Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Vegan Cafe Owner Appears With Trump, Assails Migrants

Trump vows to eat at cafe, though he's not 'into that vegan stuff.' It opened under Biden.

By - May 1st, 2024 05:08 pm
Site of Gray Jett Cafe, 1617 W. Wells St. Photo taken Aug. 21, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of Gray Jett Cafe, 1617 W. Wells St. Photo taken Aug. 21, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

A Milwaukee business owner joined former President Donald Trump on stage Wednesday to assail ‘migrants’ and President Joe Biden during a campaign stop in Waukesha County.

Shana Gray, the co-owner of Gray Jett Cafe, a vegan restaurant on the Marquette University campus, joined Trump on stage at the Waukesha County Exposition Center.

Trump vowed to visit the restaurant, 1617 W. Wells St., during the Republican National Convention.

“It’s supposed to be really good. I’m not into the vegan stuff I must say, but I’m going to have to try this. When we come here in a short period of time, into Milwaukee, we’re going to come and try that vegan food. I don’t know if I’m going to like it,” said Trump.

He then claimed Gray and her cafe did better when he was in office.

“Shana says her business is being brutalized by the soaring cost of food. She’s never seen anything like it. And right now she says things just aren’t working. She was doing great three and a half years ago, she was doing better than she ever did. ‘During the Trump years,’ she said, ‘I was able to afford things. I wasn’t worried about my future. I am now,” said Trump.

Except that Gray’s restaurant on Wells St. opened in August 2023, more than two years after Trump left office.

In a 2023 interview, Gray told Urban Milwaukee that she met her then-fiance Andren Jett during the COVID-19 pandemic and launched the business a year later. They initially made pop-up appearances throughout the city before opening the cafe, which she now operates as a sole proprietorship.

A limited liability company, Gray Jett Enterprises, was organized in November 2021 and dissolved in November 2023.

On Wednesday, she told Urban Milwaukee said she first launched the business as a side project without registering it.

“It is very important that we change what is going on now. None of us can continue what is going with the Biden administration,” said Gray after taking the stage. “We need Trump in 2024, so make sure you vote Trump in 2024.”

In an April 24 interview with Fox News, Gray said she wasn’t sure which candidate would be best for the economy, but expressed concern with price increases that she said couldn’t pass onto customers. “Things have to change. I’m not sure who the best candidate is to do that,” said Gray.

Biden, during a December 2023 visit to Milwaukee, promoted Black business owners like Gray. “So many of you had the vision and took the risk to open businesses — you bet on yourself,” Biden said, addressing a crowd largely comprised of local business owners at the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce. “You’re proof that Black small businesses, with their talent and integrity and ingenuity, are the engines and the glue that hold the community together. I mean that sincerely.”

Critical of Migrants

In remarks before Trump arrived at the event, Gray was critical of migrants.

“What I’ve seen in this administration is quite terrifying,” said Gray. She said inflation was negatively impacting her business. “I’m terrified if I will be able to keep operating under this administration.”

She then told a story of an individual coming into her restaurant and paying for food.

“Just recently I had a migrant come into my cafe that recently passed through the borders and paid for their food with one of the prepaid cards they were given,” said Gray. “How is that as a slap in the face as a proud American who worked hard, just like each one of you? And to be affected by the food costs, utility costs, to have someone just come and just willy nilly pay for their food, in my cafe, with prepaid dollars that was funded by us.”

But Gray, according to federal court records, has received her own prepaid food.

She has filed for bankruptcy three times in the past decade and reported receiving Food Share benefits in the most recent filing.

Gray, in an interview, acknowledged receiving the benefits, but said there is a difference: she is a U.S. citizen. “I have worked since I was 16,” said Gray, 45. “I paid into the system.”

She said she learned the individual was a migrant because they volunteered the information. Gray said the individual had traveled to Milwaukee from Chicago and Los Angeles.

“To continue to do the same thing we are doing in this current administration is complete insanity,” said Gray on stage, before giving the wrong date for the election. “November 4, let’s make that change. Let’s put Trump in office.”

