DC restaurant changing controversial policy after complaints of racial discrimination

The owner of the popular Alero restaurant on U Street NW is changing policy after complaints of racial discrimination.

Earlier this year, the restaurant began holding customers’ IDs and credit cards in an attempt to stop people from walking off without paying.

Some people of color say they were asked to give their cards when other tables were not.

One post was shared more than 2,000 times on Facebook and a man who agreed to speak to FOX 5 on condition of anonymity said during a recent trip to the restaurant, “Our waiter came over and... as he was taking our order he asked me for both my ID and my bank card. I asked a few patrons who were to the side of me, who were Caucasian, they ended up stating that they still had their card and they weren’t asked for it at all. I asked him for my card back and left right after that.”

Owner Victor Martinez tells FOX 5 he has only been made aware of the initial Facebook post so far. 

"I truly, truly apologize," said Martinez. "I hate that happened in my place. I’d like to meet her in person and say this is the person that I am."

The menus have a line explaining that customers must have a valid ID and credit card. Martinez says he’s considering adding a line explaining that the cards will be held.

He’s stopped the policy altogether for now but is planning to put a new version in place in the near future.

Martinez says he’s also working with the D.C. Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture on how to best address the issue.