Real Estate

Mobile restaurant thrust into political fray as Fox & Friends comes calling

Spot of Tea, 310 Dauphin St. in Mobile, Ala., will host Fox & Friends on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. (John Sharp/jsharp@al.com).

Spot of Tea has been a downtown Mobile flagship restaurant for more than two decades, and its owner says that it receives "tremendous support" from the city’s LGTB and black community.

But after announcing that it would host the popular conservative cable TV show, Fox & Friends, on Tuesday, the eatery received an intense backlash via social media.

"You are proud of this? Embarrassing." The first commenter wrote under the restaurant’s Facebook announcement.

"We will no longer support your business," wrote another.

Another commenter added, "It makes me very sad to say this, because I have always loved Spot of Tea, but I can no longer patronize you. Hosting a dishonest media outlet like Fox on such an important day in our city and state, is irresponsible."

"I knew we would get a lot of blow back from all sides," said Tony Moore, the longtime owner of the restaurant located on Dauphin Street adjacent to Cathedral Square. "And we have. We have had about a thousand comments on this event, and for the first time ever, I see folks saying they will never eat with us again."

Moore said he’s "apolitical" — he doesn’t vote in elections, nor does he closely follow politics on TV or online. "Of course, I have views but only my son knows what they are. I keep mine close to the vest because I don’t want to offend anyone."

The family-owned restaurant was approached last week by a producer with Fox & Friends about hosting a live show on Tuesday, the day of Alabama’s special Senate election. The tightly contested race, covered by national and international media outlets, pits Republican Roy Moore against Democrat Doug Jones.

Tony Moore, no relation to the GOP nominee, said Fox & Friends considered approaching a restaurant in Birmingham. But the Fox & Friends team, he was told, enjoyed Mobile and Spot of Tea so much during a previous visit that it preferred to return.

The show played host to Fox & Friends earlier this year when President Donald Trump was considering then-Sen. Jeff Sessions for the attorney general’s job.

Moore did acknowledge some early trepidation about Tuesday’s broadcast. "This is one of the most talked about and highly controversial elections since the presidency. I hesitated getting involved," he said. But, he continued, "After further reflection and consideration, I decided this would give the great citizens of Mobile an opportunity to have their voices heard on live TV, to the world, unedited."

Moore said that had the restaurant been approached by a "left" leaning news outlet, "we would have welcomed them into the Spot."

MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," a left-leaning ratings rival to Fox & Friends, will broadcast live at Car Bar No. 7 at Lane Parke in Mountain Brook.

"I know that once the storm blows over, all will be well," said Moore. "It’s a very hot button issue right now at the front of people’s minds but eventually things will return to normal."

He said, "My hope is that during this event, we will show the world our hospitality, generosity, diversity and opinions in a civil manner."

Moore said the public is invited to the Fox & Friends broadcast, which will start around 4 a.m. and continue through the morning. Other media outlets are expected to be reporting from Cathedral Square on Tuesday, including FM Talk 106.5 in Mobile.

Roy Moore, left, and Doug Jones. (AL.com file photos)

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