Did This DC Restaurant Discriminate Against A Black Customer?

WASHINGTON, DC — An African-American woman posted a story about a negative experience at the restaurant Alero in D.C. recently, and the post hit a nerve: more than 2,000 had shared it and nearly 2,000 had commented on it as of Monday evening. But the owner reportedly claims it was a misunderstanding, not racism.

Tiff Aziz wrote in an Aug. 17 post (embedded below) that as soon as she and her daughter walked into the Alero on U Street, they were asked to provide IDs that would be held by the restaurant until the bill was paid in full. At first skeptical, they relented when told that the policy applied to everyone.

However, she said that when a white man sat down next to her, the server did not ask him for his ID.

“That’s when I felt some kind of way,” she wrote. “I spoke with the manager, Roberto, I asked about the ID policy, he confirmed that this was a policy for all people. I mentioned that the young man next to me have yet to provide his ID and is being served, he said he would check on it. However, he disappeared and never checked on it at all.”

She added that she knew “for a fact that we were racially profiled.”

The Washington City Paper interviewed Victor Martinez, who owns that Alero as well as the one on Connecticut Avenue NW. He said the ID policy is indeed for everyone due to a high number of “walk-outs” in the patio and lounge areas, and that the white diner’s server was different than theirs and had been suspended for two days for not requesting the ID from the diner. He said he has adjusted the policy so the customer is asked for a credit card and not ID.

However, not everyone is convinced. Aziz called the apology “generic,” according to the City Paper, and other African-American diners have complained about the policy on several restaurant review sites.

Others chimed in on the post backing Aziz up.

“They did the same to me except took my cc [credit card] and I watched a white person come in and they didn’t ask him,” wrote Roné Rivas in the comments. “This literally happened to me also and although I never said anything, it stuck with me.”

Added Renee’ Douglas: “My daughter came home telling me that this happened to her.”

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