Cafe Milano ‘Snub’ a High-Profile ‘Misunderstanding’

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Franco Nuschese, José Andrés (Twitter) and Ivanka Trump. Georgetowner graphic.

Chef José Andrés found himself barred from an after-party at Cafe Milano Saturday night, Jan. 27, following the main event of the Alfalfa Club’s annual get-together at the Capital Hilton.

Outside the Prospect Street see-and-be-seen restaurant, Andrés looked forlorn as he tweeted a shot of himself around 11 p.m. that announced: “Thank you ‪@CafeMilanoDC‬ Franco Nuschese! I was a guest of the ‪#alfalfaclubdinner2018‬ ‘everyone’ welcome to the after party, but I’m the only individual not allow in? Is because ‪@IvankaTrump‬ told you so? You should be ashamed of yourself Franco.‪ @washingtonpost‬.”

Andres was involved in a lawsuit with the Trump Organization concerning a planned restaurant that never happened at the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. He is set to open his America Eats Tavern in Georgetown.

Meanwhile, the social media reactions began to pile up — with most comments less than flattering to Trump or Cafe Milano — aghast at how the celebrity chef, entrepreneur and humanitarian Andrés was treated. The restaurant’s phone has been ringing “incessantly,” The Georgetowner learned.

However, by Sunday afternoon, all was well with Andrés, Trump and Nuschese, owner of Cafe Milano, the glitterati Italian restaurant celebrating 25 years in Georgetown.

Andrés tweeted Sunday: “Thank you ‪@IvankaTrump‬ for reaching out. I believe now that you personally had nothing to do. Let’s now work on what’s important: Immigration reform, where ‪#DACADreamers‬ and Undocumented citizens will become part of a strong USA. With secure borders. With economic growth. … Thank you ‪@CafeMilanoDC‬ and Franco for the apology. I understand was a ‘misunderstanding’. Still hard to understand why I was the only person not allowed in! Please people of ‪@washingtondc‬ keep supporting a great resturant institution. Now let’s all be friends. ‪#USAforward‬”

It was indeed a timely lesson about the digital world, as Nuschese told the Washington Post: “It’s talk before you tweet.”

At Cafe Milano, Nuschese tweeted: “@chefjoseandres, you are always welcome at @CafeMilanoDC when we are open and in fact, I will host you and toast to all your successes. I am sorry for the misunderstanding. Last night the restaurant was closed for a private Alfalfa Dinner after party… Of note, the dinner and after party are different guest lists. Also, Ivanka Trump had no role on determining event attendees. Franco.”

In addition, Cafe Milano told The Georgetowner: “It is confirmed that Mr. Andrès never entered Cafe Milano to then be brought out and denied reentry. Both Mr. Andrès and Mr. Nuschese agreed they never spoke at Cafe Milano. As noted, The Alfalfa Club Anniversary Dinner and the Café Milano After Party are completely separate events. The after party is a smaller, private event hosted by a group of sponsors who each provided a specific list of their invited guests.”

Andrés ended with “Let’s not confuse my trying to Be generous and move on, with anything else. What happened happened and I stand by my account. I’m ready to move on. ‪@washingtonpost‬ ‪@CafeMilanoDC‬ let’s talk ‪#ImmigrationReform‬ ‪@realdonaldtrump‬ ‪#DACADreamers‬.” And that was, apparently, that.

For online commenters, the show continued for a little longer with calls of complicity by the restaurant, favored by Democrats over the years, with the Trump administration and the GOP agenda — and “#boycott CafeMilano.” Amid the vitriol, one commenter chimed in with a suggestion to the restaurant: “How about extending an olive branch and making a heartfelt donation to World Central Kitchen?”

Meanwhile, the business review site Yelp.com is announcing on top of its webpage for Cafe Milano: “This business is being monitored by Yelp’s Support team for content related to media reports.”

Further explaining its action concerning a so-called backlash, Yelp added: “Active Cleanup Alert —This business recently made waves in the news, which often means that people come to this page to post their views on the news.

“While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business.

“As a result, your posts to this page may be removed as part of our cleanup process beginning Monday, January 29, 2018, but you should feel free to post your thoughts about the recent media coverage for this business on Yelp Talk at any time.”

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