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Alleged Discrimination Against Gay Couple by D.C.’s Prime Rib Sparks Ongoing Backlash

Dessert splitting incident has set social media ablaze

The dining room at the Prime Rib.
Photo: The Prime Rib

Longstanding D.C. steakhouse the Prime Rib is caught in the crossfire of angry online commenters after a waiter last week declined to serve two gay men a shared dessert because “it doesn’t go with the ambiance of the restaurant.”

The jarring incident allegedly took place on August 17 just as dinnergoers Ron Gage and Henry McKinnon were wrapping up an otherwise pleasant meal at the well-known K Street establishment. Gage took to Facebook the next day to let Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema that the evening quickly unraveled once he and his partner requested two spoons to split an ice cream sundae.

“The waiter said he would bring it in two separate dishes. When he did so he said ‘it wouldn't look right with two gentlemen eating out of the same Sunday ... doesn't go with the ambience of the restaurant,” Gage wrote online, adding, “I have not been that humiliated in a long time.” Gage said he and McKinnon paid the bill — even leaving a tip — but vowed never to return.

Washington Post writer Maura Judkis followed up on the awkward encounter Monday, August 21, reaching out to the restaurant manager for comment. Management said it would look into the situation.

Online observers fumed about the incident all weekend long.

Some suggested involving the authorities.

“You should not be embarrassed. They should. I would NOT have paid my bill. (Please call the police!),” Facebook user Jesse Hiney advised.

Others viewed it as a reflection of the current administration.

“Living in a Trump World. I want to get off,” wrote Facebook user Brian Bonita.

At least one person lobbied for civility.

“Please think about the fact that this may not represent the owner's attitude, just the waiter's,” posted Facebook user Pat Minter, adding, “I can't believe that any restaurant would try to dictate who should share what. They should be happy to have you as clients!”

While others lamented yet another missed opportunity for constructive discourse.

“The chance for a learning moment turned into an opportunity for revenge,” WaPo reader Kluvon Scott wrote.

Prime Rib

2020 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006 202 466 8811 Visit Website