Chow Bella

Should Restaurants Host Political Functions?

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail [email protected] Miss a question? Go here.

Dave Andrea, Owner of Brat Haus

Political functions, corporate functions, private parties. What's the difference? Most restaurants need all the business they can get and are happy to host anyone that's willing to pay for the services. If the restaurant is willing to donate a portion of the meal or drinks, it's the same as discounting for Groupon or any other promotion that brings people into the restaurant with the hopes of bringing them back at full price.

Joe Johnston, Owner, Joe's Real BBQ, Joe's Fresh Farm Grill, Liberty Market, Agritopia

It's certainly their choice to sell food to whatever individuals or groups may wish to partake since they are in the food making and serving business. The risk is being associated with a particular group or political stance, which may not be in a restaurant's best interest. We recently allowed a function on property and are not planning on doing it again due to this issue.

Chef Stephen Jones, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

If a restaurant wants to host a political event, it's their business or prerogative to do so. From an event perspective, a restaurant is a business with bills and sales goals that need to be met.

Kirsten Burruel, General Manager DownUnder Wines and Bistro

I have no desire to mix pleasure and politics. By hosting a political event, you have labeled your establishment with a particular perspective, even if it is not yours. Dining and social experiences are for relaxation and fun. We all need somewhere to go to escape and enjoy fine food and company without influence.

Josh Hebert Owner and Chef, Posh

It's up to the individual, but with the polarization of the current political climate, I don't know that it would be high on my list. Everything in the end has a price.

Chef Ephraim Gallor Taps Signature Cuisine & Bar

Restaurants are a place for friends to discuss politics. If a candidate wishes to come to my establishment to hold a rally, function, party, or discussion group, I always welcome them. A restaurant should stay neutral politically to best provide the community with a safe place to come together, share food and drink, and socialize with all manner of people and all viewpoints.

Shin Toyoda Sushi Master, Sushi Roku

This is a very dangerous game to play. If you choose one side, almost automatically you lose the opposing side as guests. Why not invite everyone?

Chef Jeremy Pacheco, Lon's at the Hermosa

Nothing wrong with it. It brings exposure and business to the restaurant. It does not necessarily have to be because the restaurant believes in one side more than the other.

Chef Andrea Volpi Local Bistro

I'm against my restaurant hosting political functions. Politics is something we should continue to discuss and debate, but there are better and different platforms to do so than a family-based restaurant that welcomes people from all parties and those who are not political at all. By opening the doors to hosting a political function you are bound to alienate a certain group of people.

Trish Clark Manager, Bungalow Bar & Grill

It's fine for a restaurant to host a political function and show support of a candidate if they are willing to be vocal about what they stand for as a business. It can be good for as well as risky -- either way, the business must decide if they are willing to receive some negative feedback.

Chef David Viviano, The Westin Phoenix Downtown

I'm indifferent. Restaurants are here to serve the public for a variety of occasions. If it's a political function or a wedding we are in the business of hosting events.

Jeff Kraus Chef and Owner, Crepé Bar

How's that saying go, "Don't discuss religion, politics, sex, and money at the dinner table." As long as it's not disruptive or offensive, I'm down with it. Hip hip hooray! Raise your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care. respect!

Romeo Taus, Chef and Owner, Romeo's Euro Cafe

Restaurants are a gathering point for the community and its values. Private, public, and voluntary (charities and faith) groups are part of the guest profile that ensures we stay in business. The social, political, and economic status of a restaurant should not interfere, but perception is reality so political correctness rules! If it shares the values of the community and does not infringe on anybody's rights and freedoms, go with it.

Gregg Troilo Owner, British Open Pub

I don't discuss politics or religion in a restaurant or bar. It's fine for an establishment to host a political event. Let's face it, revenue is revenue. The best approach would be to give your patrons adequate notice of the upcoming event so they have the opportunity to alter their plans for that date if they so choose.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld