‘It was scary’: Community shows support for Houston restaurant after it was site of anti-mask protest

HOUSTON – A beloved Garden Oaks restaurant got an outpouring of support Monday after it was the site of a weekend protest by a group against the mask ordinance.

At points throughout the afternoon, the line was out the door at Miller’s Cafe on North Shepherd as longtime customers showed up in droves after the Saturday incident.

Video posted to YouTube showed several people carrying American and Trump flags, marching in front of the restaurant chanting, “Boycott Miller’s!”

“I couldn’t believe it. Why are they targeting us? Is this political?” asked owner Jessica Beer, who now runs her family’s 41-year-old business. “We’ve never taken a political stance here. We sell hamburgers.” said owner Jessica Beer, who now runs her family’s 41-year-old restaurant business.

Surveillance video from inside the restaurant shows two members of the group of protesters enter the business without masks on.

“Honestly it was scary,” said cashier Stacy Gremillion. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. We’re just trying to follow rules.”

Gremillion told them they needed to have a mask on and if they didn’t have one the restaurant could provide one.

“They just started yelling about their constitutional rights and that we were impeding on their freedom and tried to tell us that they had health disorders and didn’t have to wear a mask,” Beer said. “So, then they went out front and started, screaming ‘Boycott Miller’s!”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted about the incident on Sunday and showed up for lunch Monday afternoon.

“They have excellent, delicious burgers,” he said.

The mayor encouraged citizens to support small businesses and spoke out against the anti-maskers.

“This foolishness has to stop,” Turner said. “Put on your mask.”

Beer said she appreciated the show of support from customers and the mayor.

“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “This pandemic has been hard. We’re in this together. We have to do this together.”

Beer said she hopes to re-open Miller’s downtown location, which has been closed since March, very soon.

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