A yet-to-be-opened restaurant in Amarillo has become the focus of intense racial controversy because of its name and sign.
Jesse Quackenbush, an attorney and owner of “Big Beaners” restaurant, stated that the inspiration for the name came from the fact that the restaurant would be selling Mexican food, coffee, and beans.
“And there’s no intention of racism behind that sign, the sign was merely was trying to connect the brand with the product,” he said.
Abel Bosquez, president of the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, had a different opinion about the restaurant’s name.
“It was a word that was used like you beaners, you wetback, you dirty Mexicans,” he said.
Quackenbush responded: “If anyone took the time to read the menu and look at the logo and understand it’s a kidney bean not an Abel Bosquez or some Mexican that’s bored at some committee. There’s no racist intention, I’m not a racist, we don’t cater to racists, we don’t have anything to do with racists, so Abel Bosquez is simply wrong.”
“Why is it a brown bean with a Mexican hat, a big mustache and pointy boots—that is offensive to Mexicanos,” Bosquez stated.
When asked by ABC7 News why he didn’t use big bean, big frijoles or something else in the same line, Quackenbush stated: “Because we wanted to use big beaners, we liked the name—kind of like Big Texan, the word big, we wanted to have Hispanic culture or Latin culture enveloped into our mascot and logo.”
He added that the majority of Hispanics were not offended by the name or sign.
“A lot of the people that are responding saying ‘I’m alright with that’—they probably haven’t experienced the racism part,” Bosquez stated.
When asked whether he would apologize for the sign, Quackenbush responded: “The answer to that is no. I apologize for nothing related to this business, I think this is a big hoax and a scam that’s been set up by a couple former restaurants here that recently have gone out of business and they just got so outraged because a white guy is opening a Mexican restaurant—that’s what’s going on here.”
However, Bosquez refuted this, and stated that even if the owner was of Mexican descent, the meaning would remain the same.
“Racism is racism regardless of who does it. I can be a racist against my own people,” he said.
The Amarillo Hispanic Chamber of Commerce released the following statement:
"The Amarillo Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has never contacted Mr. Jesse Quackenbush regarding the “Big Beaners” name he chose for his new restaurant. The comments on his social media post regarding the Hispanic chamber are not factual. We have received many complaints and questions regarding the name of the restaurant. We hear the concerns and we understand. The AHCC is a business organization and not a civil rights organization.”