Keisha Lance Bottoms was turned away from Capital Grille for ‘wearing leggings’

Keisha Lance Bottoms served one term as the Mayor of Atlanta. She did not seek reelection last year, and she completed her term in January of this year. She currently works as a CNN commentator, plus President Biden appointed her to the vice chair of civic engagement and voter protection at the DNC. She still resides in Atlanta, and last Friday, she went to Capital Grille to have lunch. Only she was turned away at the door because she was wearing leggings.

Some people – white women – pointed out that Capital Grille (a chain restaurant) has a “dress code” which excludes tank tops and gym attire. To which other people pointed out that this dress code is never enforced when it comes to white women customers wearing tanks, leggings, yoga pants or gym-like gear. Even Mayor Bottoms pointed out that she saw other people in similar-ish clothing:

Again, no one is saying that a restaurant cannot have a dress code, but if a place has a dress code, they better enforce that sh-t with every single person, not just Black folks. It absolutely looks like this is a major f–k up from Capital Grille’s management.

Photos courtesy of Instar, Instagram.

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63 Responses to “Keisha Lance Bottoms was turned away from Capital Grille for ‘wearing leggings’”

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  1. Amy Bee says:

    A dress code…hmm.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      But that dress code apparently allowed the blonde to dine without pants, OR skirt, obviously!!! (The blonde on the far right.)

      Since when was dining at a mall restaurant considered fine dining?

      • Colby says:

        Small (but IMO worth saying) note: The woman on the right isn’t wearing sheer tights as I’ve seen people saying- they’re shiny leggings reflecting the light. I have what looks like the exact same pair from Alo Yoga.

        That being said, they’re still clearly athletic leggings so she should have been turned away as well.

      • AmyB says:

        Capital Grille is fairly fine dining – higher end menu, mostly everything is a la carte, extensive wine list. Yes, many of their restaurants can be found in malls, but I would say Capital Grille is considered fine dining. I worked in fine dining for almost 25 years in Philadelphia (not there), so I am quite familiar with the concept.

        Now, that being said, they have every right to have a dress code, BUT, enforce it with every guest. This whole thing is a joke!!

      • Carol says:

        Maybe the pics of the white ladies were taken before Grille had that dress restriction? I mean I can see why they would put that restriction after seeing those pics. That lady on the right doesn’t even look like she wearing pants!

      • Yup, Me says:

        The blonde in the unfortunate leggings appears to also be wearing her pajama top. Nothing about her outfit suggests “I am prepared for a fine dining experience.”

  2. North of Boston says:

    I can’t with racist idiots these days. I’m all full up. And of course SM has the receipts that Capital Grille is selectively applying these rules to only “certain” people.

    Whoever kicked her out can go pull up a lawn chair and sit on the sidewalk next to the school committee folks policing natural hair and that bro-dude from RI who thinks he gets to police what random women choose to wear.

    • Catlady says:

      Capital Grille is owned by Darden Restaurants which has a long history of wage theft and racial discrimination. The fish rots from the head.

      • Mads says:

        Okay then.
        Note to self, Never Eat At Capital Grille Ever!
        Off to google Darden Restaurants to see what other restaurants to boycott. Who is waiting with me to see their response to this eye roll inducing, obvious racism?

      • AMA1977 says:

        Darden is infamous in the industry for taking successful small chains and independent concepts and riding the goodwill of the name into the ground until just a dry husk of a formerly great/good restaurant remains. They introduce “commissary kitchen” food prep and pre-cut ingredients to replace from-scratch in-house whole-food cooking, incentivize management to understaff in order to bonus, and require ever-increasing profits while saturating markets with same-concept and similar price-point units. They do not care about their hourly employees or really their salaried management, and they ABSOLUTELY do not care about any part of their guests beyond their wallets. They are evil.

        Some of their greatest hits are Red Lobster and Olive Garden, so that’s about where Capital Grille will be in 3-5 years (or less.) Have a dress code (although I am also laughing at a mall restaurant instituting a dress code against leggings as I sit here in jeans at my professional office job…the pandemic changed that $hit and women are NOT going back!!) but institute it fairly and uniformly.

