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Buffalo Wild Wings Patron Had a Swastika Tattoo, Known for Racist Jokes

Naperville police report reveals more details about October’s incident

The brick exterior of a Buffalo Wild Wing.
Naperville’s Buffalo Wild Wing has been the subject of controversy.
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

New details have emerged related to last month’s incident at a suburban Chicago Buffalo Wild Wings when a large party of African-American and mixed race diners were told that two already seated white customers didn’t want to eat near them. A Naperville police report obtained by the Naperville Sun and the Daily Herald reveals that one of the white customers central to the episode had a swastika tattoo and staff had heard him make racist comments at the restaurant in the past. The man would also occasionally return food served by non-white employees, according to law enforcement.

Last week, Buffalo Wild Wings corporate fired two employees at the suburban Naperville location who were involved in the exchange and banned the tattooed man. An account of the incident — which happened on October 26 at 2555 W. 75th Street in Naperville, about an hour drive from Chicago — posted to social media went viral.

The white customers in question, a man and woman, didn’t say anything directly to the party, according to police. The restaurant’s employees took it upon themselves to tell the group to move because of the man’s racist history, police added. He was a regular at the restaurant for two or three years, visiting to watch hockey and college football, according to police.

On a visit to the Naperville restaurant on November 8, African-American athletes featured on its 40 TVs were the only people with dark skin. Business was sparse during lunch time. Two Naperville police officers were sitting inside to keep the peace just in case. According to media reports, news of the incident apparently led to hundreds of threatening phone calls.

The newly released police report redacted the names of those involved. But added that when the group was asked to move to give them more space, most of the dining room was empty. An employee blamed the incident on miscommunication, according to police.