Czech restaurant says reservations, not racism, were why a Romani group was not seated despite empty tables
On Saturday, 25 May, Romani singer Ida Kelarová published to her Facebook profile the information that she and a group of Romani children were not served at a branch of the Potrefená husa restaurant in the Dejvice quarter of Prague. The incident is said to have happened on 22 May, and Kelarová posted a photograph of empty tables in the restaurant, none of which are marked as reserved.
Restaurant manager Tomáš Černý claims the restaurant was fully reserved on that day and that the refusal to allow the group to take a seat was decidedly not a demonstration of racism. Kelarová claims to have sent the management a letter on three separate occasions asking for an explanation but to have received no answer.
It was not until Kelarová publicized the text of that letter that the management of the restaurant issued their own statement on their own Facebook page. Kelarová writes in the letter that: "There were 10 of us total. We had seven children between the ages of 14 and 16 with us (for whom I was responsible) and we just needed to eat and go. The restaurant was half-empty and there were three tables with signs on them as reserved, otherwise the other tables were absolutely empty. The food servers were very nice until their manager, Mr Kupec, came and announced to us that he did not have a table for us because everything was reserved. I explained to him that he could not claim that if the tables were not marked as reserved. Moreover, two days prior we had spent about CZK 4 800 [EUR 190] on dinner there, and the food servers remembered us and knew we were a courteous group who ate, paid, said 'Thank you' and left. Mr Kupec could not be convinced and sent us away. Outside the restaurant I was unable to explain to the children why Mr Kupec wouldn't let us in and didn't want to serve us. Because the children are Romani, that raises suspicions, and therefore I want an explanation from you that I can understand so I can convey it to the children and our team. One hour later, as we returned to our hotel, we passed by your restaurant again and those empty tables were all still empty. The question is: Why were we not welcomed into your restaurant and served?"
Černý claims that this decidedly was not about racism. "On the day when you visited us a second time, we actually were completely booked between 19:00 and 21:00. Both large and small groups were our customers that evening. Mr Kupec allegedly wanted to offer you a table for six, but that would not have been enough room because your group was a bigger one. He decidedly was not motivated by racism or any other reason when he did not offer your group a table," Černý posted to the restaurant's Facebook profile on Sunday.
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