The meat-free California-based Café Gratitude is widely known as one of the most popular vegan hotspots on the West Coast, with nods of approval from celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow. What happens when the café’s owners, Matthew and Terces Engelhart, begin opening up about their transition to a meatier lifestyle after 40 years of vegetarianism, and actually begin raising and slaughtering their own animals? They get plenty of online protests and death threats.
Ever since the couple first announced their new commitment to ethically raising and slaughtering animals at their Be Love farm last year, there have been online attacks and in-person protests.
"People have taken up the mob mentality," Matthew told Hollywood Reporter. "It saddens me that the choices we made in the privacy of our home would lead people to feel so betrayed that it's elevated to threats on our lives. I'm very discouraged."
Café Gratitude, with multiple locations in Los Angeles, as well as the San Francisco-based Gracias Madre, are known for unique, vegetable-based dishes that place emphasis on well-being and animal welfare.
"The reason we're so upset is that veganism is a belief system," Carrie Christianson, who started the Facebook boycott group said. "You are patronizing a restaurant that you think has that philosophy, and it turns out it doesn't. Vegans should know that this restaurant has a farm that slaughters animals."