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Restaurants

Restaurant sign with well-endowed bull offends locals

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Residents find Barista's Restaurant new sign featuring a well-endowed bull offensive. (Kimberly Scott, St. George News)

A Utah restaurant is cooking some controversy after installing an "offensive" sign featuring a well-endowed bull.

“But you know what, where does it say in the world, in the Constitution, that they can prevent me having the right to do legal commerce in the United States? That is my God-given right.”

The sign, installed last week at Barista’s Restaurant in Hurricane, Utah, is located across the street from Hurricane High School and prompted swift reaction from locals who claim the bull's genitalia is inappropriate and "offensive."

“It looks terrible,” Hurricane City resident Denise Mackelprang told Utah's St. George news. “I could see the bull, but not the details of the sex. It’s R-rated to me, especially with young school kids seeing it and talking about it.”

But Stephen Ward, the owner of Barista’s Restaurant, says that Hurricane residents aren’t really offended by the sign—they just have a problem with him.

“If I put Pinocchio up there, its nose would be too big. It’s me. It’s me. It’s not the bull. It’s not the restaurant. They don’t like me,” Ward told St. George news. “But you know what, where does it say in the world, in the Constitution, that they can prevent me having the right to do legal commerce in the United States? That is my God-given right.”

Ward also says he took the appropriate approval steps for the sign by Hurricane City before installation. Hurricane City Planning Director Toni Foran confirmed that the sign had received approval but admitted the two dimensional rendering may not have had the same realistic impact as the fully installed animal.

“We saw a depiction on a piece of paper probably about three inches tall that, you know, may not have had exactly the same proportions,” Foran told St. George news.

Outraged Hurricane City residents have started a petition, urging the city council to refuse Barista’s business license renewal, but that may not happen until next January and has over 550 signatures so far.  Hurricane's total population is just under 14,000 residents. 

“It's [Barista’s] owner is a terrible representation of what our community stands for. He takes advantage of every person that walks into his restaurant,” reads the petition. “They intentionally take excessive advantage of those that are visiting our community from other parts of the world.”

"i think what he has done is wrong and very offensive," petition supporter Randee Nielson wrote. 

But Ward says he will not back down quietly.

“They’ve picked a fight with the wrong guy ‘cause I’ve had it with their freakin’ abuse and violating my amendment rights,” Barista’s owner stated.