Ramen shop vandalized with racist messages after owner speaks out against Texas’ reopening

The graffiti delayed the restaurant’s opening on Sunday to 1 p.m.

SAN ANTONIO – A ramen noodle shop on the Northwest Side was vandalized just days after its owner spoke out against Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to end the state’s mask mandate in an interview with CNN.

Noodle Tree, located on UTSA Boulevard, was found with red paint graffiti Sunday afternoon, the restaurant owner Mike Nguyen confirmed to KSAT in an interview.

Racist messages were painted on the restaurant’s windows and a table outside that read, “no mask,” “ramen noodle flu” and other sayings.

BREAKING: Popular San Antonio Ramen Shop Vandalized with Racist Graffiti (Warning: the language used in the graffiti may...

Posted by Elder Eats KSAT 12 on Sunday, March 14, 2021

The graffiti also delayed the restaurant’s opening on Sunday to 1 p.m., according to a Facebook post.

Nguyen appeared on CNN Wednesday and spoke out against Gov. Abbott’s decisions to lift the state’s mask mandate and raise occupancy to 100% in businesses. He also spoke about his diagnosis of Lymphoma.

“Greg Abbott doesn’t have the Texas people’s interest in mind. He cares about himself at this point,” Nguyen told CNN. “I was almost devastated when I heard the news just because this year has been tough on me. Not only dealing with the stress of my sickness, but also dealing with the stress that comes with COVID and the anxiety that comes with that.”

Nguyen told CNN that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the shop was closed for nearly six months. Faced with stacking bills, Nguyen decided to reopen the shop and follow COVID-19 safety protocols outlined by Texas’ Department of State Health Services.

During the interview, Nguyen highlighted attacks on Asian-Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and the additional risk of being an Asian-American business owner.

“We have seen a lot of attacks on Asian-Americans and that’s a huge concern for me because I have a bullseye on my back,” Nguyen said. “Those (mask enforcement) confrontations open up the opportunity.”

It’s unclear if any arrests have been made so far in the incident.

This is a developing story and we’ll bring more updates as they become available.

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About the Authors

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

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