DENVER - The son of the owners of a popular Mexican restaurant in Denver says they've been getting hate calls and fake orders since news broke that they would not allow Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to make a campaign stop at their business.
Oscar Aguirre, the oldest son of the owners of Rosa Linda Mexican Cafe told 7NEWS he's even received death threats.
"One person who called said 'Watch your back. We know where live and we're going after you,' " Aguirre said.
He said many callers believe Rosa Linda refused to serve Romney because of a story in Westword that said Romney "wasn't invited" to eat at the restaurant.
"That's not true," he said. "We just didn't want our business used as a campaign stop."
Aguirre, who is Mormon and whose parents are Mormon, was contacted on Aug. 6 about a possible campaign stop by Romney.
"It was presented to us that (Romney) wanted to do a political stump here. (He wanted to) talk about our small business (and) because we share our religious views with the candidate and are Latinos it would be great for him to do a campaign stop," Aguire said. "We did say 'no' because we are not Republicans, nor are we Democrats. We will welcome any sitting President of the United States. But, we did not want to be a campaign stop."
The family members are not Republicans but they are not Democrats, either. Aguirre said they are Independents.
In addition to death threats, Aguirre said the family-run restaurant has had to deal with canceled orders and reservations.
"Two people ordered $150 worth of food for lunch to be picked up today. They called later and said, 'Oh, you're the one who doesn't want Romney in your business' and they canceled their orders, even though the food had been prepared," he told 7NEWS.
Aguirre also has numerous reservations made through Open Table, an online reservation service.
"We have to pay Open Tables for every reservation made and must hold those tables," Aguirre said. "None of them showed up."
"Since the Westword article came out, hate mail has been coming in from people across the country -- people sending us death threats and people calling us telling us we are racist -- that they hope we go out of business," he said.
Aguirre said if Rosa Linda's goes out of business, their annual Thanksgiving Feast to the needy would end.
"Last year, we fed 5,500 free meals. This year, we may serve above 6,000 free meals. Please let the American public know that we are not racist or bigots. We are just a working family wanting to help our community and our country by serving those in need," he said, adding, "Please stop the hate."
The Denver restaurant has been in business for 25 years at 2005 W. 33rd Ave.