Houston restaurant owner apologizes for controversial photo with attorney general Jeff Sessions

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Restaurant's photo with Jeff Sessions ignites social media storm
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The owner of El Tiempo Cantina is apologizing following the social media storm over a photo with the attorney general.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston restaurant is receiving major backlash after hosting Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

On Friday, El Tiempo Cantina posted a picture of Sessions enjoying a meal at the Montrose restaurant.

Sessions, who was in Houston addressing a meeting of federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials about the crackdown on violent crime and illegal immigration, visited the restaurant after his speech.

The post from his visit instantly had many customers commenting and complaining about the restaurant's actions.

"I felt like it was a slap to the community that supports the restaurant and that backs up the restaurant and that works for the restaurant," Houston resident, Gilma Aguirre said.

"I think it's great," El Tiempo Cantina customer, Carol Fallin said. "I think we should serve our people and honor them for helping us with the government. I don't have any problems."

El Tiempo Cantina owner Roland Laurenzo told ABC13 he had no idea Sessions was coming for dinner.

Laurenzo added that it was his social media team who chose the photo and language without consulting management.

"I certainly regret it because it's inaccurate in terms of the totality of what we would be thinking," Laurenzo said.

Since its publication, all social media accounts of the Tex-Mex restaurant have been deactivated.

"People are insulting us in such a dramatic fashion, and we feel like we don't deserve it," Laurenzo said. "At least temporarily I had it taken down because I don't want to be insulted, my children to be insulted, my family to be insulted."

Eyewitness News is working to obtain a response from the Attorney General's Office.

The attorney general visited another Mexican restaurant in Houston as well earlier this week.