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Aretha Franklin denied a table: Franklin disrespected at Niagara Falls eatery

Singer Aretha Franklin attends the 30th Annual Night Of Stars presented by The Fashion Group International at Cipriani Wall Street on October 22, 2013 in New York City.
Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

If Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, wants to eat her takeout inside of the restaurant, by golly, show the 18-time Grammy Award crooner some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Instead, an eatery in Niagara Falls, Canada told the 72-year-old Franklin to take her takeout and get out. Now Franklin is speaking out about her boorish server.

Reports The Buffalo News on July 26: “Aretha Franklin said she was denied seating at the Johnny Rockets in the food court area of Fallsview Casino Resort after ordering takeout food.” Franklin had just performed a sold-out show at ArtPark in Lewiston, New York, and crossed over the border to chow down at one of her favorite restaurants.

Franklin tells us what happened: “Over the years I have always enjoyed a burger and cherry Coke and the choreographed dance by waiters and waitresses at Johnny Rockets,” Franklin said, explaining that she ordered the food to go, but then decided to sit at an empty table with her nephew to eat inside.

“You can’t sit here because you ordered for takeout,” said the Johnny Rockets server, according to Franklin. “The woman was very rude, unprofessional and nasty – certainly not the appropriate face for Johnny Rockets. No one should be addressed this way, whether a celebrity or not. I told her she can eat and pay for my meal, and left.”

Franklin, the first female inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, even told the nasty server that she changed her mind and would prefer to eat in, but the waitress incredulously told Franklin that since she already “rang it up as a takeout order,” she couldn’t stay. She even advised Franklin to get out of the dining area and stand in a roped off “perimeter section” and wait for her food to go.

Ms. Franklin, ever debonair, didn’t name drop herself – her nephew did, but the loutish server said she “didn’t care who she is.”

A Johnny Rockets spokeswoman issued a statement to the media, apologizing to Franklin and calling their server “new and very young.” Franklin however said the worker appeared to be in her mid 30s.

Franklin’s message in return: “This experience in Niagara Falls will not stop my enjoyment of burgers and cherry Cokes, and talking to the classy and friendly people at Johnny Rockets – but not that one.”

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