Among the U.S. restaurants that have been boycotted in the past year are a Houston’s in Atlanta, where three African-American women were allegedly assaulted by an off-duty policeman; a Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston, owned by a man who wrote on Facebook that he was honored to serve dinner to attorney general Jeff Sessions, and a Southern brunch specialist in Dallas that pledged to support gun regulations.

Now, in the wake of Normandy Farm owner Mike Ray being charged with indecent exposure, some Charleston area restaurant owners and bakery patrons are wrestling with whether they should pursue a similar course here. The question of whether wholesale and retail customers have a moral responsibility to shift their support to bakeries that aren’t associated with a sex crime, or a neighborly obligation to lift up Normandy Farm’s employees following a difficult episode, has been a constant topic on social media since Ray surrendered.

Restaurateurs tend to oppose boycotts as a rule, arguing they harm employees who weren’t involved in the alleged wrongdoing.

Neighborhood Dining Group president David Howard relies on that reasoning to explain why Husk didn’t immediately sever ties with Normandy Farm: “We are concerned for the fine Normandy employees that have provided services to us for years who are now being negatively impacted by these real-life challenges brought on by its leader and his personal actions,” he said.

According to Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research, most boycotts don’t have much bearing on sales revenue, in part because the most enthusiastic boycotters may not have been buying the boycotted product in the first place. Still, the notion of withholding business remains difficult for some restaurateurs to stomach, especially when they have longstanding relationships with the targeted company.

“In no way are we condoning Mike’s actions that night or how he mishandled the aftermath, but we do believe that Mike deserves a chance to make some good come from this,” said Jacques Larson of Wild Olive and The Obstinate Daughter, whose home is a seven-minute walk away from Normandy Farm’s Windemere location.

“Mike is the father of three beautiful children; husband to a very strong and loving woman and employs a multitude of good people that depend on a paycheck each week,” Larson continued. “I know many of them. Our restaurants are hoping that Mike takes this opportunity to learn and grow through inner reflection and outward help.”

But a vocal minority of food-and-beverage professionals has publicly advocated a boycott strategy, saying it’s high time for their colleagues to take an economic stand against sexual violence. In Charleston, though, the few industry members who have openly endorsed no longer buying bread from Normandy Farm have been roundly berated online for overreacting.

Perhaps because it’s considered so politically perilous to call out a fellow member of the hospitality community, a number of restaurants contacted by The Post and Courier to discuss how they’re dealing with the Normandy Farm situation didn’t respond to a request for comment. Only Hall Management Group and The Indigo Road acknowledged cancelling business with the bakery.

Altogether, The Post and Courier surveyed 50 leading Charleston restaurants to find out whose bread they’re serving. While the poll was conducted because of reader interest in a list of known Normandy Farm customers, those restaurants that responded all reported that not a single customer had asked about bread sourcing since the start of the Ray investigation.

So it’s possible that community sentiment lies with the restaurant owners and friends of Ray who are fundamentally opposed to a boycott. Or maybe most local bread fans are just ready to move on. But for those who are still considering how to respond to the incident involving Ray, the following list outlines where select restaurants have landed.

167 Raw

The restaurant did not respond to The Post and Courier’s request for comment.

Butcher & Bee/The Daily

All of the breads served at Butcher & Bee and both locations of The Daily are produced in-house.

Charleston Grill

All of the breads served at Charleston Grill are produced in-house.

Chubby Fish

Other than the EVO rolls which hold its fried oysters, Chubby Fish buys bread from independent baker Brandon McDaniels. “We had initially ordered sourdough bread from Tiller Baking Co. and Normandy Farm, but transitioned to Brandon once he was able to keep his production quantities consistent for us,” chef James London says in a statement provided by the restaurant’s PR firm. “We will always strive to ensure a diverse, safe and welcoming environment for our employees and guests." 

Circa 1886

All of the breads served at Circa 1886 are produced in-house.

Cru Café/Purlieu

A publicist for the restaurant confirmed she’d received The Post and Courier’s questions, but was not able to provide a response on deadline.

The Darling Oyster Bar

The Darling buys its bread from Brown's Court Bakery.

Edmund’s Oast/Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company

The restaurant did not respond to The Post and Courier’s request for comment.

