Food & Drink

Homophobic slur on note given to customer gets worker at Five Points restaurant fired

This file photo shows Yesterdays Restaurant & Tavern, whose staff apologized for an employee placing a vulgar note in the bag of a customer.
This file photo shows Yesterdays Restaurant & Tavern, whose staff apologized for an employee placing a vulgar note in the bag of a customer.

One of the most iconic and popular restaurants in Columbia has come under fire after an employee gave a customer a note with a hateful message.

The incident occurred at Yesterdays Restaurant & Tavern in Five Points, according to Cyntrell Jones Legette, a member of the customer’s dining party who posted about it on Facebook.

In her post, Legette said “one of the kitchen workers placed a note in our friend’s bag that said ‘f--.’ “

She added that after reporting it, “the manager tried to excuse this disgusting behavior by calling it a joke,” according to the post.

Legette Yesterdays.JPG
Facebook Screen grab

“There’s nothing funny about being disrespected,” Legette added in the Facebook post.

In response to that post, Yesterdays has taken action. In a message on its Facebook page, the staff of the 40-year-old restaurant apologized and said the employee was fired.

“We at Yesterdays Restaurant & Tavern deeply regret the incident. ... It was hurtful and offensive breach of the commitment Yesterdays has made to our community for over forty years to provide an environment that is inclusive and respectful to each and every guest who comes through the door, regardless of color, creed, or sexual orientation.”

According to the post, “the employee in question was dismissed on the spot.”

The Yesterdays staff also insisted it was sincere about the apology, writing on Facebook: “we look forward to proving ourselves as good as our word.”

Legette commented on Yesterdays post, saying she is not angry with the owners, “if they are true to their word and do not uphold this behavior.”

In her response, Legette said neither she nor anyone in her party is trying to get “free food,” or wants “a lawsuit.” Legette wrote she is “entitled to patronize any establishment and not be harassed.”

Legette also used her response to Yesterdays post to dispel the idea that the note was joke.

“It was never a joke between employees. I’ve never heard anyone refer to a female as a “f--.” It’s also too coincidental for that note to have ended up in the bag of a gay man,” Legette wrote on Facebook.

Both Legette’s original post and Yesterdays post have drawn significant reaction. Leggette’s post has garnered more than 300 reactions, 110 comments and close to 340 shares as of Tuesday night. The post on Yesterdays page has 167 reactions, nearly 70 comments and 18 shares.

Yesterdays, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in August, is well known for its wedge-shaped building and “the cowboy in the bathtub over the front door,” The State previously reported. The restaurant is known for starting the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Five Points and has served famous customers such as actor James Caan, author Pat Conroy and musician Darius Rucker, according to The State.

Yesterdays Restaurant & Tavern in the Five Points entertainment district of Columbia, SC, is celebrating 40 years of business. Co-owner Darrell Barnes talks about the popular spot's past, what's changed, and the future.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.