MIAMI – An old picture with an image of Fidel Castro has come back to haunt Nusret Gökçe, better known as Turkish butcher SaltBae.
Gökçe is famous for his precision with the knife and stylish sprinkling. His 9.7 million followers on Instagram didn't mind the post until he opened Nusr-et Steakhouse at 999 Brickell Ave., formerly Coya Miami.
Jocelyn Almeyda is among the local Cuban-Americans who have vowed to never set foot in his restaurant.
"Communist sympathizers not welcome," Almeyda wrote on Instagram.
Although he has a loud social media voice, Gökçe didn't post an apology or an explanation. Instead, he reintroduced himself to Miami with a childhood picture and his compelling rags to riches story.
The caption: "Graduated from elementary in 1994 when I was 13 years old. Due to financial issues, I had to quit school and started working as a butcher's apprentice. Worked 18-20 hours each and every day. I never requested even $1 from my father."
The chef, whose social media posts are mostly apolitical, runs 12 steakhouses worldwide including in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He opened his first in his native Turkey in 2009. He is also getting ready to open a restaurant in New York City.
Opening a steakhouse in Havana would be next to impossible unless there was a special arrangement with the state-run butcher shops. Beef is so scarce on the Communist island that there is a black market for it.
"Some people just don't think! To post pics like this and then open a restaurant in Miami. Really? I just called and canceled two reservations ... Had reservations for dad's birthday lunch and a birthday dinner for me," Andres Asion wrote on Facebook. "I can't take my dad there now."