The Facebook page for Bee Cave patisserie Baguette et Chocolat has improbably become a war ground for gun rights activists. It all started when The Truth About Guns editor Robert Farago entered the patisserie last week with a gun, despite the fact that they prohibit open and concealed carry on the premises. When the owners noticed Farago’s gun “under his t-shirt,” they called Austin’s 311 service, which dispatched two police officers to Baguette. A few minutes after casing the scene, the police asked Farago to leave.
Farago wrote about the experience, which led to a flood of negative one-star Facebook and Yelp reviews on Baguette’s pages from gun rights activists. One Yelper wrote that “the owners feel the need to try and restrict our rights and liberty as Americans,” and someone on Facebook commented, “I'm sure their food is excellent but their stance on guns is dangerous. No thanks.”
There was a subsequent flood of positive reviews from Baguette et Chocolat supporters in response. One Facebooker wrote that Baguette offers a “great meal, in a safe and loving environment!” Another Yelper said that the bakery is “wonderful and authentic! I don't live close to this place at all but it is 100% worth the drive.” Still, when reached today by email, Baguette told Eater they plan on shutting down the Facebook page next week because their star rating has been negatively affected.
Yelp’s “active cleanup” alert appeared on Baguette’s Yelp page but the Facebook page remains unpoliced by anyone at Facebook.
"We don't want to deal with it," Chi-minh Pham-dinh said, when asked about the decision to close the Facebook page. "We just want to focus on our French bakery. Our patrons will make their own choice to come to our bakery or not." According to Pham-dinh, they’ll take the page offline on Monday, September 25, so they have time to save their post and photo archives.
Texas’ open carry law was enacted in January 2016, wherein licensed handgun owners are allowed to fully display their weapons in public. Businesses, including restaurants and bakeries, are able to opt out of the policy as long as they post the required visible legal signage stating that guns are prohibited. Baguette has signs in the entrance doorway prohibiting both concealed and open carry.
Baguette owners Anne-lise and Chi-minh Pham-dinh said that Farago expressed his disappointment that they chose to not allow guns on the property in 2016. He said he would never return, but — pulled by the “siren song” of their baguette — he did last week. Farago claimed that he forgot he had his gun on him. He left without a fuss when the police asked him to.
Farago published a follow-up post today, where he said he "never advocated that gun rights advocates should boycott any and all businesses that bar entry to legally-armed Americans."
Stay tuned for updates and see Baguette et Chocolate’s Facebook Message to its followers in full below.
Update, September 22: Bageuette’s Facebook page is now deleted.
State representative democratic candidate Sheri Soltes is hosting a rally in support of Baguette et Chocolat on Saturday, September 23. She is encouraging to patronize the bakery and bring signs. It runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Due to a recent gun incident with one fellow at our store, we’re extremely sad and shocked to announce you that we will shut down our Facebook page in the next days.
This fellow, who is a pro gun, wrote an article on Saturday 16th of September, on a pro gun social network, relating his version about what happened in our store.
Here is our version :
This fellow was upset, a year and a half ago, when we put on the doors the LAW sign prohibiting carrying gun in our establishment. He talked to my wife and said that if we didn’t put those signs down, he would not come back. We didn’t take those signs out.
Recently, he chose to come back. We saw his gun underneath is t shirt. My employees and myself didn’t know what to do so, we decided to call 311. We were trying to know what can we tell this fellow, who knows that we don’t legally allow guns in our bakery, but still comes inside with his gun. 311 decided to send police officers. We were not aware of it until the police officers showed up.
Those police officers dealt with him telling him that regarding the LAW, we don’t allow guns in our store. He pretended he didn’t see the signs on the door. Apparently, he just had a warning and left the store.
On Saturday 16th of September, we started receiving a couple of 1 star review without comment. I started to see with my employees to know if something went wrong that day because we’re not used to bad review much. If we can fix a mistake, we will.
Later this day we received much more 1 star reviews, some with comments regarding guns and insulting emails. Everything went clear. This article was spreading.
All Baguette et Chocolate’s team is shocked and very sad. Like April, my head baker who has been working very hard with us for more than 6 years and told us “you don’t deserve this !”.
We’ve been building very hard this true Authentic French family business for almost 8 years now.
In just a couple of days, those people who most of them never came to our store, try, as they say, to destroy our business. Telling us that as “migrant” we have to go back to our country. That we don’t have our place here in the USA or in Texas. That we don’t respect people. That we treat them like criminals (but we just talk about the gun not the person who carry it). That they expect us to be robbed at our house or at our business. And much worse even threats…….
Yes, we’re migrant Alien who left our country for America to live our dream of sharing our passion for French food. We wanted to live our American dream. We’re known for respecting our savoir faire, authenticity and quality. Yes, our down side is the customer service sometimes, we know it and we do our best to fix it but we’re just a tiny bakery NOT a formal restaurant, very popular with only 30 people allowance (employees included) so it’s hard sometimes to handle everything. Our team does his best and works hard to satisfy your needs.
We’re working very hard to make it right, to make our patrons happy to stop by and have a piece of France right around the corner, trying to make you having a good time.
Yes, we put those LAW signs on the doors. Yes, we don’t want guns inside the bakery as we’re small place and can be packed with children around as they have their own spot. We WELCOME EVERYONE and always do, but just unarmed. Our concern is NOT the person but the gun.
I thought we had the freedom in our own building, like HEB or WHOLE FOOD, to legally do what we think is best. Apparently not.
Our time is precious, we don’t have much time to spend on the social network as we focus on our job to satisfy our patrons who really believe in what we’re here for. We can not deal with those fellows. We let them express their anger on the other reviews network.
Our Facebook page was supposed to be our own….not anymore. The rating we’ve been working on has been declining drastically by those bad reviews and it will keep going.
We don’t have any hands on it. Facebook can not help us.
WE WANT TO THANK VERY TRULY FROM THE DEEP OF OUR HEART ALL THE LIKERS, LOVERS WHO HAS BEEN FOLLOWING OUR BUSINESS FOR ALMOST 8 YEARS NOW ON FACEBOOK.
WE ARE VERY SORRY ABOUT IT AND ASK YOU TO EXCUSE US FOR ALL THE INCONVENIENCE IT MAY OCCUR.
WE ARE AND WE WILL BE STILL DOING OUR JOB WE’RE KNOWN FOR TO SATISFY OUR PATRONS.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT.
Anne-lise & Chi minh PHAM DINH
Baguette et Chocolat’s owners
- Baguette et Chocolat [Facebook]
- Baguette et Chocolat [Yelp]
- Austin's Outstanding Bakeries: Where to Pick Up Baked Goods [EATX]