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White Front Breakfast House
Kyle McClellan and Bobby Hilburn say the waitress at White Front Breakfast House used a gay slur and are upset with how management handled it. (Photo: Basil John/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It started with a coffee and a water and ended in an argument.

“We asked her, ‘Can you check on our coffee?’ and she rudely said, ‘No, because you’re already being taken care of,'” Kyle McClellan said.

McClellan and Bobby Hilburn enjoy going to White Front Breakfast House in Wilmington. But they say Sunday, they got into an argument with a waitress. When they thought the argument was over, they were surprised by what she said to them.

“We’re waiting, standing there at the register for our food to come out. She walks up behind us and calls us a derogatory word for being homosexual,” McClellan said,

For them the word is a brutal reminder of their past.

“In hearing that word, it brings back so many memories of being, you know, talked about or my hiding who I was,” Hilburn said.

The restaurant’s owner says he never wanted anyone to feel discriminated against.

“We have a variety of customers. Blacks, whites, any other ethnicity. We have gay people coming here, lesbians for years, and we do not discriminate,” Yinni Ioannou, White Front Breakfast House Owner, said.

He says he is willing to apologize to them.

“They can get an apology any time they want to, you know? Because the waitresses are very apologetic all the time to the customers,” Ioannou said.

But McClellan and Hilburn say they will never go back to what was their favorite breakfast spot because they are disappointed with how the situation was handled.

“I will accept his apology, and I am grateful that he will apologize. I will accept her apology, and I’m grateful she will apologize, but honestly, I probably won’t go back,” McClellan said.

“No. I will never go back there again. Ever,” Hilburn said.

McClellan and Hilburn say they do not wish for anyone to boycott the restaurant and will just move on to a new one.

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Comment on this Story

  • Frances Simpson

    APPARENTLY WWAY IS HARD UP FOR NEWS ….

  • Heimie Schmelter

    There’s nothing “funny” about it at all. They aren’t “looking” for acceptance, they are desperately “craving and demanding” it. Regardless of what you want to believe, the overwhelming majority of people still embrace morality, believe in God and consider homosexuality and other forms of “non-conventional partnerships” to be immoral. As I said, it is what it is, it is NOT what you want it to be.
    Personally, I don’t give a rat’s backside as to what the LGBT community thinks of me and never will!
    We’re not “hilariously sad” at all, we’re all quite happy…and very serious.

  • Pamela Whitley

    My boyfriend was a regular at Whitefront for many years. I refused to go there because of an experience with one waitress years ago. She acted extremely inappropriately with him right in front of me. He still frequented the establishment but he and I always went to other restaurants where we were always treated with respect, great service, great food, and fun. He died last month and I miss him very much. All I have to say is bye bye Whitefront!

  • seeeteee

    So the owner isn’t denying it and the only thing that can happen is for the people who were called the slur to return to the restaurant to get an apology? Seriously? Does he think that means anything? What is wrong with people?

  • Betty Earl

    I like this waitress, I’ve never eaten there but I can’t wait to start going. We need more people like her.

    • seeeteee

      bigotry must be delicious.

    • Mike

      Regarding the Songbird thread on BH, usually don’t hide how arrogant and self centered you really are.

  • Chance Nottaken

    I’m going to start eating here. Thanks for the report.

  • VoiceOfReason

    Slurs – no matter directed at a religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc – are not acceptable during public discourse. They are offensive and meant to denigrate the target of the word.

    HOWEVER – if these two folks truly do not want anyone to boycott the restaurant, they why bring it to public attention? That’s disingenuous. If you don’t want other people to experience what you went through, just say so – nothing wrong with that. But to involve the local news and then say that you don’t mean for people to not go there because of it (a boycott) isn’t the truth. That serves to undermine the story of the original offense.

    • seeeteee

      it’s clear that they wanted an apology and weren’t trying to have a restaurant shut down or have people lose their jobs. it’s called class but i can see why you wouldn’t pick up on that.

  • 58thStreetSurfer

    I do not hold with “ethnic slurs, gay slurs” or any other slurs, BUT anyone can say anything about a Christian and it is open season. What is wrong for one is wrong for the other.

    • Heimie Schmelter

      Doesn’t work that way any longer. What used to be wrong is now right. What used to be right is now wrong. What used to be unacceptable is now embraced and worshipped, what used to be acceptable is now trampled on and attacked. This is the mindset and demeanor of the left winged nut-buckets and it’s ruining our society!

      • Ashwin Campbell

        You made a mistake, you meant to type right-wing.

      • guest45

        nice try but Hemie got it right, pretty sad that the left has gotten so screwed up they can’t even keep right and left straight in their mind.

      • BlackNorwegian

        What has that got to do with a waitress calling someone a deragatory name? It is unacceptable for anyone, anywhere, anytime – doesn’t matter who you are. Just ask your Mother.

      • Heimie Schmelter

        Sometimes “derogatory behavior” deserves a “derogatory response”! These two little boys had their feathers all ruffled up because they weren’t getting their way and were evidently rude to the waitress. My mother taught me manners, to always be polite and to stand up for myself when necessary, not to be a dumb stump in the corner of a room.

      • Heimie Schmelter

        Uhhh…no I didn’t. You read exactly what I wanted you to read. Read it again so that you’re clear!

      • Ashwin Campbell

        I read it again and it’s still incorrect. If anyone is responsible for the mess our country is today, it’s the right. Period!

      • Heimie Schmelter

        That’s only YOUR “period” and your so far off base, you don’t even know where the ball field is!

      • Paula Schmidt Kesler

        The proof is in the responses…good one Ashwin!

    • seeeteee

      can you name one slur against a christian that is on the same level as a racial or homophobic slur? i’ll wait…

      • 58thStreetSurfer

        I will agree the language used against blacks or gay people are “meaner” than slurs against Christians. But, the point I evidently failed to get across is no one should be subject to “hate speech” no matter what they are. I have said that to use “white trash” or trailer trash” is ptretty close to the “N” word. Mean. hateful, nasty to use any of them.

      • mike gerics

        uh…..”relig-o”

        like…weirdo…..but about religion?

        is that close?

  • JohnMyroro

    Boycott? The bigots in NC will now probably keep the place full.

    • Heimie Schmelter

      No, that’s why we allow New Englander’s to settle here, they’ll do that.

      • tdbahr

        You ALLOW New Englanders to live here. How generous of you.

  • Heimie Schmelter

    Well, you know…it is what it is. Heterosexuals are forced to be tolerant of homosexuals, but they cannot and will not EVER be forced into acceptance. Just isn’t going to happen…

  • David James Schweizer

    Sorry to hear that these men experienced bigotry at one of Wilmington’s greatest dives. I have introduced my straight and gay visiting friends to the White Front for 5 years now because of the great food and friendly atmosphere. Although a boycott was not requested, I will no longer support any establishment that condones ignorance.

  • Todd Thomas

    This is news?

    • cheese101

      I hope there was an available safe space for them to run to. Time to update the old saying “Sticks and stones my break my bones but words kill me.”

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