A Mexican restaurant with a menu offering tacos and burritos called “The Immigrant,” “Lock Her Up,” and “The Wall” is courting controversy.
Urban Taqueria, which opened six weeks ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico, sells Mexican food with newsworthy names. Burritos include “No Collusion” (carne asada, cilantro lime rice, black beans) and “The Stormy” (carne adovada, Mexican rice, and pinto beans), and “Fake News,” which is a chipotle chicken taco.
Locals had some things to say about the menu. “I think he’s purposefully trying to court controversy,” a man told news station KOAT Action News.
“To me, it’s not offensive,” a woman told the station. “I just think it’s interesting that they decided to be so bold with the names.”
Owner Hanif Mohamed tells Yahoo Lifestyle that while the menu isn’t new — he offered the same dishes at his former restaurant — it’s now spurring chatter.
“When I created the menu two-and-half-years ago, we had the ban on Muslims,” Mohamed, a native of Kenya who immigrated to the United States in 1992, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “My kids asked me, ‘Are we American or Muslim?’” The menu, he decided, covered all subject matter.
The offerings are not meant to insult his customers, says Mohamed. In fact, he says they're a “conversation starter” and educational by nature.
“Outsourced,” a taco with tandoori chicken, raita, tamarind salsa, alludes to the U.S. practice of outsourcing jobs to India, while “The Immigrant,” a vegan taco with organic green chile and fried potatoes, represents Irish refugees fleeing the Potato Famine in the 1800s.
But Patricia Perea, a professor at the University of New Mexico, who holds a PhD in American Studies, told KOAT Action News that the menu is divisive.
"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," she told KOAT. "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."
Mohamed tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the names of his dishes dictate sales. “I have a regular customer who loves “The Republicans,” but can’t say the name,” he says. “So I tell him, order the grilled pork tacos.”
The restaurant recently introduced “The Mueller” and will lengthen its menu in the coming months. Says Mohamed, “We’ll be monitoring the news in November.”
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