The menu at the Roseville branch of Joe’s Crab Shack certainly sounded tasty enough - clam strips, crispy shrimp and crab cakes.
Less appetizing, however, was the table decoration confronting two black diners which contained a photograph of a black person being hanged in 1895 along with a caption that read “All I said was I don’t like the gumbo”
On Thursday, the Minneapolis branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) demanded an apology from the restaurant.
“Although the manager was apologetic about the lynching depiction, that does not change the fact that this sickening image of black men being lynched was intentionally embedded inside of a table,” Tyrone Williams, one of the two diners, told the Associated Press.
“This type of blatant racism should not be tolerated in this country, or in our local and national eating establishments. I have felt sick to my stomach and stressed out since seeing that image on the table where I was planning to eat my food.”
The St Paul Pioneer Press said Mr Williams established that the image depicted the hanging of a man named Richard Burleson in Groesbeck, Texas. The Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to capital punishment issues, said Burleson was hanged after being convicted of murder. But the NAACP of Minneapolis maintained he was lynched by a white mob.
David Catalano, COO of the Ignite Restaurant Group, the parent company of Joe’s Crab Shack, has issued a public apology.
“We understand one of the photos used in our table décor at our Joe’s Crab Shack location in Roseville was offensive,” he said.
“We take this matter very seriously, and the photo in question was immediately removed.”