A North Carolina restaurant is sparking some controversy with a new sign that some people are calling racist.
Kabuto Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in Charlotte has had the sign up for the last three years, but the owner recently made the sign bigger, WSOC-TV reported. People have been taking photos of the sign every day.
The sign reads:
Take your hood down. Pull your pants up. Finish your phone conversation. Marijuana smell not allowed. We will be glad to assist you.
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Restaurant owner Martin Tanaka said most people like the sign.
“It's actually the best response we've ever had,” Tanaka told WSOC-TV. “More people think that more places should do it.”
The restaurant has hibachi-style seating, meaning customers often share tables with strangers. Tanaka said the sign is about assuring everyone gets treated with respect so they can enjoy their meal.
“Our regular customers are families, and we count on a lot of small children to come to this restaurant,” Tanaka said. “I believe our society is lacking on respect, and I think we're falling behind on it.”
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Tanaka added the line about marijuana smell in February after an incident where a customer complained about marijuana odor. Tanaka said customers are usually too shy or scared to confront other customers, so he has to do it.
“We have to turn them out because we don't like that in our establishment,” he said.
Opinions about the sign are split.
“It looks like they are trying to say something about some kind of race,” a nearby resident said.
“I mean, it is his restaurant and he chooses whatever he wants to put up,” customer Sinai Hernandez said. “It's like if I wanted to put up rules in my house.”
Tanaka insists the sign has nothing to do with race and said he’s turned away people of all races for not following the rules.
Kabuto Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar is a chain, and each chain restaurant is owned and operated independently.