Houston’s Turkey Leg Hat is elevating “anti-black” criticism of the costume code

Houston’s Turkey Leg Hut restaurant announced Friday that it would enforce a new dress code, sparking a number of mixed online reactions from critics who say the move is “anti-black” and others who say it is long overdue.

Third Ward restaurant has established itself as one of the finest restaurants in Houston after gaining an iconic following for its giant smoked turkey legs, which debuted at the Houston Rodeo years ago. Winding, long lines, overcrowded dining rooms, and celebrity guest appearances are the norm for the still expanding Cajun hotspot located outside of Houston.

On HoustonChronicle.com: Turkey Leg Hut co-owners allege fraud, theft, embezzlement and a variety of other duel charges

TLH’s new dress code prohibits guests from wearing “excessively revealing clothing,” including panties, swimwear, sports bras, ripped clothing, and excessively short shorts. Stretchy pants, inappropriate language on clothing, and “house clothes” including wave hats, du-rags, slippers, or shower caps are also prohibited.

The restaurant said in a statement posted on Facebook that the dress code was “required based on the clothing of some guests”.

“We were forced to introduce this new policy as we continue to strive to ensure that all guests feel comfortable with us,” the restaurant said. “We’re not a club, we’re a family-friendly restaurant and we will continue to maintain our standards as we welcome everyone to Turkey Leg Hut.”

The announcement sparked a flurry of reactions, some in support of the new policy and some against the new policy, leading the restaurant to be trending on Twitter in the US early Saturday morning. Some critics were quick to dub the new policy “anti-black” and say it targeted black culture directly, while others argued that this was a welcome and necessary change.

“Thank you for enforcing a dress code,” wrote a Facebook user. “A lot of people just aren’t trained properly these days. I’m glad you all say that and teach them.”

“You’ve all established yourself as a place of business selling trap music, hookahs, mixed drinks, etc., but suddenly you’re all over the crowd that popularized your establishment?” wrote another Facebook user.

Others responded with memes and other hot takes on Twitter, flooding the restaurant’s account.

The Olympics, HBO, Turkey Leg Hut Leg
TL gives anti-black today, but was black a few weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/07TuLTuKYQ

– Black women told you! (@ItsTiaWilliams) July 3, 2021

I’ve never been to the Turkey Leg Hut and never will be. How are you supposed to be a BLACK establishment in the middle of a historically BLACK neighborhood of Houston with a hellish anti-black, internalized racist AfD dress code policy for a shop that sells overly choked turkey legs? https://t.co/caLAxVHFr5

– Talia Mirai | Pin-Up Commissions on Patreon (@TaliaMirai) July 3, 2021

Me and my girls at Turkey Leg Hut this weekend pic.twitter.com/hr8B90KKFO

– NatoyaEbony (@NatoyaEbony) July 2, 2021

The restaurant is a black owned restaurant. Owners Nakia and Lynn Price pride themselves on being a beacon of success for the black community in an area threatened by the gentrification of their own achievements.

The owners said in the Facebook post that they value the public’s collaboration.

rebecca.hennes@chron.com

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