A Tucson restaurant won't serve African lion tacos after all because it received "many threats on the safety of our restaurant, our families, our customers and our vendors," its owner said Monday night.
Boca Tacos and Tequila, 828 E. Speedway, planned to sell the tacos one time, Feb. 16, as the latest in its Wednesday "exotic" taco specials, which previously included frog legs, alligator and rattlesnake.
"While Boca will always take the utmost pride in offering creative and unique menu items ... we will not do so at the risk of safety for their families, customers, vendors, supporters, and friends," owner Bryan Mazon said in a news release.
In a telephone interview later Monday, Mazon said he reported threats to Tucson police "and we do have a case number." He said there were probably 20 to 25 "direct threats" and "probably hundreds" of indirect threats, many of them made on Facebook.
He also said telephone threats were called in to his family's home, after critics posted his personal information on Facebook. "I can't put my family members in any sort of harm's way," Mazon said.
Police told him to contact them with any additional threats, he said.
Mazon said he and the restaurant never received a single threat due to any other exotic meat it has served.
On the other end of the spectrum, "we probably had over 100 pre-orders" for the African lion tacos, he said, including queries about shipments around the country. Mazon said he hadn't yet ordered the lion meat he would have sold.