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The Red Hen

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The Red Hen
File:Logo - The Red Hen Lexington Virginia.jpg
Restaurant information
Current owner(s)Stephanie Wilkinson (co-owner)[1]
Head chefMatt Adams[2]
Pastry chefBecca Norris[2]
Food typeAmerican[3], farm-to-table[4]
Dress codeNo
Street address11 East Washington Street
Postal/ZIP Code24450
CountryUnited States
Coordinates37°47′4.3″N 79°26′28.9″W / 37.784528°N 79.441361°W / 37.784528; -79.441361
Fatal error: The format of the coordinate could not be determined. Parsing failed.

Seating capacity26[5]

The Red Hen is a farm-to-table restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, in the upper Shenandoah Valley, founded in 2008.[6]

A pioneer of the farm-to-table movement[4], The Red Hen sources key components of its menu from local game, fish, and produce, and the menu changes daily based on available resources.[4][6] The restaurant also brews its own ginger beer and bitters.[2] The restaurant, which offers vegan dishes,[3] is featured in The Virginia Table, a book by Our Local Commons.[7] The Red Hen has, in conjunction with Eftoo Farm and the Livestock Conservancy, established a local foundation breed of Dorkings (a threatened breed of chicken).[8]

Sarah Sanders refusal of service incident[edit]

On June 22, 2018, Stephanie Wilkinson, a co-owner of The Red Hen, asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was about to dine at the establishment with a small group, to leave the restaurant because Wilkinson believed that Sanders worked for an "inhumane and unethical" administration. "This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals," Wilkinson later explained to The Washington Post.[9]

Sanders tweeted about the incident the next day, saying, "Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me."[10]


The restaurant was quickly flooded with mostly one- and five-star Yelp reviews created by opponents and supporters of Wilkinson's action.[11] As of June 25, Yelp was actively monitoring the listing and cleaning up any postings that are motivated "by the news coverage itself than the reviewer's personal consumer experience with the business".[12]

On June 25, President Donald Trump tweeted about the incident, calling the restaurant filthy and in a bad need of a paint job, that should focus on exterior problems than "refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders".[13] Fortune magazine reported that the Red Hen is not part of a chain, but that, as a result of Trump's tweet, an unaffiliated District of Columbia restaurant with the same name had come under attack by conservatives, with negative Yelp reviews and denunciations on Twitter.[14][15] There were similar attacks against other unaffiliated restaurants with the same name in Swedesboro, New Jersey and Old Saybrook, Connecticut, as well as against the Olde Red Hen in Ontario and the Little Red Hen in Muntinlupa, the Philippines.[16]

Demonstrations by supporters and opponents of the Red Hen occurred outside the restaurant's location on June 26, resulting in one arrest and the closure of the street in front of the business for two hours.[17] According to associates of Wilkinson, the restaurant would remain shuttered until the first week of July.[17]

By June 27, the URL of the Red Hen website had been redirected to a site selling erectile dysfunction medication.[18] The URL continued to redirect to the malicious website as of the following day; a security specialist at Malwarebytes indicated that the redirect was likely from "scammers" seeking to "capitalize on heightened internet traffic to the website because of the headlines" rather than for political purposes.[19]


  1. Avi Selk and Sarah Murray (June 23, 2018). "The owner of the Red Hen explains why she asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Deveron Timberlake (February 14, 2018). "32 Reasons to Love Lexington". Virginia Living. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Red Hen". Trip Advisor. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Great Small Towns Near DC: Lexington". The Washingtonian. August 18, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  5. Kathryn Watson (June 23, 2018). "Sarah Sanders says she was asked to leave restaurant because she works for Trump". CBS News. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Inspired Shenandoah Cuisine". The Red Hen. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  7. "Our New Book: The Virginia Table". Our Local Commons. October 21, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  8. "#HearUsRoar: Chef Camille asks "To Breed or Not To Breed"". Staunton Creative Community Fund. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  9. "The owner of the Red Hen explains why she asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave". The Washington Post. June 25, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  10. "Sarah Sanders says she was asked to leave restaurant because she works for Trump". CBS News. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  11. "Restaurant gets Yelp-bombed for asking Sarah Sanders to leave". CNET. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  12. "Red Hen Yelp listing hit by protests". BBC News. 2018-06-25. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  13. Higgins, Tucker (2018-06-25). "Trump slams Red Hen for being 'filthy,' but Mar-a-Lago was cited 78 times in 3 years". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  14. Price, Emily (June 25, 2018). "Trump Supporters Are Attacking the Wrong Red Hen Restaurant". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  15. Morris, Chris (June 25, 2018). "Conservative Activists Call for Yelp Attack on Restaurant That Turned Away Sarah Huckabee Sanders". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  16. Gibson, Kate (June 26, 2018). "Red Hen restaurants everywhere feel ramifications of Sanders incident". cbsnews.com. CBS News. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Amy, Friedenberger (June 26, 2018). "Protesters gather outside Red Hen restaurant as owner steps down as director of Main Street Lexington". Roanoke Times. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  18. Jason, Murdock (June 27, 2018). "Has the Red Hen website been hacked?". Newsweek. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  19. Fazzini, Kate (June 28, 2018). "The Red Hen restaurant that refused to serve Sarah Sanders was hit by a cyberattack". CNBC. Retrieved July 1, 2018.

External links[edit]

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