In late July 2019 a San Antonio location of the restaurant chain, Fogo De Chao, made headlines when an employee of that location asked a [soft] uniformed law enforcement officer to leave because he was armed.
Fogo De Chao was quick to issue an apology to the officer and the San Antonio Police Department as the actions of that local employee were not only out of line with the company's policy but also against the law in Texas where they cannot legally refuse service to law enforcement due to their firearm status.
Well, when this kind of thing happens it gets me thinking. OK, so you are telling us that you DO allow law enforcement officers to be present and in possession of a firearm but what is your policy for us non-LEO armed citizens?
So I contacted their corporate office on July 30th, 2019 and received this statement from the corporate office:
It is our policy to respectfully request that guests, other than those in law enforcement, elect not to bring firearms into our restaurants. The restaurant prominently displays signs at the front of restaurants regarding this policy.
That seems pretty cut and dry. Fogo De Chao doesn't want me or other concealed carriers to frequent their restaurants with guns.
This is a bit heartbreaking as I lived in Brazil for 2 years and love Brazilian cuisine. I've eaten at Fogo De Chao locations in Denver, Las Vegas, and in Texas and they are one of the better chains in this category. That said they have competition and moving forward I'll be avoiding their restaurants.
Speaking of their competition, I contacted both Texas de Brazil and Rodizio Grill. Both of these are similar restaurant formats and have a lot of locations across the country. Texas de Brazil never responded to me but Rodizio Grill did send me their official gun policy which is to allow anyone legally permitted to carry (open or concealed) to do so in their restaurants. When I need my fix for Feijoada I'll be eating at Rodizio moving forward!
To be clear, concealed is concealed and you may decide to ignore the Fogo De Chao policy at your own legal peril and that is your decision to make. However, regardless of the company's ability to legally enforce their policy or not, there are too many good places to eat for me to justify giving my hard-earned money to a company that doesn't respect my decision to be an armed citizen wherever I go.