CRISP restaurant owners rise above hate-filled letter

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – What might have been just another business day for the owners of one of Rochester’s newest restaurants has been tainted by a hate-filled, homophobic letter.

It comes during Gay Pride Month, and a time when hate appears all too common. But the owners of CRISP Rochester Restaurant located on South Clinton Avenue are rising above it.

The anonymous letter arrived in the mail earlier on Thursday, and it was accompanied by a Bible as well.

"I don’t know. We opened it up, and read it out loud to the staff. They were appalled," said restaurant Owner and General Manager Wendi Loyet.

Both she and her wife Valerie received this letter simply addressed, "Dear lesbian co-owners." It continues, "Please don’t throw this book in the garbage can. It cost me some important money to mail it to you. Your gay lifestyle is evil."

"Well it’s not really my first hate letter in my lifetime so I wasn’t really worried, or anything like that," said Loyet. She continued, "It didn’t make me feel fearful, or anything like that."

The writer of the letter even instructed the couple to read certain pages from the Bible. Including page 347, where it talks about "Who will go to hell?"

"I think it’s really sad for them. Whatever church they go to is really a sad place. I think if they’re preaching so much hate when in my understanding of the Bible it’s mostly about love and understanding, and not judging people," said Loyet.

She and Valerie posted the hate letter on their social media page.

"It’s a shame that in 2022 this is something they’re still doing. So it’s aggravating, but it’s also sad. It’s actually mostly sad," said Brighton resident patron Francis Kayiwa.

Rochester resident and patron Lauren Arsenault added, "It’s a minority perspective, and we can’t, you know we need to focus on the positive. It’s a wonderful establishment, and it’s really amazing that it’s owned, you know lesbian-owned. That is like a beautiful thing."

The couple employs a diverse staff and does not discriminate over sexual orientation.

"Most of our staff live here in the South Wedge. We’re thrilled to be here in the South Wedge, and there’s been so much welcoming and diversity here. So it was really surprising, and disappointing," said Loyet

As far as customers are concerned, in the two months since they’ve been opened they don’t remember any disgruntled customers.

"I don’t know. Who knows, hopefully they won’t come in again," said Loyet.

She went on to say that they will file a report with Rochester Police.