook author and California restaurant owner says anyone wearing a red "Make America Great Again" baseball cap will be refused service at his restaurant

SAN MATEO, Calif. — Patrons won't be served at a Silicon Valley restaurant if they wear a "Make America Great Again" baseball cap.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, a chef-partner of the Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo, California, said in a tweet last weekend that he views the hats as symbols of intolerance and hate.

"It hasn't happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren't getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate," the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

The tweet was no longer available Thursday. But the newspaper reported it had more than 2,100 likes and more than 200 retweets as of Wednesday afternoon.

The red hats, which are sold on President Donald Trump's campaign website, have become polarizing. The hats were worn by some Kentucky high school students involved in a Jan. 18 confrontation with a Native American elder near the Lincoln Memorial.

Lopez-Alt wrote the 2015 book "The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science." He declined further comment to the newspaper, saying that his restaurant has received threatening emails following the tweet.

San Mateo resident Jamie Hwang, 42, told the newspaper she has mixed feelings about the ban, saying that San Mateo is diverse and members of her family support Trump.

"I see where he's coming from, but I don't think you should just keep people out because of a hat," Hwang said.

Her dining companion Esther Shek, 39, said she believed the hats had "come to represent racism, intolerance, exclusivity." But she added that refusing to serve Trump supporters would exacerbate a situation where talking about differences might be better.

"They already feel like they're being demonized by what they call the liberal elite," she said. "We shouldn't add fire to that."

Bao Agbayani, who was visiting from the Philippines, said the rule banning the hats wouldn't keep him from dining at the restaurant. But he said he was alarmed by what the rule represented.

"You're discriminating against those with different political views," he said. "That's just not OK."

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