SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio community has come together to denounce a racist attack on a Northwest Side ramen noodle shop after its owner spoke out against Texas’ statewide reopening and mask mandate reversal on CNN.
On Sunday, Mike Nguyen, the owner and chef of the Noodle Tree, found the shop painted with racist and anti-mask messages in red paint graffiti.
In an interview with KSAT on Sunday, Nguyen said the messages that were painted on the restaurant’s windows and a table outside said “no mask,” “ramen noodle flu” and other sayings.
Days prior to the attack, Nguyen spoke to CNN about his opposition to the statewide opening and his battle with cancer.
“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.”
On Monday, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said he offered his full support to the business and called the attack “bigoted” and “cowardly.”
“I try not to display my anger when I see things like this, but that is nothing but a bigoted, cowardly move to do something like that,” McManus said. “It’s just not San Antonio by any means and I don’t know what someone who would write something like that — or any sort of racially charged thing anywhere— I don’t know why someone would do that, it doesn’t make any sense to me.”
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg also spoke out against the attack on the shop, asking for community members to “eradicate racism” in the city.
Death wishes & racist slurs were spray painted on the windows of @Noodletreetx overnight.— Mayor Ron | Wear a mask! 😷 (@Ron_Nirenberg) March 15, 2021
Thank you to all the neighbors who showed up to help & proved that we're better than this one hateful act.
We must work together to eradicate racism from our city.https://t.co/mk4WXI07xF
On Monday, the Noodle Tree posted that former District 6 Councilman and current San Antonio mayoral candidate Greg Brockhouse helped support the business by buying $1,000 worth of lunch and dinner from the shop.
The FBI released the following statement following the incident:
We are aware of the incident at a local restaurant in San Antonio, Texas and are in regular contact with San Antonio Police Department. If, in the course of the local investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate.
We would encourage anyone who believes they are a victim of a crime to contact law enforcement.
The Alamo Asian-American Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement following the incident:
The Alamo Asian-American Chamber of Commerce is standing behind various Asian-American ethnic groups, together with the Asian-American Alliance of San Antonio, in denouncing hate crimes and bigotry towards Asian-Americans. The vandalism that occurred at the Noodle Tree Restaurant on Sunday, March 14, 2021, is unacceptable.
The incident was clearly derogatory against Chinese-Americans. It speaks volumes of the continued fueling of hate crimes in the City of San Antonio, particularly within the Asian population since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resounding theme of “Diversity and Inclusion” respects individuals from all walks of life regardless of skin color and race, to exercise certain freedoms of expression and be entitled to their own views without threat to others.
The Noodle Tree Restaurant is a privately-owned entity whose decision was to protect the staff and customers by following suggested CDC guidelines despite the Texas statewide loosened restrictions on face coverings. AAACC calls for city leaders to urge all branches of government including the San Antonio Police Department, Bexar County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s office to conduct a full investigation and provide accountability to the perpetrators of the crime.
In the past year, AAACC has also been involved in working with Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Council in the unanimous approved resolution denouncing hate and bigotry for Asians and Jewish Americans.
The resolution must resonate within the community for continued peace and harmony within the citizens of San Antonio.