Arlanderz Soul Food, a Menomonee Falls soul food restaurant, received a pair of racist phone calls on Aug. 27. (Photo: Google)
A Menomonee Falls soul food restaurant closed early Thursday after a pair of racist phone calls.
The caller to Arlanderz Soul Food restaurant said, “Jacob Blake deserves to die,” referring to the Black man who police shot Aug. 23 in Kenosha. The caller also asked for a “George Floyd (N-word) sandwich.”
Owner Andre Horton, who is Black, then closed the restaurant two hours early as a safety precaution. The restaurant was also closed Friday because of the calls.
Horton planned to meet with his team to discuss safety measures and determine whether there should be a police presence around the restaurant.
Horton said the restaurant, W186N9539 Bancroft Drive, would reopen Saturday for regular hours, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Andre’s brother, Darius Horton, who helps manage the restaurant, was the only other employee working when the call came in.
Darius, also Black, answered the first call, in which the caller used a racial slur in asking whether the restaurant sold a sandwich.
The caller ID said “unknown caller.”
When the phone rang three minutes later, again from an unknown caller, Darius — suspecting it might be the same caller — told Andre to record the call on his cellphone.
The caller immediately made the statement about Blake and repeated it after Darius questioned him. Darius asked the caller if he had the wrong number. The caller said he did not. When Darius asked whether he had called earlier and what sandwich he had asked for, the caller repeated the earlier slur.
Andre posted the video of the call on his personal Facebook page.
“You can hear the hate in his voice,” Andre said. “We were definitely hurt, and when I got home, I cried to my wife because I just had a son that’s less than 2 weeks old.”
He said he never wants his son to experience anything like this. Andre, 25, said this is the first time he has heard any comments like this, personally or at his business.
“But I felt pain because my people (who are Black) have and are experiencing this every day,” he said.
The death of Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds on May 25 and the shooting of Blake by a Kenosha police officer Aug. 23 has sparked numerous protests about racism and equality.
Resident encourages support
Andre said he received numerous calls of support since the racist phone calls.
“I wanted others to hear and see that things like this are really happening,” he said.
David Pflughoeft of Menomonee Falls encouraged people on a community Facebook page to support the business when it reopens.
“The calls they received were vile and racist, and I cannot stand to hear anyone being harassed like that, especially an innocent family who has done nothing,” Pflughoeft said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel.
“I wanted to get people to show up to support them and show that we condemn that messaging as a community and support them unequivocally.”
Cathy Kozlowicz can be reached at 262-361-9132 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @KozlowiczCathy.
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