DORI MONSON

Restaurant owners change Roundeye Noodle Bar name

Feb 29, 2012, 2:20 PM | Updated: 4:30 pm

They thought it was clever, but the name “Roundeye Noodle Bar,” a pop-up restaurant in Philadelphia, didn’t sit well with the customers.

What the two head chefs of this food endeavor thought was a play on words that poked fun of themselves, two white guys making Asian cuisine, turned out to be offensive to some in their community.

“I was a little bit surprised,” Ben Puchowitz told 97.3 KIRO FM’s Dori Monson Show. “When we tested out the name with our friends, some of them were skeptical about it.”

The two men went forward with the name anyway, knowing it was “borderline.” When the noodle bar was open for its second run, they received a complaint from Ellen Somekowa, an executive of the Philadelphia advocacy group Asian Americans United.

As Somekowa told Philly.com, [sic] “There is no way to hear the name, ‘Roundeye,’ without at the same time hearing what it is being contrasted to. .. A very hurtful racist slur — SLANTEYES.”

Said Puchowitz, “In terms of what she’s saying, it’s not my point of view, but we need to be respectful.”

They’re changing the name of the restaurant, and as Puchowitz said, “everybody is happy.”

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