Joshua Bote, USA TODAY
Published 6:29 a.m. ET June 23, 2020 | Updated 9:26 a.m. ET June 23, 2020
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A Baltimore restaurant owner that has repeatedly come under fire for its dress code policy has apologized to a Black woman and her son for denying them service for wearing clothing that did not adhere to their dress code.
Marcia Grant was repeatedly told by a manager that she and her son, Dallas, were unable to eat at Ouzo Bay Monday, in a video she recorded and posted on social media Monday.
“They’re telling me that my son can’t eat here because there’s no athletic wear? He’s nine,” Grant said. “And there’s kids out there with tennis shoes on.”
In the video, he was seen wearing sneakers, gym shorts and an Air Jordan T-shirt. Another child, recorded eating outside, was wearing similar apparel. That child was white.
Atlas Restaurant Group, which owns Ouzo Bay and a slew of other restaurants in the area, called the incident “incredibly disturbing” and has put the manager involved on “indefinite leave.”
“While dress codes across Atlas properties are the result of ongoing input from customers, in no way are they intended to be discriminatory,” said the group in a statement published on Twitter Monday evening.
Atlas will also not require anyone under the age of 12 to follow dress code at its restaurants.
The restaurant group, however, has faced scrutiny for creating dress code requirements perceived to discriminate against Black and Latino customers last September at its restaurant, Choptank.
They tweaked the policy after criticism, notably erasing a line that said management can “enforce these policies within its discretion.” Per the Baltimore Sun, Atlas founder Alex Smith called allegations of racism leveled against him “unfortunate.”
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