Lodi Ice Cream Shop Owner Says City Planner Asked Him to Paint Over Giant ‘EAT ME’ Mural

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LODI — The co-owner of the newly-opened House of Ice Cream in Lodi says the city planner has asked him to paint over a large mural on the side of the building.

It features white text over a black background and reads, “EAT ME.”

“I thought it was funny, I just joked about it,” one customer said. “I didn’t think anything bad about it, I just thought it was hilarious. Maybe they were going to add more to it.”

But not everyone finds it so sweet. Rod Tyler, one of the owners, says the city planner had a chilly response.

“When the city planner came in yesterday,” Tyler said. “First time I even heard anything good or bad.”

Across the alley from the mural sits Heritage Elementary School. A spokesperson for the Lodi Unified School District says at least two parents have complained about the mural.

Tyler says his daughter attends the school.

“I wasn’t like, ‘How can I screw up Lodi? How can I mess up these kids’ lives?’ I wasn’t thinking of that,” Tyler said.

Tyler says the mural has been there for three months, the shop has been open for two weeks and the first complaint about it came Tuesday.

The city planner told FOX40 over the phone the sign violates the city’s municipal code. The city manager’s office stated the owners of the shop did not apply for the proper permit to display the “sign.”

Tyler says he was told the sign is too big.

He plans to paint over it.

“I didn’t put no heart into putting it up, so it’s not gonna be an emotional decision to take it down,” he told FOX40.

He says all he wants to do is serve sweet treats.

“Ice cream is my destiny,” Tyler said. “So like, any adversity that happens is not like it’s gonna change my trajectory.”

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