BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new restaurant that opened in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore is getting a lot of attention, but not for its food.
Choptank, operated by the Atlas Restaurant Group, is getting criticism about the posted dress code outside its new location on South Broadway — some even calling it racist. The restaurant has since updated its dress code.
A tweet posted by J.D. Giordano shows the dress code prohibits excessively baggy clothing, offensive, vulgar or inappropriate attire, athletic attire, jerseys (unless its Ravens or Orioles game day), brimless headgear, backward or sideways hats, work and construction boots, and sunglasses after dark.
It also said anyone under 21 is not allowed after 10 p.m., no backpacks or bookbags, electronic smoking devices or outside food and beverage.
Dress CODED sign at the new Choptank restaurant in Fells…🧐 pic.twitter.com/uy058w0ka0
— J. M. Giordano photo (@jmgpix) September 15, 2019
The Choptank said on Twitter it was just following a dress code already established at several Fells Point eateries:
“Being new to the Fells Point neighborhood, we simply implemented the dress code standard that is used by several other properties in the area including Barcocina, Bond Street Social Moby’s and The Horse You Came In On,” Choptank tweeted.
Being new to the Fells Point neighborhood, we simply implemented the dress code standard that is used by several other properties in the area including Barcocina, Bond Street Social Moby’s and The Horse You Came In On. Have a great day.
— The Choptank (@The_Choptank) September 16, 2019
The Washington Post reported however that a host at Barcoccina said there’s no such policy there and there’s no dress code at Bond Street on weekdays, but after 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, it does have a stricter dress code.
The Atlas Restaurant Groups several other restaurants in the city including 11 other restaurants like The Elk Room, Bygone, Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar — all of which have some dress code.
But some people believe the dress code targets people of color.
“I dunno, prohibiting outside food and beverage seems reasonable. The rest is racist though,” John Bratt tweeted.
“Just say we don’t want POCs and have done with it,” another person tweeted.
Baltimore based writer R. Eric Thomas said he was blocked after asking Choptank about its dress code. They later unblocked.
Well this is… professional. Earlier today I took issue with blatantly discriminatory dress code at a new Baltimore eatery called @The_Choptank and asked them to explain the rationale behind the restrictions (seen here in a pic by @jmgpix). Instead of answering, they blocked me! pic.twitter.com/nEg1Bas97V
— R. Eric Thomas (@oureric) September 16, 2019
But others on Twitter said the dress code isn’t racist, it’s just something to keep the environment classier.
“I think it’s an awesome policy, they want well dressed customers. I’ll be coming to visit this establishment soon.” Mike tweeted.
“I think its great! A restaurant that wants to be classy, whats wrong with that? I’d eat there in a second. I hope the food is worthy,” said another Twitter user.
“I find it interesting that people assume this was directed at any one particular ethnicity! Minorities aren’t the only ones who wear the listed items. However, at last check, restaurants have a right to set a dress code for the sake of ambiance in their establishment,” said Brian K. Taylor.
So what do you think? Is this dress code going too far?