Last month, chef and James Beard award-winning cookbook author J. Kenji Lopez-Alt announced that his San Mateo, Calif. restaurant, the Wursthall Restaurant and Bierhaus, wouldn’t welcome any patron who walked in wearing one of Donald Trump’s signature red “Make America Great Again” hats. A day later, he apologized, and said that Wursthall would “serve all customers [...] so long as they leave hate, anger, and violence outside of the doors of our restaurant.”
Although Lopez-Alt admitted that he’d never had a single customer in a MAGA hat—much less told one to go get their Bratkartoffeln elsewhere—that didn’t stop angry Trump supporters from stacking Wursthall’s Yelp page with one-star reviews. “Don’t go here with your #MAGA hat,” one now-deleted comment read. “You are not welcome. Very confused as to what my hat has to do with Pretzels and Franks. But you lost a customer.” Others filled the restaurant’s Facebook page with one-star reviews, leaving comments about having seen “cockroaches all over.”
But a new phone app could serve a couple of purposes, like preventing chefs like Lopez-Alt from grinding his molars into a fine powder while serving someone in a MAGA hat, and keeping anyone on the #TrumpTrain from having to fabricate reviews for restaurants they’ve never visited. The Daily Beast reports that 63red Safe hopes to become “like a conservative Yelp,” where Trump supporters can rate restaurants and other assorted businesses “safe” or “unsafe,” based on their attitudes toward the President and politics in general. It also lets users note whether or not they can carry their guns into the restaurant.
“I'm trying to position it as an everyday 'where can I go eat safely' app,” the app’s founder, Scott Wallace, told The Daily Beast. Why? Because he pretty much envisions a future where anti-fascists just won’t leave these poor Trump supporters alone. “I believe that, between now and 2020, we’re going to see the rise of the socialist goon squad,” he continued. “I think antifa was nothing compared between now and what’s coming in 2020. And I’m deeply concerned.”
Wallace didn’t provide any evidence for this “goon squad,” or explain why he has these concerns, but he is echoing language that the president used before last year’s midterms. “If the radical resistance wins power—and that’s what they are, the radical resistance—they will move immediately to reverse America’s progress and eradicate all the gains we’ve made,” he said of antifa during one rally last November. (Wallace also didn’t reveal what ‘63 Red’ means, but our best guess is that it might refer to the 63 million people who voted for Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential election.)
Anyway, the app supposedly allows users to answer a series of four questions about each business, including “Does this business serve persons of every political belief?” and “Will this business protect its customers if they are attacked for political reasons?” and yes, “Does this business allow legal concealed carry under this state’s laws?” The restaurant is then given a green checkmark, denoting it as safe for conservatives, or a red ‘no’ symbol, which is self-explanatory.
But I say this is supposedly what the app will do, because when I downloaded it, it didn’t do… anything. Attempts to search for basic keywords like “pizza” or “coffee” yielded zero results, even when I expanded the search range to include “Everywhere.”
As of this writing, the app has a 2.3 star rating on the iPhone App Store, mostly because I’m not the only one who couldn’t convince 63red Safe to work. “Created an account, signed in and nada… finds nothing!” one person wrote. “Probably some leftist scam.”
Many of the reviews are pretty much the opposite of what Wallace had imagined, because a significant number of them are from the non-MAGA crowd. “I read about this so downloaded it because I thought it would be an easy enough way to avoid pro Trump stores,” one reviewer wrote. “Doing the public a great service by publicizing the places where haters feel welcome. Thank you!” another added.
If 63red Safe does get functional again (The Daily Beast was able to find a number of pizza restaurants rated as both safe and unsafe), then it seriously might help customers on both sides of the political divide make choices about where to spend their cash. But Jesus, can we all agree that wearing a hat inside a restaurant is gross, regardless of what’s stitched on the front of it?