Until part-time cook Tony Hovater was profiled as “the Nazi sympathizer next door” this past weekend, 571 Grill & Draft House just existed as a small restaurant in New Carlisle, Ohio. However, the New York Times’ controversial article on Saturday that depicted Hovater as leading a pretty well-adjusted life quickly hauled 571 Grill into the national cross fire. (The Times never actually said that he worked at the burger joint, but it didn’t take long for internet sleuths to connect the two.) So 571 Grill got flooded with threatening phone calls and messages, and by Monday announced that it had fired not just Hovater, but his wife and brother-in-law, too, who also worked there. This apparently didn’t cool the threats, so on Wednesday it issued a formal statement explaining that it “does not share any” of Hovater’s “disturbing” beliefs.
The alt-right was mad that Hovater’s personal beliefs had cost him his job, and responded with “very disturbing threats” of its own. The restaurant’s Yelp page has been overtaken by people who want to debate the pros and cons of white nationalism. (“In the US and every country in Europe, white people are under attack and within 40 years will be a minority,” reads one post. “Great job firing Nazis who worked there,” another says.)
“Since the release of this article, we have been swamped with phone calls and social media messages that are threatening and intimidating to both us and our employees,” the owner says. “These hateful and disturbing messages are truly saddening to those of us who just want to serve delicious food and cold beers.”