Police officers in San Francisco.
  • A San Francisco restaurant was flooded with 1-star reviews it refused to serve police officers.
  • The eatery, Hilda and Jesse, said police weapons made staff uncomfortable in a "safe space."
  • After an online backlash, the restaurant apologised and its owners said "we handled this badly".
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

A San Francisco restaurant was flooded with hundreds of one-star reviews after staff refused to serve three armed police officers and asked them to leave.

The owners of Hilda and Jesse, a breakfast restaurant in North Beach, apologised for the incident after a widespread backlash.

According to a post shared by the restaurant on Instagram, three armed and uniformed police officers came on Friday.

The post said tha staff asked them "politely" to leave because they felt "uncomfortable with the presence of their multiple weapons."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hilda and Jesse (@hildaandjessesf)

The post described the restaurant as a "safe space" and said the "presence of the officers weapons in the restaurant made us feel uncomfortable." It said asking them to go was not a "political statement."

In a statement emailed to Richie Greenberg, a San Francisco-based political commentator, the restaurant's co-owner Rachel Sillcocks said the restaurant was a "safe space — particularly for queer and bipoc individuals."

(BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and people of color.)

She said the police officers could have made guests as well as staff uncomfortable.

After the Instagram post was published on Saturday, the restaurant was flooded with hundreds of one-star reviews on Yelp.

Yelp added a statement to the restaurant's page saying it had temporarily stopped accepting reviews since they mostly did not relate to people's actual experience of dining there.

Many of the reviews cited the decision to eject the police officers. One said: "I would not support or recommend a San Francisco business that discriminates against the SFPD. Shame on you!!!"

On Sunday evening, Sillcocks and co-owner Kristina Compton apologized in another Instagram post.

"We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident on Friday when we asked members of the San Francisco Police Department to leave our restaurant," they said.

"We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times.

"We hope this will be a teachable moment for us as we repair and continue to build bridges with the SFPD.

"These are stressful times and we handled this badly."

Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.