Yelp user gives restaurant one-star review because of ‘disgusting’ rainbow flag in its window

A Yelp user has given a Massachusetts restaurant a one-star review, simply because it has a rainbow flag displayed in its window.

Located in the Boston neighbourhood of Dorchester, Italian bakery and café Zia Gianna highlighted its negative feedback on its Facebook page back on 13 August.

Sharing a screenshot of the review (which has now been deleted), owner Nino Barbalace wrote: “All are welcome at Zia Gianna, even this gentleman. We’d love to show him some kindness from the LGBTQ community because love always wins.”

The image sees the triggered commenter state that they have “thrown in the towel” when it comes to Zia Gianna and that they’ve “had it” after seeing the flag on display.

“That flag says all,” they continue. “And when you delve deeper to see the real customer base here, it’s clearly geared and catered to ONLY those who rally behind the rainbow flag.”

They also seemingly use Barbalace’s heritage in their argument, suggesting that while Barbalace is Sicilian, none of his staff nor customers are and that his beliefs aren’t in keeping with his Italian, family-orientated roots.

“This should be considered treason against our Nation and our Italian heritage,” they write. “[It’s] against Nature and should be punishable as a crime. At a time when the old country is imperiled by corruption and fading family units and going broke, here we have someone who is abandoning the sound family unit and structure. Absolutely disgusting and unacceptable.”

A demonstrator waves a rainbow flag during a Gay Pride Parade at The Colosseum in Rome on June 10, 2017 (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty)

The unnamed reviewer went on to critique the establishment’s food, calling it decent. Despite admitting that they were put off by the small portion sizes and the price, they explained that they “could deal with that,” unlike the “patronising” way in which Zia Gianna seems to be supporting the LGBT+ community.

In an interview with Boston 25 News, Barbalace, who named his restaurant after his aunt, which is translated as “zia” in Italian, explained that he had placed the small rainbow flag in the restaurant’s front window to celebrate the area’s pride celebrations back in June and has left it up ever since because he wants everyone to feel at home there.

“Zia had an innate ability to create community, comfort and love through food,” reads the café’s website, explaining his mantra. “It is that community, that sense of warmth and nourishing others that Nino hopes to bring to his caffè.”

According to the same news outlet, several Zia Gianna regulars have visited the restaurant as a show of solidarity with Barbalace’s inclusive message. Customer Tiffany Andrade said: “People are entitled to their own opinion, but I do think it’s something to understand that we are an open community and there are people who come from all different countries and all different backgrounds and we should be welcoming of everyone.”