An Italian restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico has come under fire after it tried to have a little "fun" with the marquee out the front of the eatery over the weekend.

In what was meant to be a play on the Black Lives Matter movement, Paisano restaurant posted the sign in a somewhat misguided attempt to lure customers in to try its latest special: ahi tuna with tapenade.

Owner Rick Camuglia took a photo of the sign and posted it on the restaurant's Facebook page, where it was met with mixed reviews.

Some commenters wrote "How insensitive," "Very poor taste," and "What the hell is wrong with you people?"

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One woman, who identified herself as a person of colour called it a "hateful public display of what passes to you as humor (sic)."

Mr Camuglia also received some irate phone calls.

He told KRQE News he thought the sign was "a cute play on words."

"We didn't think anybody would be offended by that, it was not our intent to offend anybody," he said.

After the Facebook backlash, Mr Camuglia took down half of the sign and removed the Facebook post.

Though he still seems slightly miffed about the whole incident:

"I think if that offends some people, a statement about black olives, that somebody needs to re-evaluate their politically correct metre," he said.

He also posted a thank you to the restaurant's supporters on Facebook.

Thank you Albuquerque, New Mexico, and surrounding States! Since Wednesday, July 13th, we have been inundated with...

Posted by Paisano's Italian Restaurant on Friday, 15 July 2016