Cafe owner sparks social media firestorm after demanding gluten-free diners provide doctor's note

They mince garlic and onion at the White Moose Café, but they don’t mince words.

Having previously thrown more than a few F-bombs at vegans, breastfeeding moms and other visitors, the Dublin, Ireland, eatery has put out the not-very-welcome sign for another group of patrons it would like to see less of.

Welcome to the club, gluten-free diners.

On Saturday, White Moose owner Paul Stenson posted the following warning on his café’s Facebook page:


This morning a girl asked us if we did gluten-free pancakes and when we asked her if she was a coeliac, she didn’t even know what the word meant and then proceeded to order regular, gluten-rich pancakes anyway. From now on, guests who demand gluten-free food are required to produce a doctor’s note which states that you suffer from coeliac disease. Guests following a gluten-free fad, who don’t even know what gluten is, can cop the f--- on and eat regular food like everybody else.

Cue the outrage. Among the 9,894-and-counting comments to the post Tuesday morning, there were just a handful without four-letter words, including:

"Next time I am in Dublin I will avoid your cafe like the plague, what obnoxious, uneducated ignorant fools you are," wrote one Facebook commenter.

“There's such thing as a gluten intolerance & IBS.. You don't have to be coeliac to be gluten free, when did you's become doctors? Idiots," said another.

Another outraged poster wrote,“I'm not celiac but allergic to wheat. My throat closes up and I can't breathe. Being able to order gluten-free is literally a life saver. Your ignorance as to the reasons for gluten-free diets only make you look stupid.”

Of course, those are the kind of comments Stenson cries out for. This, after all, is the guy who posted only a year ago:


Please do not waltz into our cafe with no advance notice and look at us as if we have ten heads when you realise that there aren't 50,000 items on our menu that suit your idiosyncratic dietary requirements. Our chef will be more than happy to prepare a number of dishes for you, but a little heads up in advance of your visit would be appreciated. Fair is fair like.

Stenson let that dish simmer for a while, before following up with:


Given the torrent of abuse and unjustified negative reviews we have been receiving from the vegan population over the past 24 hours, all vegans are now barred from our café. Any vegans attempting to enter the café will be shot dead at point blank range.

While we wouldn't usually kill any of our customers, as you say yourselves "meat is murder", so it's fair game if we murder humans as well as animals. There is clearly no difference.

We look forward to never welcoming you vegans to our café ever again.

Even moms with newborn babies are not exempt from the wrath of the White Moose. Here’s the café’s policy on breastfeeding:


Following a recent customer query, we would like to advise all patrons that breastfeeding is allowed in The White Moose Café. However, female guests who choose to give children their own milk, as opposed to ours, shall incur a corkage charge of €5.

We trust you understand our position.

So it’s hardly surprising that Paulie’s latest group of annoying customers is “Coeliacs,” for whom he wrote a follow-up the morning after his original post:

Dear Coeliacs,

Quite a number of you are saying that yesterday's post "must be a joke" and that I couldn't possibly be serious about asking people for doctor's notes. Let me assure you that it was not a joke and I am deadly serious. Just as serious as I was when I said I'd charge a corkage fee for breastfeeding mothers, or when I threatened to give Valium to screaming babies, or even when I promised to shoot vegans dead at point blank range. In case you haven't noticed, all posts on this page are deadly serious and it is imperative that you take them literally.

So, whether you're a genuine coeliac or you simply suffer from the psychological disorder known as gluten intolerance AKA lets-make-it-up-as-we-go-along syndrome, please remember that I'd never joke on this page. Never ever.


For the record, “Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine,” according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. “When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists other complications of eating gluten, including gluten ataxia, dermatitis herpetiformis and wheat allergy, “which may affect the skin, gastrointestinal tract, or respiratory system.” Kent State University supervisors reported such a noticeable rise in gluten-sensitive students, that it just opened what it says is the country's first entirely gluten-free dining hall. 

And, yes, Paulie, there also are those for whom gluten-free is just the latest food fad. If it’s good enough for Oprah and Gwyneth, it’s good enough for me.

So if you’re upset at the White Moose Café’s gluten-free policy, you’ll be glad to know it has offered this heartfelt apology:

“We are giving away free bandages for anyone whose feelings have been hurt over the past day or two. The bandages come in different sizes depending on how much of a f---ing idiot you are.”