Lake Norman restaurant owner gets death threats after Facebook post goes viral

Halina’s Café & Catering
Halina’s Café & Catering WBTV

A Lake Norman restaurant owner said he received death threats after his Facebook post about a rude customer went viral, Observer news partner WBTV reported Tuesday night,.

“He used profane language, made a scene, so I quietly calmed him down and ejected him from my restaurant,” Dirk Rusthoven, owner of Halina’s Café & Catering on N.C. 73 in Denver, N.C., told the station. Rusthoven said families were in his restaurant at the time.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from,” Rusthoven said. “If you’re going to cause a scene, you’re going to be asked to leave.”

Rusthoven later posted this warning to the customer on Facebook: “DO NOT EVER show your face again in MY restaurant.”

He said he received death threats over the post, causing him to take down the restaurant’s Facebook page. Its website is still up.

“When everyone comes out of the woodwork to jump all over that Facebook post, it’s amazing to me what people have come up with,” he told WBTV. “Disgusting for that matter.”

Neighbors told WBTV they were shocked to learn the post came from the owner.

“I thought it was pretty dumb for a restaurant owner to do something like that if he’s expecting to actually get some business,” Megan Harris said.

“Uncalled for and unprofessional,” another neighbor said.

Rusthoven said he did not mean for his post to be taken the way it has been.

“I regret the way it was interpreted. I should not have stated, I stooped down to a level I shouldn’t have stooped to,” Rusthoven told WBTV.

Some on Facebook also called out Rusthoven for this part of his post: “Gastonia is South of us. Don’t come back.”

Rusthoven said he wasn’t ragging on Gastonia. He even lived in Gastonia for three years, he said.

Rusthoven told the station he just wants to move past his Facebook post and focus on his food.

“All I can say is give us a shot,” he said. “If you like it, great. If not, that’s cool, too.”

A fake Facebook page for Rusthoven’s restaurant has popped up, and he said he plans to sue whoever created it, WBTV reported.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak