Michael Symon, Cleveland's erstwhile “Iron Chef,” has said presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump is not welcome in any of his restaurants during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Two of Symon's restaurants -- Lola and Mabel's BBQ -- are on East Fourth Street, which is close to Quicken Loans Arena where the GOP convention is taking place July 18-21.
But now here’s the interesting twist: Symon says both locations have already been rented out for the convention and that he will likely host convention-related private parties in his restaurants.
Symon claims that not welcoming Trump to his restaurant wasn't a political thing -- he said he's just creeped out by the presumptive nominee.
"There's not a chance I'd let him into one of my restaurants," Symon said after being asked how he'd handle Trump showing up at the recently opened Mabel's BBQ.
Symon stopped short of denouncing Trump's politics, instead focusing on his personal experiences with the presumptive GOP nominee. "I've been fortunate or unfortunate enough to meet him through the years and I'm not going to lie, he creeps me out a little bit," chef Symon said.
"Anybody that knows me knows I'm not afraid to speak my mind, so there's that. But this isn't a Democratic/Republican thing, trust me…" Symon told radio 92.3’s Matt Dery.
Symon, who owns multiple restaurants in Cleveland, rose to fame after winning "The Next Iron Chef," earning him a permanent spot on the show. He's also a host of ABC's "The Chew" and appears frequently on Food Network programs.
Interestingly, Symon only called in to radio 92.3’s Matt Dery, after Dery said on air he had an issue with the seating at Symon’s new restaurant.
During the Republican primaries a couple of other restaurateurs declared preemptive bans on Trump, including a Minneapolis coffee shop and a Louisville, Kentucky steakhouse, though the latter lifted the alleged ban after reportedly receiving death threats.
Was Symon’s swipe at Donald Trump a personal hit on Trump for some past grievance, or a PR stunt to deflect cricism from the rocky start his restaurant was having, or was it really a political attack inspired by his liberal pals at ABC, home of such deeply biased liberals as former Clinton spokesman George Stephanopoulos and Martha Raddatz?
None of that is clear, and Symon already has the money so-to-speak; having pre-booked parties for the Republican National Convention, he can bite the hand that feeds him with impunity. However, as thousands of Republicans flock to Cleveland one has to ask why Republicans would wish to support their political enemy and patronize one of Michael Symon’s restaurants?