Downtown Eatery Faces Backlash After Viral Confrontation

Photo via Ravenna Italian Grille & Bar.

Since its opening in 2007, Ravenna Italian Grille & Bar has been a popular dining spot in downtown Dallas, and reviews of the restaurant’s service and atmosphere have always been well above average. That is, until a video of a confrontation between Ravenna owner Milan Karadzovski and a group of patrons went viral last week.

Since the video spread across social media sites TikTok and Instagram, the restaurant has received so much negativity that Karadzovski has shut down their social media pages, and their Yelp has been deactivated.

Karadzovski even turned off the phone line to the eatery because they were receiving harassing phone calls and threats.

The incident that sparked all of the backlash occurred on July 30th, when Cierra Wright and a group of people came to Ravenna to celebrate her mother’s birthday. Karadzovski claims that the first few people to arrive smelled of marijuana, and another person did not meet the restaurant’s dress code. Once the rest of the group came and learned that they were being denied service, things became tense, and the situation escalated to shouting and Karadzovski using obscene gestures. The party of around a dozen people left and instead had dinner at Hawthorn.

Wright and many people who viewed the video online feel that the restaurant owner barred their party from entry based on race.

“I believe it happened because we were a large group of African Americans,” Wright stated. “There were no people of color in there. We tried to abide by their dress code, and we were still denied, so what was it then motivated by?”

Karadzovski strongly disagrees with this assessment of the situation, explaining, “If I were what they say I am, this would have happened many years ago,” adding, “Every restaurant with a dress code is apparently racist. I don’t know what to say about that, but I do have a dress code, and I can’t have people in here smelling of pot and yelling.”

Wright and Karadzovski have since been in contact about the incident and the backlash the restaurant is facing. Karadzovksi has apologized for the Wright family’s negative experience, and they are considering how to move forward and let the public know they have reconciled.

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