The Vortex, in Little Five points, responded to a customer complaint by firing the waiter involved. Photo: the Vortex

Vortex embroiled in Black Lives Matter flap

A kerfuffle between a patron of the Vortex restaurant and the boyfriend of a waiter has lit up Atlanta’s social media Tuesday.

A couple received what they considered substandard service at the Vortex restaurant in Little Five Points earlier this month. The waiter “seemed as if he hated his job and or annoyed he was serving black guests,” they told the website

The patron, Kristina White, decided to leave a zero tip, and explained her reasoning at the bottom of the check: “treat everyone the same.”

“Treat everyone the same” Kristina White wrote on the check she received at the Vortex, instead of offering a tip for what she considered bad service. Photo: courtesy Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“The entire time Ms. White and her friend were at this restaurant they were treated with the utmost disrespect, and lack thereof,” wrote Sir Maejor Page, president of Black Lives Matter Greater Atlanta, on the group’s website.

Their waiter’s boyfriend, who was on hand at the restaurant, later left critical messages on White’s phone and on her Facebook page, according to the Black Lives Matter website.

According to the Vortex website, the server, Gaven Greenberg, was terminated and his boyfriend, Patrick Wilkinson, was served with a notice that he is no longer allowed on the property.

The restaurant wrote that it offered her a gift certificate and added “In no event will we ever tolerate our patrons being bullied or harassed by anyone, including friends or family of our staff.”

The Vortex has perhaps the most distinctive front door of any restaurant in Atlanta. Patrons of the Little Five Points branch enter through the gaping mouth of a swirly-eyed skull sculpture. The restaurant also permits smoking (in designated areas) and adopts a stance that suggests those who don’t like smoking shouldn’t attend. “While we’re happy to welcome smokers and non-smokers alike, we will never tolerate crybabies,” they write on their website.

Though the Black Lives Matter item was titled “Why You Shouldn’t Dine At The Vortex” a commenter on the BLM site wrote “The Vortex handled this immediately & with class.” 

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