The following story was published in French in the Quebec newspaper, La Presse
Translation by Sassy with much thanks. The translator suspects the restaurant in the story is in Montreal.
It was December 7th. Suzanne A. was delighted to introduce her family to this great little restaurant. She’d been there at least ten times. As a family, it was going to be their first time. For Danielle’s birthday party, her little sister, it was perfect.
For lunchtime, they were a party of eight including Suzanne’s siblings and their respective spouses.
Because the restaurant is a “Bring your own wine”, they also brought four bottles of wine.
It was also a “Bring your own cake” that day: When Suzanne made the reservation two weeks earlier, the owner agreed that they would bring their own cake for Danielle’s party.
Suzanne is therefore among the first to arrive. It’s the owner’s wife who welcomes them. She recognizes the owner, who is vacuuming the floor.
The guests arrive little by little. “Please open the bottles”, someone says, at the table…
The owner’s wife, who wears the hijab, opens the bottles. But she warns the group: At half-past noon, I’m going to have to take the bottles and glasses away from you…
Consternation at Suzanne’s table: Take away the wine, but why?
The owner’s wife explains: “There is a very religious Muslim group that made a reservation, they do not want any wine in the restaurant …”
“She was nervous, she felt bad,” Suzanne recalls.
The group rebelled, there was no question of accepting such a diktat. They tried to parley (to no avail), to have the owner explain (“unavailable”, replied his wife) and to offer compromises (putting the bottles on the floor), nothing helped.