Following an incident where five black businesswomen were asked to move to accommodate a group of white patrons at the new Cedric restaurant in Harlem, Councilwoman Inez Dickens has called for a boycott of the popular establishment. Dickens accuses the owners of racism for moving the group of five on Feb. 4, which included herself, in a letter she wrote the owners Fabrizio Khanlari and Cedric Lecendre. “Your policy of unequal treatment, strategic table placement, and disproportionate levels of service must immediately cease,” Dickens wrote in her letter. “At this time, I am also supporting a boycott of your restaurant.” DNAinfo reports on the story:
HARLEM — Councilwoman Inez Dickens has called for a boycott of a new French restaurant in Harlem, accusing the upscale uptown eatery of moving a group of black women to accommodate a group of white patrons earlier this month.
At one point the group at Cedric Bistro included deputy Manhattan Borough President Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, but she left before the women were moved. However, she was called back to the restaurant by her friends later in the evening as the dispute over the move raged in the trendy spot.
In a tersely worded letter to the restaurant, which opened on St. Nicholas Avenue near 119th Street five months ago to rave reviews, Dickens accuses the owners of racism for moving the party of five high-powered black women on Feb 4.
“Racism against anyone in my community, in my district on my watch due to race, color, creed, sexual preference or perceived economic status is unacceptable,” Dickens wrote in her Feb. 9 letter to the restaurant’s co-owner Cedric Lecendre, who is white.
“Your policy of unequal treatment, strategic table placement, and disproportionate levels of service must immediately cease,” Dickens wrote in her letter. “At this time, I am also supporting a boycott of your restaurant.”
But the restaurateurs deny racism was the cause for the move — adding that the group of black women spent seven hours eating and drinking at Cedric before confronting staff about Lecendre’s decision to ask the group to move to make way for an existing reservation.
“Maybe that wasn’t the smartest thing, but it happens in the restaurant industry. It had nothing to do with race, it had to do with that the restaurant was busy,” co-owner Fabrizio Khanlari told DNAinfo. “If you were offended or upset, you would ask for the bill and leave, not order 3 or 4 more bottles of wine and stay until 11 p.m.”
Dickens declined to comment, but a spokeswoman said Monday that she stood behind the letter.
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