PEARLAND, Texas – A Pearland business owner is trying to save his restaurant’s reputation after a photo of him butchering a wild hog went viral.
Jimmy Chi owns Tose Steak & Sushi at 1853 Pearland Pkwy. The photo, which was taken by a passerby at the end of April, shows Chi butchering the hog outside the back of his business.
The passerby recently posted the photo on his Facebook account and it has since gone viral with many social media users believing the butchered hog was served at the restaurant.
“It’s crazy,” said Pearland Resident Jonathan Phillips.
He says the hog was given to him as a gift by a few friends who went hunting.
“They went on a hunting trip that I was supposed to go on, but couldn’t, so they shot a couple hogs and gave me one,” Chi said.
Chi admits butchering the hog outside his business and in public was a mistake, but he says the entire photo has been taken way out of context.
“I want to apologize to all of my customers that it was really my poor decision process that hog at the back alley,” Chi said.
He said the hog never set foot inside the restaurant and he never intended to serve it to customers, rather to himself.
“I totally understand. If I was a customer it would raise some concerns for me too,” Chi said.
A few days after the photo was taken the Pearland Health Department inspected the restaurant and found no signs that the hog was brought in or served. But for many Pearland residents, the photo has already changed their perception of the establishment.
“If they’re doing that out back, we could have been buying that as food,” Phillips said.
Other customers support Chi and say they will continue dining in.
“The food is great, it’s amazing. I would go back there,” said Audra Nagle.
The passerby who posted the original photo to Facebook has since taken it down from his account, but Chi says since so many people have already seen it he is prepared for a lull in business.
He says if he has to shut down the restaurant for an entire day to do some deep cleaning, just to prove to people everything is safe, he will do that.
Last month the restaurant received a “D” letter grade from the Pearland Health Department, but Chi says it was for mistakes like open containers, and he has since corrected all of those mistakes.