FIG/The Ordinary

The restaurant did not respond to The Post and Courier’s request for comment.

The Glass Onion

The Glass Onion buys its bread from EVO, with the exception of the loaf for its po’-boy, which comes from Leidenheimer. “I wouldn't be comfortable calling it a po’-boy on any other bread,” owner Chris Stewart says.

The Grocery

Since opening seven years ago, The Grocery has bought bread from Brown’s Court Bakery.

Hall Management Group (Halls Chophouse, High Cotton, SNOB)

Normandy Farm breads have surfaced over the years at Halls and SNOB, but never at High Cotton, according to executive chef Matthew Niessner. Halls and SNOB have also purchased bread from Brown’s Court Bakery, but a new in-house baker is now making many of the items that the restaurant group previously outsourced. “As a company, we have discontinued Normandy Farms services,” Niessner says.

Hominy Grill

The restaurant did not respond to The Post and Courier’s request for comment.

Hospitality Management Group, Inc. (Blossom, Magnolias)

“We have no comment on this issue,” HGMI spokeswoman Mary Forlano wrote in response to questions.

Indigo Road (The Macintosh, Indaco, Oak Steakhouse)

Other than Indaco’s focaccia, which is made in house, most of the breads served at The Macintosh, Indaco and Oak Steakhouse are sourced from Brown’s Court Bakery. The lone exception is the brioche used in The Macintosh’s bread pudding, which comes from Normandy Farm. “After learning of the incident, they began sourcing new vendors and should have a new vendor in place by the end of the week,” spokeswoman Mary Reynolds says.

Lucca/Coda del Pesca

Both restaurants buy bread from New York City’s Tribeca Oven.

Millers All Day

Millers makes some bread in house, and also buys bread from Saffron Bakery.

Neighborhood Dining Group (Husk, McCrady’s, Minero)

Minero doesn’t buy any bread; McCrady’s buys bread from Tiller Baking Co. and Husk has been buying bread from Normandy Farm for eight years. Normandy Farm also currently supplies pretzel rolls to McCrady’s Tavern, although the restaurant for months has been planning to shift that order to Tiller.

At Husk, president David Howard says, “alternate sourcing partners” are now being researched.  “We are carefully considering the impact of canceling our orders and the effect on Normandy Farms employees,” he says.

Neighbourhood (Little Jack’s Tavern, Leon’s Oyster Shop, Melfi’s)

All three restaurants in the Neighbourhood portfolio have purchased bread from Brown’s Court Bakery since opening. Little Jack’s Tavern also regularly bought bread from Pane di Vita prior to its recent closure; owner Brooks Reitz adds, “We’ve done some business with EVO as well, but never Normandy Farms.”

Owens Dining Group (Opal, Langdon’s, Wood & Grain)

The restaurant group did not respond to The Post and Courier’s request for comment.

The Obstinate Daughter/Wild Olive

After buying bread from Normandy Farm for eight years, Wild Olive in 2016 switched to Root Baking Co. on the strength of a managerial vote. It now buys bread from Tiller, Root Baking Co.’s successor.

Forced to find a replacement for the suddenly shuttered Pane di Vita, The Obstinate Daughter this fall selected Normandy Farm in a blind taste test. Chef Jacques Larson says he plans to stick with the decision.

The Pinot Group (Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, Pawpaw, Stars Rooftop Bar & Grill Room)

“We do not wish to comment at this time regarding this situation,” Pinot Group spokeswoman Heather Greene wrote in response to questions.

Poogan’s Porch/Poogan’s Smokehouse

Spokeswoman Laura Graff says neither Poogan’s Porch nor Poogan’s Smokehouse buys bread from a local bakery.

Rodney Scott’s BBQ

Rodney Scott’s BBQ buys its bread from Martin’s, a Pennsylvania company.

The Shellmore

The restaurant did not respond to The Post and Courier’s request for comment.

Tradd’s/Fleet Landing

A publicist for the restaurant confirmed she’d received The Post and Courier’s questions, but was not able to provide a response on deadline.

Tu/Xiao Bao Biscuit

All of the breads served at Tu and Xiao Bao Biscuit are produced in-house.

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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