The owners of a Greytown restaurant are receiving floods of support after a local suggested that visitors should not dine there because it's "owned by two gay men from America".
In an online review of Saluté last week, Greytown visitor Alexia Black wrote that a local shopkeeper tried to steer her and her wife away from the eatery, claiming "locals don't eat there" due to its LGBTQI+ and American owners.
"[We were] asked by a shopkeeper where we were going to have lunch, we said Saluté looked good online. We were told it was owned by two gay men from America and that 'locals don't eat there'," Black wrote on Facebook.
"When we asked what was wrong with the food we were told they hadn't eaten there in a year... she also commented that it was a real shame and she hoped something nice could be done with the place in future.
"So of course, these queers walked straight to Saluté."
Black's review gained instant attention, a number of comments suggesting a boycott of the shopkeeper's business due to their "homophobic" views. The review was circulated on social media, leading to widespread outrage and offers of support to Saluté's owners.
However, Saluté co-owner Ken Miller has nothing but good things to say about Greytown, insinuating the shopkeeper's comments were an isolated incident.
In an interview with MagicTalk's Sean Plunket on Tuesday, Miller said the support has been "overwhelming" after Black's review went viral.
"Our little town is very vibrant, welcoming and inclusive... the fact that a couple of locals want to save tables for themselves - we're gonna try and talk them into booking it a different way," he laughed.
"The outpouring of support and people wanting to come here now has been overwhelming... we have so much support and inclusivity here, we have so many regulars."
Miller said he and his partner have been warmly welcomed into the rural Wairarapa town, with only that "one local" spreading negativity.
Business is booming for the co-owners - according to Plunket, the local's attempt to "fox" visitors into avoiding the acclaimed eatery has only increased its popularity.
"We have people booking a year in advance... it's a really beautiful and good thing. It’s the New Zealand we fell in love with and are still in love with," Miller said.
Black concluded her review by saying: "If you love great food and hate bigotry and small mindedness, book a table at Saluté and show these lovely men that Aotearoa is no place for hate," after recommending the pork and mozzarella arancini and lemon fritters.
Black has since posted an update to her Facebook criticising social media's "mob mentality", saying she will not "name and shame" the shopkeeper. She also clarified that she never labelled the local as "a homophobe".
Miller and his partner have lived in New Zealand for more than three years and have owned Saluté for nearly three. They plan to get their citizenship as soon as they are eligible.
According to Stuff, the shop owner has since apologised to Miller and his partner.