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Controversial signs posted at San Francisco restaurant

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A San Francisco restaurant that posted a series of controversial signs in its windows is drawing tons of negative attention.

Some of the signs at a North Beach restaurant question the gender of former first lady Michelle Obama, while also calling the city a cesspool. 

The owner of the restaurant would not go on camera, but did told KRON4 the signs are freedom of speech.

He says he’s leaving San Francisco because city leaders are failing people like him, but some residents in the neighborhood say they’re happy to see him go.

Signs hand written in broken English and Italian cover the windows of restaurant Trattoria Pinocchio.

For the ones people can make out — it’s speech not welcome in North Beach.

“It’s definitely bizarre,” David Essling said. “I don’t know what the point is per say.”

The posts come across as an angry rant, says neighborhood resident David Essling.

But the more you read, the more bigoted they become.

One sign questions whether former first lady Michelle Obama is man.

“For someone to say that Michelle Obama is a man is a little troubling,” one woman said.

“It’s clearly racist and bigoted,” Dan Macchiarini said.

Macchiarini is president of the North Beach Business Association. He says it’s well known throughout the neighborhood that the owner of Trattoria Pinocchio is intolerant.

District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin echoed those sentiments saying, in part:

“The owner of this establishment is known by all local residents to be unhinged. Nobody in the neighborhood is sad to see him go.”

But losing a local business is not something to be celebrated. The restaurant is closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People are angry right now, and I get that people are angry this is a little aggressive for me,” a woman said.

“I have no regrets about this individual leaving and his business folding up,” Macchiarini said. “And it’s unfortunate I have to say that but because we don’t like to lose businesses at all.”

As the signs remain — at least for now — neighbors say it’s best to ignore them.

“This isn’t representative of North Beach as a community and a neighborhood, so if you do walk by maybe look away,” one resident said.

The front door of the business was vandalized yesterday with profanity calling for the owner to essentially shut up. 

We spoke with other business owners off camera who said the language in the signs is repulsive and they too are happy to see him leave.

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