‘Eat-in’ held at Austin bakery to support owners’ no-guns policy

Austin-area bakery Baguette et Chocolat has become a battle ground for the gun-rights debate. (Photo: Google Maps)

Austin-area bakery Baguette et Chocolat has become a battle ground for the gun-rights debate. (Photo: Google Maps)

Dozens of supporters staged an “eat-in” this weekend at a Austin-area bakery after the establishment took heat for kicking out a gun rights advocate who was carrying a firearm in the shop.

KXAN reported the eat-in was held on Saturday at Baguette et Chocolat, with dozens of people there to show support for owners Anne-lise and Chi-minh Pham-dinh who were lambasted for their no-guns policy after kicking out The Truth About Guns editor Robert Farago for carrying a gun into the bakery.

Supporters included Sheri Soltes, a local Democratic candidate running for the Texas House of Representatives.

“They came here from France over 10 years ago. So, that’s not even about gun control. That’s just about bullying somebody. So all of us decided we wanted to support them and let them know Austin loves them,” said Soltes.

The controversy started on Sept. 16 when Farago walked into the bakery while carrying a firearm. The establishment prohibits open and concealed carry, so when the owners noticed Farago’s gun under his shirt, they called Austin’s 311 service, which dispatched two officers to the location. After a few minutes at the scene, the officers approached Farago and asked him to leave.

Farago then documented his version of the incident on The Truth About Guns website, explaining he had forgotten he was carrying a gun under his shirt before entering the bakery. Farago said he knew of the establishment’s no-guns policy, but had a hankering for their delicious bread.

Shortly after Farago ordered, officers arrived at the scene and asked him to read the no-guns signs posted on the bakery doors. He then pretended to go read the signs, of which he was already aware, apologized to the police and then left the establishment.

Some readers of Farago’s piece then flooded the bakery’s Facebook and Yelp pages with negative reviews, which led the owners to announce they would be shutting down the Facebook page and also document their version of the incident.

In their account, the bakery owners said Farago had expressed his displeasure after they put up signs prohibiting guns a year-and-a-half ago and said he would not come back. While lawful gun owners in Texas are allowed to fully display and carry guns in public areas, private businesses, such as restaurants or bakeries, can still prohibit firearms so long as they post the proper signage.

When Farago showed up armed on Saturday, the owners said they called 311 to inquire about what they could tell him and were unaware officers had been dispatched until they arrived at the shop.

The owners also noted that people had been coming to the bakery and harassing them, calling them “migrants” and telling them to go back to their own country.

In response to the backlash, Farago added an update to his original post, calling on readers to stop harassing the owners and commenting on Facebook and Yelp.

“We’ve received a number of reports of readers threatening the business in question on their Facebook page and web site,” Farago said. “This is probably a tiny minority of readers, but actions like that don’t help the gun rights cause at all. Please refrain from contacting the business.”

Farago also posted a follow up piece, in which he said he should not have gone back to the bakery after they posted the no-guns signs. However, he also argued that boycotting gun-free businesses should be a personal decision.