Restaurant removes giant penis from bull sculpture outside establishment after public outcry

Restaurant owner Stephan Ward said: 'I told them I am not removing the penis for you or because of your complaints, I don't like you, I'm doing it for me'

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The Independent US

Barista's bull, which has garnered heated complaints from residents in the Hurricane Valley area, suddenly changed — the genitalia has been removed.

Stephen Ward, owner of the restaurant, said he woke up Friday and realized the sculpture would be just as beautiful without the large protrusion.

But, before acting on his "thought," he called the city to clarify a few things, he said.

"I told them I am not removing the penis for you or because of your complaints. I don't like you. I'm doing it for me," he said. "I just decided it would look better without the weenie. And oh my God! It's beautiful."

The restaurant owner had gone through the proper motions and was approved before putting the bull above his sign, he said.

City Manager Clark Fawcett said the city has received a steady stream of complaints from both tourists and locals since Barista's, located at 460 W. State St., opened in 2009. But the city has no cause to revoke the business license, he said.

Although Ward went through the proper channels and the sign was approved by Hurricane's planning department, "the dimensions of certain parts of the animal don't seem to be built the same way as in the plan that came to us," Fawcett said.

"I didn't put it up to piss them off; I put it up because it's an amazing piece, and I bought it as-is, but I am having fun with all the attention, and it's brought in more customers," Ward said.

Once it was up, though, he did feel something was off, he said.

"It didn't even look (right), it was in the shape of a cone — but I don't know what a weenie on a bull is supposed to look like," Ward said.

The bull isn't the only complaint residents of the area have against Ward and his restaurant.

Barista's_bull.jpg
The Barista’s bull is seen without the “cone-shaped” genitalia (Lyndy Butler / The (St. George, Utah) Spectrum)

A recent petition on change.org asks that Barista's business license not be renewed, and, so far, 630 have signed.

Residents claim questionable business practices and hostile attitudes toward patrons on the part of Ward and his employees.

But Ward insists he is harassed regularly by those living in the area, the police and city representatives, and said he is getting ready to sue.

"They are haters," Ward said. "I'm doing everything the way I am supposed to, nothing illegal, and they know it."

A recent incident in which an employee was assaulted didn't help Ward's attitude toward the locals, he said.

"This guy comes and assaults my employee, and all they do is cite him; they don't even arrest him. If it'd been me they would have locked me up and thrown away the key," he said.

Ward said he wasn't there when he claimed his employee tried to stop the man after he followed Ward's daughter into the kitchen, making sexually explicit remarks.

Ward said when he came back to the restaurant, the employee called him over and the man tried to come after Ward.

The employee stepped in and was assaulted, Ward said.

"These Barney Fife police ... should have booked him," Ward said.

Ward also said the residents don't like his high prices, but insisted his food is the best in Southern Utah.

Since he drew in $40,000 in business in the first three weeks of March, it doesn't bother him what residents think because he is making money with — or without — their business.

"They can stay away from me and out of my restaurant. I don't need them," he said.

This story originally appeared on USA Today.

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