Vegan restaurant vows to serve bacon and beef

Hale & Hearty vegan restaurant proprietor Mark Da Costa said he'll abandon their 100% plant-based menu to serve bacon and beef burgers. Photo: Facebook/Hale & Hearty.

By ALEC SMART

A Sydney vegan cafe run by a former Australian Idol contestant has vowed it will start serving bacon and beef, after its manager, Mark Da Costa, fell out with vegan and LGBTQI customers on social media over his support for One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson and US President Donald Trump.

Da Costa attributed the cause of the acrimony to a young male student, whom he claimed lifted his pro- Hanson and Trump posts from his personal Facebook page – on which he goes by the name Marc Lima – and shared them with people in Sydney’s vegan and LGBTQI communities.

Da Costa insisted this was done to deter people from dining at his restaurant, Hale & Hearty in Bourke Street, Waterloo.

In a series of social media posts that became more combative at the end of October, Da Costa, via the Hale & Hearty Facebook and Instagram pages, quarrelled with customers and taunted the LGBTQI community, attracting national media attention.

Early this morning (Friday, 6 November), just after midnight, Da Costa posted on the social media pages that they were abandoning their focus on animal-friendly food and returning to serving bacon, eggs and beef burgers.

The post stated: “At H&H we love standing up for animals, people, but most importantly human rights. That’s why we are proud to announce that as of 16th of November we won’t be an exclusive VEGAN venue.

“We’ll serve bacon and eggs plus beef Burgers. However, we will have vegan options everywhere on our new menu. Why? Because the #sydney #vegan community are unforgiving and full of hate.”

Blame game

Da Costa blamed vegans for causing him to abandon his animal-friendly menu, which had only been in operation as 100 per cent plant-based food for four months. His post continued: “Thank you for helping us make this decision #vegans. You are the most unforgiving culture and ideology on the planet which is your downfall. Why? Because for all the animals you protect, you attack human [sic] which you turn off (not attract) from becoming plant based. Nice work vegans.”

Comments from former customers and the vegan community in Sydney were scathing of the decision, and although Da Costa then deleted the posts, they were already copied and being shared across social media.

Da Costa, who finished ninth in the 2007 series of the Australian Idol TV contest after being voted off by the public, fronted a rock covers band, The Black List, before opening the Hale & Hearty diner in 2015. It transitioned to vegan food in April 2020, relaunching as 100 per cent plant-based on 1 June after a refurbishment.

Thereafter, the diner’s social media posts became more and more concerned with animal welfare. For example, a 20 June post said “Waiting for a valid argument against veganism.” On 29 July, alongside a cartoon of a smiling pig, the words, “You are what you eat, so eat NO bacon,” appeared on the diner’s Facebook and Instagram profiles, with a plea to “allow animals to live a pain-free existence”.

Mum’s the word

The Eat No Bacon plea was also shared by Da Costa’s mother Alberta on her Facebook page.

It will be interesting to see how Da Costa’s mother reacts to the announcement her son is abandoning animal welfare. Among the many pro-Donald Trump posts on her Facebook profile, something in common with her son, are several demands slamming animal agriculture.

These include her 10 July post, in which she shared a PETA video condemning pig farming, above the caption: “Your obsession with bacon puts pigs in these putrid prisons.”

The video also includes the statement, “More than 90% of pig farming in Australia is intensive.” Above the video, Ms Da Costa wrote, “All this so we can have our bacon and eggs.”

Gay taunts resume

Mark Da Costa also returned to taunting the LGBTQI community on social media, following on from his controversial Instagram post just three days ago, in which he posted a provocative graphic of a straight road on Hale & Hearty’s Instagram page, proclaiming “We Are A Straight Sydney Safe Zone”.

The following statement appeared the Hale & Hearty Facebook page yesterday: “The abuse the gay, lesbian and vegan community have dished out at us via private messages is gross and absolutely deplorable to say the least. All this cause we were private Trump supporters. We hope you’re proud guys … People who are suppose to to [sic] kinder, more compassionate have been the most evil we have encountered in our time on earth. Shame.”

On the cafe’s Instagram page, Da Costa also claimed he’d been “spat on” by a gay man, warning it was “dangerous” for straight men to live and work in Sydney’s inner south among the LGBTQI community.

“The LGBTIQ+ need safe zones we get it. It mustn’t be easy coming out. It’s equally looking dangerous for a straight man living and owning a business in Waterloo and Surry Hills … I was spat in the face by an elderly gay man last week. Asked him why? He responded because you support Trump. Wow all the hatred for our opinion on who we were inclined to support in the American 🇺🇸Election.”

Mark Da Costa was contacted to comment for this article.

======================================

A note from the Sentinel …

The Sydney Sentinel is the progressive new publication Sydney needs. 

But launching a new media outlet isn’t cheap or easy – especially in a city where the ‘Murdochrasy’ and other corporate cabals dominate the Fourth Estate.

Unlike many media outlets, the Sentinel will never charge readers to access our content. Our content is your content. And unlike many media outlets, we will never expect our writers, photographers, illustrators and designers to work for free – for ‘experience’, ‘exposure’ or any other reason.

That’s why we’re reaching out to you to help us deliver the very best independent publication for the city we love.

So please consider helping the Sydney Sentinel by donating to our founding fund, to help us get off to a flying start: 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-the-sydney-sentinel-take-off

Thanks for your assistance.