  3. HufflepuffLizLemon says:

    I want to know who is seating people and doesn’t know the former Mayor. This may have been racist (probably is) but it’s also just bad business. If you’re going to consider yourself upscale dining (which, the Capitol Grille is fine but I have other preferences), you probably ought to ensure your team knows the local dignitaries lol. (Stacey Abrams better not get turned away from Pampas or Rathbun’s is what I’m saying, you know?)

    • Saltyshores says:

      tbh, i’d not have recognized her outside of the context i ususally see her in…heck, not every one is even aware of who she is. Regardless….zero reasons to not seat her!!!

      • HufflepuffLizLemon says:

        I guess that’s kind of my point though. You might not, and I might not, but the hostess should if they’re going to try to be “high end.” Using that term loosely of course.
        Of course, they could just NOT and wouldn’t be currently dealing with this mess.

    • TheOriginalMia says:

      Yes, they should have known. Same thing happened to Dominique Wilkins in Buckhead. He was turned away for casual attire. Only for receipts to be found showing their selectivity in enforcing their rules. Yes, they are local celebs who should have been recognized, but also…it is racist because they aren’t applying the same standards to white customers.

      • HufflepuffLizLemon says:

        Agreed, IMO it’s all of the options: racist, bad business because it’s racist, and bad business because you don’t want to tick off local people with a platform. Like, just a plethora of bad rolled up into one.

    • Tessa says:

      That’s such a weird argument to me. Don’t we condemn people throwing their privilege around, like the royal family or Reese Witherspoon? But then we also think that restaurants should be at attention in case a celebrity shows up? Personally, I’d hold it AGAINST a business if they bend rules for famous customers. I wouldn’t consider it a sign of upscale service, I’d consider it a sign of gross pandering.
      I mean, this case does not seem to be about rule-following, but to fault them for not recognizing a famous face, of all the things, is a strange plan of attack.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        Pandering to arrogant, classist people who like throwing their privilege around/feeling special is the only reason a restaurant would have a dress code this strict in the first place though. Racism often seems to come with that mentality. There’s no legitimate or even pretend functional reason for it like adhering to laws on nudity, identifying employees, cleanliness, or preparing kids for the workplace.

      • Christine says:

        Perfectly said, Otaku.

        It’s a chain restaurant, until they want to exclude someone, and suddenly it’s an issue. Nope.

        This feels very Chick-fil-A, to me. Because it is.

  4. Busyann says:

    I used to live near Perimeter Mall and would eat there from time to time. It’s definitely in a more upscale area of Atlanta, but not so much where you would be turned away for wearing leggings. Everyone up there does. That’s like a unwritten uniform…clingy long sleeve tee covering your butt, big scarf, black boots, and tight leggings.

    I left Atlanta before Keisha became Mayor so I don’t know how people feel about her. It could be the area holds a grudge against her for something – I wouldn’t be surprised. More likely though, they were just being racist…which I wouldn’t be surprised of either. Could be a mix of both.

    • MissMarirose says:

      You really are doing the most to cape for a racist chain restaurant. Ask yourself why that is.
      Really reflect upon why you feel the need to come up with a bunch of excuses to deny the obvious.

    • It’sJustBlanche says:

      I live north of ATL. She’s well-respected. There was no reason for her to think she wouldn’t be reelected, she just got tired of the garbage, rightfully so.

  5. Gizmo’sMa says:

    Dress codes are used to keep black/brown people out of establishments for decades. Dress codes are also used to remind black/brown people of their ‘place’. Don’t want them to get to all uppity now thinking they can eat at so called fancy and/or expensive restaurants. Not that Capital Grille is either of them.

    I glad I don’t need to stop going there bc my tastebuds have been boycotting their bland ass food for years.

