Read the original article by Joe Warmington at canoe.com here.
Animal rights protesters went hunting to stop the serving of wild meat but in the end it was them who got gamed.
“Rather than bow to the vicious online backlash, organizer Marni Jill Ugar is leading another protest tonight at Antler,” said the news release.
Toronto Police even had five officers on hand.
Two dozen protesters, some with TV screens showing video footage of wild animals being slaughtered, lined the sidewalk in front of the restaurant with their placards with slogans like “Animals lives are not ours to take.”
The media were there, ready and waiting. The stage was set for a showdown.
It turned out to be a giant dud.
Antler Kitchen & Bar at 1454 Dundas St. W., near Dufferin St., was busier than it has ever been.
The place was so jammed, even people with reservations couldn’t get in to enjoy chef Michael Hunter’s tasty entrees.
“He is busy,” Ugar said of the irony. “We had communicated about sitting down and doing a menu change, but all this publicity put him on the map — he now hasn’t responded.”
Why would he? The more protests, the more customers!
Not only will Crusted Rack of Deer, Game Burgers and Wild Boar Lumpia stay on the menu, he may need to source even more of it.
Oops. Seems the animal rights crowd may have missed their target or even shot themselves in the foot?
Thanks to Hunter carving a deer leg to combat his critics, the place has become world famous.
Wanting to take his girlfriend out to the wildest place in town, Max Gong decided on Antler.
It was date night for the 25-year-old Bay Streeter and his architectural student girlfriend, Justine Wu, 23.
“I wanted to take her some place special,” he said. This special place had cameras, police and protesters out front.
“No one bothered us when we went in,” said Max. And inside “they treated us great.”
But how about the controversial food?
“It was fantastic,” said Wu. “I ordered the Game Burger, which is a combination of bison and deer and boar. It was delicious.”
Gong had the venison.
“I always wanted to try deer,” he said. “The whole meal was terrific.”
The curtains were drawn but diners were aware of what was going on outside.
“It didn’t bother us much, but I don’t think it’s fair these people are out there,” said Gong. “It’s trying to stop a little business. There are a lot of other places that serve meat. I don’t understand.”
There are First Nations and ethnic stores, markets and eateries that also delve into wild meats, so why always this guy?
“This has nothing to do with First Nations,” said Ugar.
Co-organizer Jenny McQueen said it had everything to do with “speciesism.”
That was a new word for me.
“It’s like racism or sexism,” said McQueen, who feels eating animals is akin to participating in those kinds of unacceptable practices.
But counter protester Nicole Van Delden said what’s unacceptable is what the protesters were doing.
She was holding a sign that read: “Self righteus (sic) pricks.” That it was spelled incorrectly, she said, had more to do with the cold and her spontaneously preparing it.
It got some laughs from those driving by yelling for the protesters to “go home.”
But it also got some biting comments: “This woman is wearing a wolf around her neck,” one protester said, commenting on Van Delden’s winter coat.
“It’s coyote,” she responded. “There’s nothing wrong with it.”
Who’s wrong, she said, are the protesters “harassing a small business.”
By the number of people in for a wild meal at Antler, it clearly isn’t working.