HOUSTON - Third Ward’s Turkey Leg Hut is getting national attention after implementing a controversial dress code.
The restaurant was trending nationwide on Twitter late Friday night after posting dress code rules on social media that exclude exposed undergarments, bonnets, and du rags, and states all body parts must be completely covered.
Critics cooked up social media jokes featuring black tie and Amish attire as the new requirement, but others accused the restaurant of kicking out the same fan base that made them popular, even accusing the owners of racism.
"We are a restaurant and not a club, let alone a strip club," says co-owner Nakia Price. "That’s why it was something that was necessary that we had to put in place in order for all our patrons to feel comfortable."
The restaurant says its family-friendly atmosphere has been taking a hit during the return to summer fun with some customers complaining about what was hanging out at the table next to them.
"We see people coming in wearing pants all the way below the bottom of their derriere; we see women coming in with nothing but exposed butt and thigh," Price says.
The owners also say the first post of the rules was a draft not meant to be published.
It was replaced with another list that prohibits excessively revealing clothing.
"It was not implemented to change our image. We still like to have a good time, but at the same time it’s an environment where there are children here, there are older people here," she adds.
The owners says shouldn’t expect any other changes, but those who don’t follow the guidelines may not be allowed in, leaving diners to enjoy their turkey meat while seeing less skin at the table.
Following their interview with Fox 26, the restaurant also released this statement Saturday:
"At the Turkey Leg Hut, we do our best to accommodate all of our guests. It’s unfortunate that we even have to address this or implement a dress code but we are a family-friendly restaurant that serves all ages from children to adults. Unfortunately, we have received complaints from our patrons regarding other guest’s wardrobe choices. In order to try and ensure all guests are comfortable while visiting us, we were forced to put a new dress code policy in place.
Our dress code policy is not meant to target or offend anyone but rather provide our guests with an acceptable clothing guide so that all guests and staff will feel comfortable in our establishment.
The Turkey Leg Hut has been, and always will be, a restaurant of inclusivity for all and we will continue to take into consideration the input of all patrons to provide a safe, comfortable and healthy environment for our community and guests."
–Nakia Price, Owner, Turkey Leg Hut