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Update: Staff At Mexican Restaurant In Echo Park Accused of Telling Two Men Kissing ‘You Guys Can’t Do That Here’

12:00 PM PST on December 15, 2022

El Compadre Echo Park

Local actor and comedian, Drew Droege, accused an employee at El Compadre’s Echo Park location of reprimanding him “for kissing another man,” Droege revealed on Instagram.

According to Droege, he and a date were in the middle of their second drink, embracing and kissing, when an El Compadre employee that Droege identified as “a manager” approached them and “said something to [the] effect of ‘you guys can’t do that here.’”

“This is a family restaurant,” the manager allegedly told the couple. When Droege asked if someone had complained, the manager responded by throwing their arms up and saying, “I don’t care if you’re the President of the United States. We don’t allow your behavior here.” Droege and his companion got up and left in shock.

Up until then, the food and service had been “great.” “I will never be back [and] I encourage you to find another place too,” he said a day later. “The chilling and pointed tone of “we’re a family restaurant” had a lasting impact on Doege.

“Ever wonder why gay people often seem nervous?” The comedian wrote to his 23,000 followers. “Why do we walk faster? Why do we work so hard to please others and be good little citizens in this world?”

The pair didn’t let the homophobic comments ruin their night, though. “After this happened to us, we went outside and made out in their parking lot,” Droege said on IG.

El Compadre is an old-school family-owned Mexican restaurant dating back to the 1970s. They started in Hollywood but, in 2004, expanded to an Echo Park location on Sunset Blvd, not far from Dodgers Stadium. In a statement posted on their Instagram page that has since been taken down, the restaurant said: “We have read all of your comments and concerns, and we are looking into what happened Monday night at our Echo Park location. While we work to learn more, we want to make it clear we stand with the LGBTQ community and hold no space for intolerance, hate or unjust treatment of our beloved guests regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, or status. We were built off of the core value to do everything with love, and we will do what it takes to continue to warmly welcome any and every guest into a safe community. Please give us time to seek out what happened, gather more information, and take appropriate action. We will update you soon. We love you and thank you for your patience while we work through correcting this.”

L.A TACO reached out to the family that owns El Compadre this afternoon but has not heard back as of publishing.


Update on 12/15: After deleting their initial Instagram post below, El Compadre Restaurant has posted the following statement addressing the incident:

"We want to sincerely apologize for the actions of our manager the night of December 12th. This is not representative of our core values at El Compadre, and we wanted to let our customers know that the manager has been terminated. We have been in business for almost 50 years, and we accept, appreciate and value every customer that walks through our doors, and this behavior will never be tolerated in our establishment. We take pride in the diversity of our customers who have supported and enjoyed our family recipes handed down from generation to generation - and we are ashamed that this happened. We do believe El Compadre to be a family restaurant, and coming into our restaurant is like coming into our home. In our home, we believe in love and equality, and the fact that one of our employees made someone feel unsafe is not acceptable to us. We deeply regret how our manager handled this situation. We are dedicated to showing our commitment to all of our customers regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, or status."

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