Local quesadilla bar causing controversy

KNWA

"If a place opens business and the products are named after Hitler or after a terrorist group I don’t think people here would be happy about it"

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A new Dickson Street restaurant is getting backlash for naming its quesadillas after Latin drug lords.

Courtesy of Plomo Quesadilla Bar

Omar Kasim opened Plomo Quesadilla Bar, a late night restaurant on Dickson Street, a little over a month ago.

“Once people started finding out about it, week after week we were just having to double our food orders over and over and over again,” Kasim said.

He said so far business has been booming.

“This past weekend we actually ran out of food because we had a line out the door,” he said.

Kasim said from the start, the business has pretty much only gotten positive feedback.

“We’ve received some comments online, as far as the insensitivity of the names of the restaurant and the names of the quesadillas,” he said. “My whole point and outlook on it is that we aren’t really trying to make a political statement.”

Courtesy of Plomo Quesadilla Bar

Plomo Quesadilla Bar’s quesadillas are named after the Latin drug lords listed below:

  • Escobar
  • El Chapo
  • Noriega
  • Vasquez
  • Rick Ross

“One thing that I learned in business is that you can’t make everyone happy, and you can’t market to every single person out there,” he said.

Courtesy of Plomo Quesadilla Bar

A Colombian woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said these names hit a little too close to home for her.

“I hope that people can understand why we are not happy about it,” she said.

To her, the business is making money at the expense of innocent people who were raped and killed.

“What if a business opens and puts names like Bin Laden on a taco and a quesadilla how would they react?” she said. “I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be too happy.”

She said the problem stems from the way these drug lords are portrayed on television.

“They see these people with a lot of power, piles of money, life of luxury, alcohol, women,” she said. “I get how that could be fun for some people but they were not just drug dealers they were criminals.”

Courtesy of Plomo Quesadilla Bar

Kasim said Narcos has affected his family too, but said his business is just simply marketing off of the trendiness of it.

“We are sincerely just trying to offer good quality food and pertain to the theme of the restaurant,” he said. “I totally understand where they are coming from but they have a right to patronize our business, they have a right to protest it, and that is what makes this country great.”

Courtesy of Plomo Quesadilla Bar

The woman said it is not that simple and by Kasim doing this she feels he is reinforcing the stereotype and not helping address the issue.

“I encourage people to do their own research about this,” she said. “Don’t let just the TV shows inform you because that is not the reality of what happened.”

Kasim said it is unfortunate to get this kind of feedback because it restricts us from dealing with larger scale things.

“When you choose to make a big deal out of something that is so insignificant in my opinion and doesn’t really matter all that much, it really takes away from the battles that should be had,” he said.

KNWA reached out to Arkansas United about this controversy.

In a statement it said:

In these complex political times for immigrants, both in this country and for so many, also in their home countries, we at Arkansas United, as an immigrant rights advocacy group, celebrate immigrants speaking their truth, and elevating their concerns so that our city and state can have hard conversations. There are very real barriers for so many immigrants in making their perspectives public, but only in us doing so can we all grow in our understanding of each other, and each of our life perspectives.

– Arkansas United Executive Director Mireya Reith

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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