Gray Jett Cafe is open Wednesday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. “It’s a roller coaster,” said Gray of the business climate and her experience.

Before Trump took the stage, several individuals sought to rally the crowd to vote for Trump. Speakers included MyPillow founder and election conspiracy promoter Michael Lindell, Republican Party of Wisconsin chairman Brian Schimming, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow and Kettle Moraine school board member Amy Richards.

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Categories: Food & Drink, Politics

17 thoughts on “Milwaukee Vegan Cafe Owner Appears With Trump, Assails Migrants”

  1. JE Brown says:

    Hardly a ringing endorsement for either the candidate or the cafe.

  2. lobk says:

    Does anyone involved in any way with Trump not lie??

  3. snowbeer says:

    What exactly the Trump plan to curb post pandemic inflation to lower levels than the USA’s already lowest amongst developed nations? It’s unfortunate people think there is an easy button to make Kroger et al lower prices and plumbers lower their profit margins back to pre pandemic levels and all they have to do is vote for Trump.

  4. says:

    TIME TO BOYCOTT JETT CAFE–we don’t need another racist in Milwaukee–especially on a university campus.

  5. tomsabourin says:

    The place opened in August of 2023.

  6. Mingus says:

    Another self promoter trying to attach herself to Trump-sad! Sort of a restaurant version of Mike Liddell whose statements do not reflect the reality of what has happened. The great Milwaukee reputation that Milwaukee has would not exist If it was not for the many former migrants working in area restaurants and often opening up their own.

  7. julia o'connor says:

    Food cost is high when you don’t have people to harvest

  8. says:

    What a sorry excuse for a “local supporter” with a story (read lie) to tell at Agent Orange’s neo-fascist rally. This tool should be ashamed, but I’m sure she’s been promised 30 pieces of silver to sell her soul. Grift on, Ms. Gray, grift on.

  9. TosaGramps1315 says:

    That’s right, folks! Frump is gonna bring down the cost of food! HALLELUJAH!!! You know, the food that is produced, distributed and sold at grocery stores that are owned by huge corporations that don’t have a care in the world about their own profits. Yeah, those guys. 😂😂😂
    And those corporations are gonna get huge tax breaks from Frump, so that their profits can go even higher, while you and I (and even right-wing restaurant owners) continue to pay and pay and pay.

  10. tmaloney6 says:

    So the racist, twice impeached, sexual assaulter, serial liar, misogynist, porn star humper, wife cheater, business fraudster, and wannabe dictator is going to try vegan? I hope he lands in jail and never returns. He’s a disgrace to humanity.

  11. samcarmen says:

    So, if people think inflation is bad now and that Trumpster is the answer, just wait till he deports or locks up 12 million and then there’s nobody to work in the slaughter houses, harvest the crops or take care of your landscaping.
    Think maybe the cost of goods and services might go up? Oh, and how about those restaurants that can’t find enough workers right now. Maybe dining out gets a “little” more expensive. He’s got great plans for the return of manufacturing and getting inflation under control, haven’t you heard? Neither have I.

  12. TosaGramps1315 says:

    To samcarmen:

    The GOP-ers have the answer to the work shortages. Hire kids!!! No work permits required!!!
    And his plan on getting inflation under control is RAISE TARRIFFS!!!
    There’s no down-side to either of those plans. Nope. No siree, Not one thing.

  13. TosaGramps1315 says:

    To tmaloney6:

    His claim that he will try vegan might be the biggest lie he’s ever told.
    The only way he’s going to “try vegan” is to cheat on his wife with a woman that is vegan.

  14. kenyatta2009 says:

    she is lying

  15. Joseph Wiesner says:

    “The place opened in August of 2023.”

    Over-under on how soon it closes? I think it fails by August. Everything Trump touches dies.

  16. mcsc319 says:

    Is she related to Joe the plumber?

  17. PVS49 says:

    One pathological liar supporting another. They speak the same language. All lies!

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