A New Mexico restaurant owner who has ignited controversy with his Trump-related menu items says he was just aiming to spark conversations.
Hanif Mohamed was not looking to insult anyone with some of the menu choices at his newly opened Urban Taqueria, but hoped to “keep the conversation going” when he named items after political phrases and some terms made popular by President Trump.
Customers at the Albuquerque eatery will find the expected tacos and burritos, but some critics are calling out Urban Taqueria for offering selections like “The Wall,” “The Immigrant” and “Lock Her Up” on its menu.
“The way things are right now. It’s not good,” customer Juan Hernandez told KOAT-TV. “We need to have respect for others and have limits.”
Patricia Perea, a professor at the University of New Mexico, warned of the dangers of “normalizing” the terms.
“It seems fun, it seems like you can make fun of this and maybe make it lighthearted, but you really can’t, you’re offending a whole community,” Perea said.
“It’s normalizing the terms and potentially turning them into funny or humorous terms, and the more that you do that, the more likely people are to repeat them and perhaps forget the contexts in which they were said,” she told KOAT.
CHIME IN: A restaurant in ABQ created a menu using terms coined by Pres. Trump such as “lock her up,” “the wall,” “fake news,” and “the immigrant.” The owner says this is a way to spark conversation— but others believe this terminology is dangerous & offensive. What do you think? pic.twitter.com/wi8NYpRTr4
— Marissa Armas (@MarissaKOAT) September 2, 2019
Others felt Mohamed, who is an immigrant, is trying to “court controversy” by using the political terms – especially those related to Trump – on the menu. Some of the taco choices sport names such as “The Democrats,” and “The Mueller.”
But the owner pushed back on the criticism.
“Ninety-nine percent of the people who walk in, more than 99 percent, don’t seem to have an issue with it,” Mohamed told KOAT. “The menu’s not designed to insult people or hurt people, but it’s just meant to keep the conversation going as to what’s happening around us.”
Many of his customers agree.
One said it was “neat” to be able to decide “which one am I in favor of today.”
“To me it’s not offensive,” Christy Garcia said. “I just think it’s interesting that they decided to be so bold with the names.”
Burrito choices at Urban Taqueria include “No Collusion” which is made up of carne asada, cilantro lime rice and black beans. Shredded beef, Mexican rice and pinto beans make up “The Wall” burrito while “Bad Hombre” referred back to Trump’s 2016 campaign when he promised to deport bad drug dealers and “bad hombres” if elected.
Urban Taqueria, which has been open for six weeks, has a staff made up of many immigrants, Mohamed told the station.
Another southwest inspired eatery, Atlanta-based Moe’s Southwest Grill which operates stores across the U.S. and even internationally, has offered menu items with interesting names for years. Although none have ventured into the overt political arena such as Mohamed’s place, Moe’s menu includes many items named after popular culture and movie references.
“Close Talker” was inspired by the television series “Seinfeld,” the “Wrong Doug” stack refers to the movie “The Hangover” and other items include the “Joey Bag o’ Donuts” burrito and the “Earmuffs” burrito bowl.
While critics let it be known that Urban Taqueria’s menu item names offended them, plenty of others thought they should “calm down” and not take everything so seriously.
Someone’s lacking a sense of humor.????
— Ron (@catman1631) September 2, 2019
I think people need to quit getting butt hurt about it and go on with their lives. If they dont like it, they dont have to go there!
— Edward smith (@Edbo0507021940) September 2, 2019
The food sounds great
— Tony Armijo (@TonyArmijo16) September 2, 2019
People need to calm down.
— Opinionated Ocelot (@ObstinateOcelot) September 2, 2019
I think the menu and the names are right on, and if you have a problem with the names……simply don’t eat there
— steven abeyta (@nitro373) September 2, 2019
People are way too sensitive. It must be very hard to be outraged by something every day of ur life.
— GC (@galexc6) September 2, 2019
The tacos are good, people need to lighten up.
— Albuquerque Worky ?? (@AlbuquerqueTurk) September 3, 2019
If you can’t see the humor and relevancy in this then you just plain want to be offended. Also you have nor concern for the owners and their livlyhood. Let the customers vote with their patriotism.
— Proud 2b an American (@2b_american) September 3, 2019
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