Restaurants Behaving Badly: Maggie Rita's Calls Houston Woman "Fat" on Facebook

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Although Maggie Rita's has now closed all but one of its Houston locations, the flagging Tex-Mex chain continues to redefine the phrase "can't win for losing." Seemingly looking to get in a parting shot...anywhere...at anyone...Maggie Rita's lashed out at a Houston woman this week on Facebook.

Amanda Newman is a northwest Houston resident who posted last Thursday on Maggie Rita's Facebook page that she was glad the restaurants were closing. "Insulting Houston before we tried your food," she wrote, "was kinda 'dee-de-deee' of you."

Maggie Rita's responded to Newman the following Tuesday with this gem: "I thought fat people were suppose [sic] to be jolly!"

A year ago, Maggie Rita's co-owner Santiago Moreno gave a now infamous interview to Eater Houston, in which he told editor Eric Sandler that "our clients are old Taco Bell clients who grew up with Taco Bell as Mexican food," with "palates [that] don't appreciate what we grew up with as Mexican food." Santiago rankled even more with his bizarre ideas of how women approach food and dining out.

"We've found out consumer decisions are made by women," Santiago told Eater Houston. "When we track what makes a woman decide where to eat Mexican food, it has to do with margaritas. It has nothing to do with food."

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Newman admits that because of that interview -- and our less than glowing cafe review last August -- she was never inclined to give Maggie Rita's a shot in the first place.

"I read that that and thought, 'Screw Maggie Rita's, and their attitude towards women,'" Newman said when reached my phone yesterday afternoon. "'We're never going there.'" She admits that she was glad, too, when she heard the chain was pulling up its stakes. And while Newman's own comment on Maggie Rita's Facebook page was harsh, she says she was surprised by the vindictiveness of the restaurant's response.

"It'd be one thing if it were from an ex-boyfriend," Newman chuckled. "But it's from a business. I must have hurt their feelings."

Check out Newman's response to Maggie Rita's fat-shaming on the next page.

Newman didn't notice the response when it came in close to 10 p.m. on Tuesday night; a friend notified her about it the next morning. Newman was as shocked at the below-the-belt fat joke as she was at the fact that Maggie Rita's hadn't deleted the comment. But she's not deleting it either. Newman says she wants people to see Maggie Rita's over the top reaction for themselves.

"I'm leaving it up there for anyone to see."

The downtown [and last extant] location of Maggie Rita's could not be reached for comment, and a Facebook message sent to the Maggie Rita's page was unanswered. We'll update this post if we hear back from the restaurant.

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