Aug 24, 2021 - Food and Drink

Minneapolis restaurant's vaccine policy draws outside ire

The exterior of Hark! Cafe in Minneapolis.

Hark! Cafe in downtown Minneapolis. Photo courtesy of Hark! Cafe

A Minneapolis restaurant has been met with a mix of online backlash and support after announcing last week it would require indoor diners to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Driving the news: Hark! Cafe, a gluten-free and vegan restaurant that opened in December, is one of the first restaurants in the Twin Cities to require vaccine proof. The rule doesn't apply to outdoor dining.

  • Owners Katherine Pardue and Lisa Neumann made the decision based on CDC recommendations and the safety and comfort of their staff and customers, Pardue told Axios.

But, but, but: The post announcing the new rule was shared to other online pages and groups.

  • In a matter of 36 hours, 300 new Google reviews came in, sinking the cafe's rating from 4.75 to 3.8 stars, according to a passionate Reddit post by Pardue's partner. But that number rebounded to 4.2 stars later Monday.
  • Pardue declined to comment on any efforts she's made to get the reviews of people who have not visited removed.

What they're saying: "A small minority of people who had never heard of us felt the need to share some words. But we have many more patrons leaving great reviews, coming in and telling us how safe they feel and how excited they are," Pardue said.


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