A Thai restaurant in Fresno, California, that fell victim to a barrage of abuse — including death threats — over a racist rumor that it was serving dog meat is now ready to start fresh.
Background: The restaurant, previously known as Tasty Thai, was forced to close its doors after the rumor blew up in May. The saga was traced to a woman who posted a video of a dog tied up at a house near the restaurant.
“There is a restaurant, a little marketplace next to that house that is attached to that house,” the woman wrote in her Facebook post. “So I think something needs to be investigated because now, heartbreaking as it is, it makes more sense that they are eating the meat and selling the meat.”
From there, Tasty Thai received a wave of negative Yelp reviews, racist phone calls and even death threats. Although Fresno Police conducted an investigation and concluded that the dog was not being abused, the endless harassment ultimately forced the restaurant to close.
New path forward: After months of non-stop hate, Tasty Thai is reopening later this month under a new name: Love & Thai. The restaurant also moved to a new location at a shopping center at the corner of Chestnut and Butler Avenues.
What the owner is saying: Restaurant owner David Rasavong said that while they received a lot of hate and backlash, they also received plenty of love and support, including from overseas. For one, an interior designer from Europe is helping him rebuild Love & Thai.
Speaking to the Fresno Bee, Rasavong said the new name was inspired by the amount of love his mother puts in her cooking, but also “the amount of love we received from the community when everything came at us so quickly.”
“I’m excited to be able to — not to sound cheesy — spread the love,” he said.
Meanwhile, he leaves a message for those who spread false rumors.
“Just be careful with the things you say and the things you assume. Any ignorant assumptions can really do harm to people,” he told KSEE.