11-Worth Cafe closes permanently, citing safety concerns, threats on social media

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 1:15 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Citing "numerous threats" to family members made on social media and two incidents at family homes where police had to be called, owners of the 11-Worth Cafe in Omaha announced they are permanently closing the restaurant.

"The verbal abuse, taunting and having to be escorted to and from their cars by police and security officers for their safety for two straight days was more than we could watch them endure," according to a Wednesday release from The Caniglia Family.

The restaurant closed Sunday, according to the release, and will be permanent.

In the release, the family thanked staff and customers for "so much support and love over the past forty-four years."

"Our staff and customers were the backbone of our operation and we appreciated every one of them," the release states.

In the days leading up to its closing over the weekend, the business had been targeted by protesters after racially charged posts appeared on the owner's son's Facebook account during

— including one post suggesting protesters should be shot dead.

According to

posted by

, who owns Gamers stores in Omaha who helped organize the protests and is also running for City Council, the cafe was advised to change a menu item named after Robert E. Lee, renaming it for "a black icon or a black union soldier, like Frederick Douglas"; and issue a public apology, but closed instead.

During those conversations,

, the family claimed the Facebook posts in question were made by an employee and not the owner's son, whose account on which it was posted.

others involved in the protests weren't satisfied with those demands and asked for $500-$1,000 to an African-American organization as well.

Once protesters started showing up, Mitchell said, "the owner got scared."

Despite the owners meeting those demands, planning a donation for $1,000 to the Malcolm X memorial, he said, others said the donation wasn't enough, instead calling for "a seven-figure donation or we're gonna shut it down," which Mitchell called "extortion."