Controversial Restaurant Big Beaners Closes its Doors
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Controversial Restaurant Big Beaners Closes its Doors

2020 has been a racially charged year, and one West Texas restaurant drew a firestorm of controversy over its name, a name that many called offensive. That would be Big Beaners, a  Mexican restaurant located in Amarillo.

Soon after Jesse Quackenbush opened his business, he met opposition by some segments of the public who claimed the Big Beaners name was offensive. He defended the name against the racial accusations online. The Big Beaners logo shows an illustration of a dark bean with a sombrero, a black handlebar mustache, boots, and the colors of red and green.

Quackenbush was asked multiple times to change the name, but he refused. The restaurant has now been forced to close its doors for more reasons than its controversial name. According to Amarillo’s Chief Building Official, the business failed to supply certain work permits to stay open.

Quackenbush said in a Facebook post that the restaurant was an attempt to start a new art movement. “I began to wonder what would happen if a business opened which had a name clearly derived from racist ideation,” Quackenbush’s Facebook post read. “What responses would the business evoke? Would it cause controversy? Would it cause self-evaluation? How would the government react? How would all races react? How would true racists react?” Quackenbush ended his statement saying he intends to make a documentary about the experience. He gives credit to two artists and mentions the restaurant was an experiment he hoped to turn into an art project one day.

What do you think of the restaurant’s name? What do you think about the owner’s “art project” explanation of the business? Let us know what your think!

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Written by Deborah Hall

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