S&M eatery closing its doors

The 2-year-old S&M Sausage & Meat, known for its provocative name, exotic game meats and the occasional animal rights protest, is closing for good this week.

The Hillcrest restaurant announced on its Facebook page news of the impending closure, just nine days after hosting its second anniversary party. The last day of service will be Wednesday.

"This restaurant was more than a brick and mortar business where food and beverage was provided, it became a community beacon for the adventurous foodie and gathering spot in an otherwise vacant strip of Park Blvd.," read the message.

While not directly referencing the periodic picketing that targeted the restaurant, the owners thanked its diners for "standing with us while others feel they could attack."

For the first month after it opened in 2014, a small group of animal-rights activists holding "Meat is Murder" signs would picket weekly. The restaurant's bacon- and sausage-laden menu, not to mention its logo depicting a hog on its back, feet in the air and an apple in the mouth, seemed to make it a lightning rod for the anti-animal cruelty crowd.

The S&M pickets, while not officially organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had the support of the national animal rights group.

Although it would not take credit for the restaurant closing, PETA said it was buoyed by the news.

"Meat pimps will soon be a thing of the past," the organization said in a statement. "It's no surprise that a restaurant serving kangaroo hotlinks and fried pig ears is going out of business, while hot new vegan burgers such as the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger are selling out in stores and restaurants all over the country."

Asked whether the occasional protests played any role at all in the restaurant's closing, co-owner Scott Slater said absolutely not. S&M in fact capitalized on the attention it got, employing some cheeky marketing.

"No way did PETA hurt the business," said Slater, who also owns Slater's 50/50, known for its half-beef, half-bacon burgers. "Whenever they showed up it was our best night."

Why? Consider the Twitter posts with the hashtag, #freebaconwhenpetashowsup.

There was also the "PETA barbecue" post that chided, "People Eating Tasty Animals. Join us as we roast a whole suckling pig."

Slater said he preferred not to comment on why a decision was made to close the restaurant.

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