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Food by VICE

New Mexico Taqueria Faces Criticism for Cringeworthy Trump-Themed Menu

Urban Taqueria has only been open for six weeks, but it's already generating attention for its dishes with names like "No Collusion" and "Lock Her Up."

by Jelisa Castrodale
Sep 5 2019, 10:08pm

Photo: Getty Images

As of the most recent Gallup poll, President Donald Trump's approval rating is 41%, a full 13 percentage points lower than the average approval rating for previous presidents at the same point during their own administrations. Knowing that—or even guessing it, based on context clues—it seems a bit risky to connect your new restaurant to the ever-polarizing things that fall out of his mouth.

Urban Taqueria has only been open for six weeks, but it's already generating some not-great publicity because of its slightly bonkers menu item names. The Albuquerque restaurant is leaning hard into the Trumpisms, with burritos called "The Wall," "No Collusion," "The Stormy," and "Lock Her Up." And should you wish to customize your meal, you can place that order from the "Build Your Burri-Wall" section, which is less controversial than it's just dumb.

"Ninety-nine percent of the people who walk in, more than 99 percent, don't seem to have an issue with it," Urban Taqueria owner Hanif Mohamed told KOAT. "The menu's not designed to insult people or hurt people, but it's just meant to keep the conversation going as to what's happening around us."

But what kind of conversation are you supposed to have, other than asking yourself whether you really want to order a taco plate called "Fake News." (That's the other thing: the names just seem haphazardly tacked on to each entree: The only difference between the No Collusion and Under Audit burritos is the choice of meat.)

Although Mohamed thinks that "99%" of customers are fine with the menu, that's not totally how it looks on Yelp. "Upon reflection i gotta dock it one star for the cringy menu titles. No matter your political leaning they are pretty offensively odd," one Albuquerque local wrote. "The names for their tacos and burritos are a little odd," another said. "A coworker and I talked about it, and she refused to go to a place where they have a 'Lock Her Up' burrito."

Patricia Perea, a professor at the University of New Mexico, thinks the menu is both problematic and dangerous. "It seems fun, it seems like you can make fun of this and maybe make it lighthearted, but you really can't, you're offending a whole community," she told KOAT. "It's normalizing the terms [...] and the more that you do that, the more likely people are to repeat them and perhaps forget the contexts in which they were said."

Earlier this year, a baker in Edmunds, Washington apologized—and then un-apologized—for selling heart-shaped cookies that were iced with the words 'Build the Wall.'

"Am I supposed to be quiet because I can’t write what I want, or I can only write what they want or makes them happy? No. That’s not how it is," Ken Bellingham told KOMO News at the time. "They can write whatever they want on their own cookie and I can do that on mine.”

He's since swapped the hearts for red round versions, but the cases at Edmunds Bakery are still stacked with those cookies, as well as newer editions that read 'Border Security' and 'Make 'Em Cry Again.'

Back in Albuquerque, it'll be interesting to see how long that menu "keeps the conversation going." During the 2016 Presidential Election, Hilary Clinton won New Mexico with some 48.3% of the vote—but maybe that's why Mohamed included a 'Popular Vote' taco plate, too.