  6. Cindy says:

    I’m a white Buckhead lady, and the only restaurants that enforce this strict of a dress code for lunch in Atlanta are Le Bilboquet and maybe Le Colonial. And they enforce it for everyone. Capital Grille in Dunwoody?! Um, no. She is right to be upset.

    FYI my girlfriends got turned away at Bilboquet last Thursday for yoga pants (I’d told them not to bother trying). Pro tip: if you want fancy cocktails in yoga pants in ATL then St Regis patio is where it’s at.

  7. T3PO says:

    I use to work in an office building right at the Perimeter Mall. It is 100% mall attire on most everyone. I’d go at lunch to get chair massages. They had some fancy stores but Dunwoody is pretty basic suburbs. Lenox mall seemed fancier to me.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That’s what’s so weird about all of this, Perimeter Mall is your standard ordinary suburban mall. My god, they think a lot of themselves! And there’s just no getting around their obvious racism; that ‘dress code’ exists to exclude those (i.e., POC) they want to exclude.

  8. kirk says:

    Nice to know that as a white woman I too could be allowed into a “classy” chain mall restaurant wearing a print button-down with sheer black leggings while recognizable black women are excluded. Mmmm can taste the $$$ privilege even if it’s not Buckhead loc.

    • Songs (Or It Didn't Happen) says:

      If you’re talking about the woman in the picture, try to keep in mind that said picture was pulled randomly from the internet and she has absolutely nothing to do with the situation at hand.

  9. Particule says:

    “Some people – white women – pointed out that Capital Grille (a chain restaurant) has a ‘dress code’” … Kristen Holloway is black.

    • DiegoInSF says:

      I noticed that too, let’s see if it’s corrected lol

      • Green Desert says:

        Yeah, you guys are missing the point @particule and @diegoinsf. As if most of the comments about this defending the Capital Grille aren’t from white people. 🙄

      • DiegoInSF says:

        I’m not missing ANYTHING, I’m not white, think this low rent restaurant was wrong and literally the link saying it’s someone white bringing up the dress code is someone NOT white.

  10. Songs (Or It Didn't Happen) says:

    It seems like there are two locations, one in Atlanta proper and then one in Dunwoody. She would have been at the Dunwoody location where Perimeter Mall is. The Atlanta location is the one getting review bombed though.

  11. Chaine says:

    I live in the south and every time I see a dining establishment or club has a “dress code” it’s pretty much a given that it is a pretext to keep out black or Latino people.

    • Colby says:

      Yep. When I was living in Dallas a bunch of sports bars got in trouble for selectively enforcing their dress code (which btw they never posted anywhere so they could literally make it up to keep black people out)

    • ANON says:

      Yup. I’m glad these clowns are getting called out.

  12. AC says:

    Live in Atlanta, and she was my mayor. Love her! That dress code is to keep folks they don’t want in their restaurants. Also, a couple of years ago, they wouldn’t let a former basketball player (Dominique Wilkins) into a restaurant because he had on Nike’s. It didn’t matter that a man and his date were sitting in there with gym attire on or if everyone in the city knows him. It’s ridiculous!

  13. ChillinginDC says:

    Capital Grille is a freaking chain. Come on. Dress code? LMAO

  14. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon says:

    I went to the Capitol Grille in Philadelphia with a friend, who is white, and she wore leggings and we were not turned away.

  15. AmyB says:

    I have been to the Capital Grille near me (Cherry Hill NJ) and in Philadelphia. Dress code my ASS!!! Unbelievable, truly!!!

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s the one nearest me too, and I bet on any given day there’s multiple women in leggings in there. Especially at lunch!

      • Agreatreckoning says:

        More like especially after their morning workout. I’m glad Keisha called out and hope they suffer financial loss across the country. Don’t like the idea of waitstaff suffering for their bs.

  16. It’sJustBlanche says:

    Complete garbage. It’s a restaurant in a just-okay mall (the better shopping is about 5 miles away) in a town that is fairly casual and as someone posted above, that ‘look” is basically a uniform around here. Of course it was racism.

    ATL has NO style. If you see a well dressed woman or someone who is on trend, it’s almost surprising and to be blunt, she’s almost always Black. White women around here all wear the same thing—Tory burch sandals, jeans, beachy waves, stupid shirt that may or may not say something. And I’m saying this as a white woman.

  17. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    So glad I’m not near there. I’d have to pay some high schooler to 3M tape a million pairs of leggings everywhere.

  18. Moo says:

    I’ve had dinner at the Capital Grill in Naples Florida in denim shorts & flip flops.They happily waltzed me and hubs into the dining room without so much as a raised eyebrow.That was pretty much the same reception we received at the Capital Grilles in Philly,Ft.Lauderdale,and Burlington MA.
    I smell a boycott coming soon.

  19. Nicole says:

    Bullet dodged. Capital Grille is terrible and overpriced.

  20. Lemons says:

    Why enforce a dress code during lunch hours at a mall chain restaurant? Management needs to rethink its location and what they are there for.

  21. Luna17 says:

    How TF can a restaurant in this day and age have a no leggings policy? All I wear are leggings lol and everyone around me wears them. We are a casual country who wears spandex all the time now! So dumb! I assume Atlanta is pretty casual in general too. I’m from the Midwest and live in the southwest now and no one dresses up for anything, maybe they do more on the east coast but come on, a mall restaurant in Atlanta? So ridiculous!

  22. Jaded says:

    I hope legions of women show up in leggings protesting this bullshite. What a despicable thing to do to a great lady.

  23. Moira's Rose's Garden says:

    Love her. And I’m calling bs on the “dress code.” Fortunately, I’m a vegetarian and a pretty decent cook, so there is no need for me to eat at any of their restaurants.

    Here’s the list of what they own for anyone interested in not supporting racist corporations:
    Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s.

  24. lawyergal says:

    This is ridiculous and racist. I’ve eaten at Capital Grille without a bra and in gym shorts (yes, at the same time, and yes, you probably should be judging me – IDK why but I really like their dirty martini and frankly if I’m there it’s because I’m having one at lunchtime on a random day off so I’m not getting dressed up) at probably a half dozen of their locations. There’s literally no enforcement of any dress code there for people who aren’t black.

    Guess I gotta find a new place with a good dirty martini.

  25. Otaku fairy says:

    Imagine being so entitled, so fragile, and so unaccustomed to any real hardship that you feel you’ve made it to a certain ‘level’ in life where you must be able to suck down caviar burgers or whatever without witnessing sweatpants or leggings. Sheesh.

  26. anniefannie says:

    Glad I read this post in time for me to cancel me reservations on the 19th.
    Was happy to tell the receptionist why!
    She was quick to tell me they weren’t aware of the incident and I responded by telling her I’d bet they’ll be hearing from a lot of people. I really hope that’s true…

    • Eggbert says:

      That’s so great of you! Maybe I’ll make reservation and then call to cancel 😂

  27. Eggbert says:

    Oh. Hell. Naw.

  28. Imara219 says:

    All my pants are leggings. I would never be allowed in a restaurant like Capital Grille 😄

  29. Mia Pandora says:

    WTF is mall attire?

    • SomeChick says:

      according to Kanye it’s how Pete Davidson dresses. lol.

      surely you’ve been to a mall… people dress very casually. leggings galore.

      • Mia Pandora says:

        People who dress like that are called slobs who just can’t be bothered. I don’t go to malls as they are full of recreational shoppers, that’s people with nothing better to do than wandering around shops all day usually dragging crying kids along with them.

  30. Kelsey says:

    Of course it was racism. These “dress codes” are always selectively enforced based on who is wearing what and targeted towards Black people.

    There is ZERO chance they throw out a white woman in leggings or tell her she can’t dine there.

    White people all over Twitter saying how they basically dressed like slobs and weren’t kicked out of the Capital Grille.

    Again. Yes it was racism and people denying it have their heads stuck up their nether regions.