The owners of The Junction Pizzeria & Grill in Heber City put up a banner outside the restaurant hoping to lighten dark mood brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The banner, which featured a joke aimed at China, was unveiled to mixed reviews by a number of people who saw it. It read: “This is the longest anything from China has ever lasted."
Since March 19, the restaurant has been offering curbside and delivery service. The sign received mixed reactions on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
One person commented: “That sign is almost as good as your food. I thought it was spot-on hilarious.”
Another person wrote: “I think the sign is great; almost as good as your food. Hilarious and truthful too. Thank you for the lightheartedness during these uncertain times.”
However, some people were more critical of the poster.
“Disgusting! I will never eat here and am telling everyone I know to never eat here,” one person wrote.
“I’ll take my dining dollars elsewhere now,” another one commented.
A spokesperson for the restaurant, who wished to remain anonymous, told Cox Media Group that the restaurant’s motivation was getting to share the sign “with everyone.”
He sent a message on Facebook, saying: "Some people don’t find the humor in it and have decided to take offense to it. Unfortunately we can’t please everyone but during this time of national struggles and trials, we would hope everyone could just have a laugh and enjoy some good food.”
Some businesses agreed with the restaurant’s choice to display the sign.
Hendershot, owner of Aspen Grove Rustics, said: “I don’t think it was meant to offend anyone, and there’s no reason for anyone to take offense. It’s a little humor -- trying to lighten things up; we all need more of that.”
Authorities were called to the restaurant on Friday after someone threatened an employee because of the sign. The restaurant owners chose to remove the sign after the incident.
“Somebody went in this local restaurant and apparently made a threat. We took a police report,” Heber City police Lt. Jeremy Nelson said.
He added that many people were on edge because of the pandemic.
“We’re going to get through this as a nation, but we need to help each other – by helping neighbors and helping strangers,” he said. “We still need to be civil and try to take care of each other.”