by Len Ramirez and Maria Medina


SAN MATEO (KPIX) — A well-known San Mateo restaurant owner has waded into the rough waters of national politics after posting on social media that customers wearing MAGA hats were banned from his establishment.

On Sunday, chef and partner at Wursthall Restaurant and Bierhaus J. Kenji Lopez-Alt sent out a tweet declaring that he would not serve anyone who comes into his place wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap.

UPDATE (2/1/19): San Mateo Restaurant Owner Apologizes For ‘MAGA’ Hat Ban

“It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served. Same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate,” said Mr. Lopez-Alt in the tweet.

The tweet was taken down but not before it got 2,100 likes and 200 retweets.


Log Cabin Republican member Juan Hernandez said Lopez-Alt’s words reminded him of when he was attacked by protesters outside a Trump rally in 2016.

“I was wearing a MAGA hat when I was attacked at the San Jose Trump rally and there’s blood on the hat because of the people who attacked me,” said Hernandez. “It’s a shame that he (Lopez-Alt) did it because we’re trying to be inclusive with everybody and have open communication, and that just shuts it down right there.”

He said Lopez-Alt is far from accurate when comparing the MAGA hat to the Ku Klux Klan.

But some customers told KPIX they agree with the policy.

“I think it’s a really bold move. With the way everything is right now, I think it’s a good thing,” said Jae Miller who works nearby. “It sets a way for other people to come out and say how they feel. Everyone’s entitled to their first amendment rights so why not.” But Pamela Fisher said she would never patronize the restaurant because of it.

“We should be able to wear whatever we want,” argued Fisher.

Kelly Bradwell agreed.

“You can’t judge people by what they wear. I know it’s his private business, but it’s really discriminatory,” said Bradwell.

Michael Chang ate at the restaurant for the first time Thursday and said the food was “awesome.”

Chang said the hat alone–which sells for $25. on a Trump Campaign website — doesn’t bother him.

“The hat itself is loaded. But by itself it doesn’t mean…it just means we have to have a longer conversation,” said Chang.

President Trump began wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap during the 2016 campaign, and now makes it a regular part of wardrobe, especially on trips outside of Washington, like his recent visit to the U.S. Mexico border.

Evelyn Corzberg and Candee Klein stopped by the restaurant Thursday night to see if any patrons were wearing MAGA hats.

“You should be able to wear anything you want,” said Klein.

Corzberg, however, disagreed with her friend.

“That hat splits us,” she said. “It just represents breaking up our country.”

Chef Lopez-Alt was not at the restaurant Thursday, and none of the workers on duty wanted to comment on the story.

The restaurant’s Facebook and Yelp pages were bombarded with negative comments, which caused the social media sites to shut down its comments section.

Trump supporters took to social media to say they would go to the restaurant to protest the tweet, but as of Thursday evening, none had shown up.

Comments (31)
  1. Bill Carter says:

    He seems like a racist to me

  2. Patty New says:

    This Restaurant is no different than the couple who got sued for not wanting to make the gay couple a wedding cake. I hope they get sued too. I will purchase a Make America Great Again Hat just to wear it into this restaurant. He has no right to refuse someone service for wearing something that supports there personal political choice. Funny how all the people that re-
    posted and commented negatively didn’t get counted or recognized in the news report.

  3. Gary Culpepper says:

    Seems to me that “Chef Lopez-Alt is the true hater and intolerant one here, my son has a MAGA hat and he’s none of the things this bigot is assuming of him being. I’ve never been to this restaurant and now never will, he seems to be the kind of person that would spit in your food if he didn’t like your views.

  4. Bob Tapper Willits says:

    This one is easy. Go in with your hat in your pocket, order and then begin eating your meal. Halfway through, put on your hat. Let them give you the boot. #FreeMeal #MAGA

  5. Tommy Tu says:

    boycott this restaurant simply attack on free speech and patriotic fact.

  6. Rick Abbett says:

    Do we need a court order to prevent fascists J. Kenji Lopez-Alt from discriminating against people who wear a hat with a positive political message? Trump has absolutely destroyed the brains of the left. Trump Derrangement Syndrome is real and this creep has it bad!

  7. That hat only “splits us” if someone wearing it does not agree with you, Ms. Corzberg. Denying service to a political opponent is suppression of free speech, which liberals seem to want until they get it! Try suppressing service to anyone who voted for Nancy Pelosi. We’ll see what splits us!

    Another point, I cannot comment if I do not have a twitter or facebook account? Please, Talk about suppression of free speech. Zuckerberg is the ultimate racist.

  8. David Drezek says:

    This guy is a fascist who tries to suppress any thought that he doesn’t like. The true meaning of a fascist.

  9. LOSER! Only racist and total freaks think RACE all the time.There are people who aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy. In most cases those Karl Marx babies called progressives can only find fulfillment if someone else is unhappy and they are the cause of that unhappiness.

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