Owner received death threats after local restaurant's Facebook post went viral

Screenshot of post sent to WBTV by viewer
Screenshot of post sent to WBTV by viewer

DENVER, NC (WBTV) - A Denver restaurant is under fire after the owner wrote a Facebook post blasting a customer. Dirk Rusthoven owns Halina's Café & Catering and he said a rude customer caused him to write the post.

"He used profane language, made a scene, so I quietly calmed him down and ejected him from my restaurant," Rusthoven said.

Rusthoven said there were families with children inside his restaurant at the time.

This prompted him to write a Facebook post, which references the customer as "the couple," telling him to "DO NOT EVER" show your face again in MY restaurant."

This post, along with the restaurant's entire Facebook page, has since been taken down.

Neighbors said they were shocked to learn this post came from the owner.

"I thought it was pretty dumb for a restaurant owner to do something like that if he's expecting to actually get some business," said Megan Harris.

Others jumped all over this post on Facebook. One neighbor wrote: "Never eat at this café."

Another neighbor said the post was "uncalled for and unprofessional."

Rusthoven said he did not mean for his post to be taken the way it has been.

"I regret the way it was interpreted. I should not have stated, I stooped down to a level I shouldn't have stooped to," Rusthoven said.

Some on Facebook also called out Rusthoven for this part of the post: "Gastonia is South of us. Don't come back." Many believe this is a dig at Gastonia and it's residents.

Rusthoven said this is a complete misunderstanding and he even lived in Gastonia for three years.

"It doesn't matter where you're from. If you're going to cause a scene, you're going to be asked to leave," he said.

But some neighbors say this might be too little, too late and believe this situation could have been handled differently.

"As an owner of a business, you have to suck it up and deal with it, and just let bygones be bygones, and move on," Harris said.

Rusthoven also says he has received death threats over Facebook, causing him to take down the restaurant's Facebook page.

"When everyone comes out of the woodwork to jump all over that Facebook post, it's amazing to me what people have come up with. Disgusting for that matter," he said.

Rusthoven said he just wants to move past this Facebook post, and focus on his food.

"All I can say is give us a shot. If you like it, great," he said. "If not, that's cool too."

A fake Facebook page for Rusthoven's restaurant has popped up and he said he plans to sue whoever created that page.

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