'Hoods down, pants up': Is this restaurant sign racist?

A sushi bar/Japanese steakhouse restaurant in North Carolina is taking a stand against customers that don’t fit its desired guest profile. The restaurant has posted a sign for customers that it doesn’t want in its establishment, which reads like a casting call for sequels to Half Baked, How High, and Pineapple Express

 Kubto: No potheads allowed

The sign reads:

* Take your hoodie down
* Pull your pants up
* Finish your phone conversation
* Marijuana smell not allowed

Unsurprising, the sign have raised some eyebrows in the community.

It looks like they are trying to say something about some kind of race.
— Unnamed Charlotte, NC resident

Martin Tanaka, owner of the restaurant, claims that he's trying to instill a family atmosphere, and doesn't want customers that threaten that dining experience. As the description reads, the restaurant would likely exclude Mark Zuckerberg (hoodie lover), Cheech & Chong, Phish fans, medical marijuana users, and people who have recently lost a lot of weight (hence the baggy clothes). 

According to Tanaka, even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg would have to lower his hood if he wanted to be served.

Tanaka says he's not singling out any one race and that he's had to kick out people of all ethnic background. In fact, he says that the response to the sign have been generally positive, describing it as "the best response we've ever had."

Our regular customers are families, and we count on a lot of small children to come to this restaurant. I believe our society is lacking on respect, and I think we’re falling behind on it.
— Martin Tanaka, owner of Kabuto Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

At worst, the sign is blatantly racist. At best, it's poorly worded with racial undertones while trying to call out young people for their lifestyle and fashion choices.

 What are you wearing?

WSOC-TV reports that although the sign has been up for three years, the owners recently made it bigger so that more people would notice it.

If Tanaka is worried about unpleasant smells ruining dinner time, he should expand his list of commandments to also outlaw bros who feel the need to swim in a vat of AXE Body Spray before leaving the house.

As a hibachi restaurant, this particular establishment is dealing with the benefits and drawbacks of communal seating (a trend you’re seeing in more restaurants; hipsters love it!). While communal seating can create a unique atmosphere, sitting strangers together also presents a myriad of potential problems. In this restaurant’s case, guests with the munchies for hibachi are infringing upon other guests’ family time.

Even though it would kind of make sense, it’s not like the restaurant is going to have a hibachi table only for weed lovers (suddenly, I’m seeing a picture of a chef grilling marijuana and shrimp on a communal flat top).

Ultimately, the social media responses to the sign have been mixed. 

Independent of where you stand on the debate, it’s important to note that a sign which excludes any group of people reverberates far beyond the window where it’s posted.      

What do you think? Is the sign racist? Poorly worded? Spot on? Let us know in the comment section below.


Justin Aucoin also helped with this report.

Mark Zuckerberg image from News.com.au.

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