Gary Cucumber's restaurant on Stephen Avenue, Calgary. It is the subject of the segregation complaint of this news story.

CALGARY, Alberta – A Winnipeg couple has come forward after a dining experience at the Stephen Avenue location of the wildly popular Gary Cucumber’s restaurant chain in downtown Calgary.  Dixie Normous and her husband Willie Cummingsloe have accused the restaurant of practicing segregated seating.

Last Friday, the couple made a reservation at the restaurant as part of Cummingsloe’s birthday celebration.

“We see the host in the front, we give him the name and he said, ‘OK, we are ready for you to be seated’ and he starts jotting things down,” Normous said.

Once the couple was seated for dinner, Normous said she couldn’t ignore the segregation of the patrons in the restaurant.

Dixie Normous (R) and Willie Cummingsloe.

“I take a quick inventory of the area where we were seated and I right away noticed they people here were all particularly unattractive with that sort of – how do I say this politely? – very homely slash nerdy look. If the people around me weren’t playing Sudoko while waiting for their food, they seemed to be mesmerized by the HVAC system in the open-ceiling concept of that part of the establishment. I looked towards the front of the restaurant and saw what appeared to be normal, happy, good-looking people having fun, and that’s where we wanted to be,” said Normous, who decided to snap some photos to document the incident.

“My husband goes what’s wrong? And I go, ‘I think we’re in the engineering section,’ and he goes, ‘No way'” Normous said.

Cummingsloe said once his wife brought it to his attention, they began discussing what they should do. “There were no engineers in the front of the restaurant,” she continued.

The Calgary-based Gary Cucumber’s issued an apology on social media. Normous said a member of the restaurant chain called her and the couple was given $2000 worth of restaurant gift cards as reparation for subjecting them to such a horrible dining experience.

“I appreciate that they would take the time to reach out to me because I didn’t expect them to reach out at all,” Normous said.

2P News contacted Gary Cucumber’s for comment on the incident and a spokesperson provided this statement:

Mr. Jack Goff, Gary Cucumber’s spokesman

“We understand that 2 valued guests felt unwelcome when they recently dined at Gary’s restaurant in Calgary, and for that we sincerely apologize. We investigated the circumstances and here’s what happened: the host noticed what appeared to be a silver ring on the pinky finger of one of the guests, so we assumed she was an engineer. We typically put these types of patrons in the back where they tend to cause less trouble as they maximize value on our “Endless fries” and “bottomless Soda Pop” nights. Trust me when I tell you that it’s better that we keep all of those people together, out of the way of regular, fun-loving, good looking people. But to think that we put 2 normal people back there with the androids… err.. engineers, just makes me sick to my stomach. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.” – Jack Goff

However, Dixie Normous said she is unsure if the restaurant’s response goes far enough after others reached out to her sharing similar experiences. Since I posted my experience on social media, more and more people have come forth and it’s not subjected to just our experience anymore. So while I appreciate them reaching out and investigating out situation, I think we all know that more has to be done. “I don’t think an ‘unofficial’ engineering section is enough, perhaps the real solution is to have engineer-only restaurants where those asshats scan in with their super-special, magical, iron rings,” said Normous.


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