A new restaurant has just opened in the town of Saltash in Cornwall, United Kingdom. New business, especially places to eat, are always welcome, right?
But its name has stoked quite a controversy.
The name of the place?
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) August 4, 2019
Which is… a choice. It’s one name choice out of an infinite number of name choices.
And that’s all we’ll say about that.
But some of the locals have lots more to say—including formal complaints filed with both the Saltash Town Council and the Cornwall Council.
The resident who filed the complaints, according to The Independent, put it this way:
“I find the name of the restaurant absolutely outrageous and I know others in the town do too…”
“It’s overtly racist and discriminatory. How the owners could think calling it Foreign Muck is anyway near appropriate beggars belief.”
“The restaurant actually acknowledges the name might upset people on its website, but claiming it’s irony is no excuse for racism.”
The restaurant, opened by brothers Dean and Danny Thomas who grew up in Saltash, serves a mix of Mexican and American food—that is, “foreign muck”—inspired by Dean’s 20 years spent living in Phoenix, Arizona.
And for their part, they say the name is nothing but an in-joke reference to their father, who used to refuse to eat anything but traditional British food.
As they explain on their website:
“As a chef, I look at all this as a celebration of how far most of us have come, and obviously a little jab at the old man, and anyone who still does, or used to mutter, ‘I ain’t eating that foreign muck’. “
And speaking to local news outlet Cornwall Live, the brothers added:
“People with an agenda or closed mind will continue to get upset. But that’s not our intent. It’s about laughing at ourselves and a bit of satire.”
This does seem a bit overwrought, and in these times, we surely have bigger fish to fry than this.
But, a few notes:
- You’re opening your restaurant at a time of virulent racism and xenophobia…
- With a menu partly based on a region of the United States that is infamous for, well, virulent racist xenophobia…
- In an area of the UK that in 2016 voted pretty decisively for *checks notes* virulent racist xenophobia…
Cornwall voted 56.5% Leave, you will recall >>> New restaurant Foreign Muck accused of being racist https://t.co/sa5UKUQigw
— Graham Norwood (@PropertyJourn) August 4, 2019
Soooooo some people are probably gonna get the wrong idea.
So maybe don’t do this? Just, like, for good measure?
Also it’s pretty well known by now that irony is the foremost tool of the various alt-right and neo-fascist movements sweeping the globe.
'In other words, troll culture became a way for fascism to hide in plain sight.' https://t.co/6xhEccAdfO
— Chris Spyrou (@chrisspyrou) May 23, 2017
So, saying “Calm down it’s just a joke” doesn’t really inspire much confidence in your motives nowadays, but you do you, Brothers Thomas.
Also “Foreign Muck” is a very unappetizing name for a restaurant anyway but that’s for a marketing professional to sort out.
Anyway, on the ol’ internet, most people seemed to find this controversy ridiculous.
oh god here we go ..everything's racist these days !
— Lyd Stiles (@lyd_stiles) August 4, 2019
Absolutely ridiculous how can this be seen as racist 😂
— mike hunt (@davidpetermills) August 4, 2019
No one is allowed to have a sense of humour anymore🙄
— Robin weston (@robincharlesw67) August 7, 2019
What race is 'foreign'? Ridiculous times.
— Tyrone Mulcahy (@MulcahyTyrone) August 4, 2019
Not sure who hasn't heard their parents/family in the past choose not to have something off a menu, calling it foreign muck. Missing out on damned good food as well. I get the irony, it's made me smile. Maybe it's a little bit too deep for some people who take things literally.
— Clatters (@Itz_Clatterz) August 4, 2019
I think it’s brilliant and a good poke at the racists.
— Michelle (@Michelle_coll3) August 4, 2019
But while seemingly in the minority, some agreed that it was a bad move…
I thought more people would feel like you but you appear to be very much in the minority.
— Lee Trewhela (@LeeTrewhela) August 6, 2019
Casual racism at its finest down in Cornwall 🙈 https://t.co/T3c9mH6jqp
— Darren (@DazPazz) August 5, 2019
— The Unmistakables (@_unmistakables) August 6, 2019
Sounds like a great businessman 🙄😏
— Sara Dubare (@FizzyBazza) August 4, 2019
Oh dear. Sometimes the human race has no filter. But what a publicity stunt.
— Dorothy Richmond (@portiacat2) August 4, 2019
Until very recently I lived in Cornwall. It is pretty racist these days. People have literally no shame in saying they moved there because there are hardly any black people there.
— Liz Ellis (@LizEllisPhD) August 4, 2019
While others just thought the name sucked.
Thicko spends all that money opening a bar then spaffs it with a joke name. I d be avoiding this place as they don't sound serious about the food.
— Bob Fleming (@BobFlem25914696) August 4, 2019
I can see why the name might irritate. However, the self-deprecating name might backfire on them if the food is excellent. It doesn’t exactly reel me in and at a time when the Plymouth eatery scene is lame enough, I’m sure they could’ve come up with something less amateur.
— paul pledger (@pkrpmusic) August 4, 2019
I have to say….it's a very unfortunate name for a restaurant though!
— marianyoung (@marianyoung1) August 4, 2019
For people who don’t wish to call their business “muck,” the book How to Create a Great Business Name: An easy way to name your business, is available here.