This article has been updated to include the statement from the Amarillo Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Attorney Jesse Quackenbush, owner of “Big Beaners” restaurant in Amarillo is defending the name of his establishment after some people have said it is a derogatory term.
In the video above you can see the name of the restaurant on the sign. Quackenbush said the name originated with the Latin American beans they sell at the store.
“We knew that we were going to sell specialty bean dishes from Latin America so we wanted something that would connect our main product which is breakfast burritos and specialty bean dishes with coffee,” said Quackenbush.
Quackenbush explained many people think there is nothing wrong with the name. He said some members of the community have reached out to him.
Quackenbush also told us about an interaction he had with the Amarillo Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Local League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) over the name of the restaurant.
“I was called by Abel Vasquez [president of Amarillo chapter of LULAC],” said Quackenbush. “I started to get a lecture about what LULAC did to the Frito-Lay Corporation because of Frito Bandito back in the 1960s and 1970s. That basically was his attempt to strong-arm me with a veiled threat of litigation to ruin my business, and I told him that he and whomever else he represented can go f*** themselves and go to Starbucks if they don’t like my business.”
We were able to also speak to Bosquez about his thoughts on the restaurant’s name.
“Sometimes I come across it. When they say ‘beaner,’ they’re talking about Mexicans,” said Bosquez. “A call [complaining about the restaurant] that I received, the person said, ‘It’s offensive because they are talking about Mexicans as ‘beaners.””
Bosquez said it is not only the name that is offensive. He said the logo is also offensive to Mexican-Americans.
Quackenbush rebutted by explaining that if people took the time to look at the sign and look at the restaurant’s menu, there should be no confusion on the meaning of the name.
When we asked if Quackenbush had any plans of changing the name, he said, “If I would have been approached nicely by LULAC, if I would have been approached nicely by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce instead of threateningly. In other words, threatening to strong-arm me into something different, I might have reconsidered.”
We did reach out to the Amarillo Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AHCC) on Thursday, but they were unavailable for comment. Friday, the AHCC released a statement. Read the full statement below: