Lennie’s Hoagies, a restaurant in Philadelphia, recently drew criticism online for a racially insensitive menu item: COVID Mac, marketed as “homemade Mac & Cheese topped [with] Chinese Chili garlic sauce,” CBS Philly reports. Twitter user @byjessicayang brought attention to the issue, concluding with a concise, “Do better.”
The item has since been removed from the restaurant’s menu, but not due to an apparent understanding of its racist implications. When a caller directly brought the issue up to the restaurant, the woman who answered the phone refused to apologize.
“We’ve dropped the name, so what’s the big deal?” she said, according to CBS Philly.
The restaurant’s Yelp page has seen an influx of one-star reviews, dropping its average rating from 4.5 stars in January to 2.5 stars in February. The review that has currently received the most number of “useful” upvotes noted that “calling an item on their menu as Covic [sic] Mac with Chinese sauce is just in poor taste in 2021.”
“COVID Mac” is just another example of anti-Asian American sentiment that has grown more visible during the pandemic. This discrimination towards peoople of Asian descent in America has manifested in various forms from discriminatory business policies to physical attacks.
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