Tacoma Cheesecake Factory apologizes for turning away armed law enforcement officers

The Cheesecake Factory in Tacoma.
The Cheesecake Factory in Tacoma. jbessex@gateline.com

A misunderstanding that barred six state Department of Corrections officers Tuesday from having lunch at the new Cheesecake Factory in Tacoma has been resolved.

Miriam Nichols, who has worked for DOC for three years, posted her experience to the restaurant’s Facebook page Tuesday night, complaining that she and five uniformed co-workers were refused service because three of them were carrying service weapons.

“We were told the guns are not allowed, whether you are law enforcement or not, they are not welcome,” Nichols wrote.

In typical social media fashion, outrage ensued.

Her post was shared more than 550 times, with dozens of people claiming they would boycott the restaurant, which opened Dec. 6 at the Tacoma Mall.

Several expressed outrage at the slight so soon after a Tacoma police officer was fatally shot while responding to a domestic dispute on the city’s East Side.

By Wednesday morning, the Cheesecake Factory’s corporate office reached out to the state Department of Corrections and the six involved officers to apologize and assure them that law enforcement is indeed welcome in the chain’s restaurants.

Apparently a shift manager misunderstood or miscommunicated the policy about law enforcement having service weapons on the premises.

“It was a misunderstanding, and they’re rectifying that situation,” DOC spokesman Jeremy Barclay said. “They actually support law enforcement officers being in their restaurant and having their service weapons on them.”

Just before 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nichols posted again to the Cheesecake Factory’s Facebook page to let people know the situation had been resolved.

She expressed her thanks to the restaurant “for reaching out and making it right.”

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653