Pink Taco is a restaurant chain in Los Angeles, California, with locations in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip and in Century City, located on the premises of the Westfield Century City mall. It serves Mexican food.
The first Pink Taco restaurant was opened in 1999 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Paradise, Nevada. A second location in Scottsdale, Arizona met with controversy and remained open for less than three years, between 2006 and 2009. A third location opened on June 28, 2007 in Century City, Los Angeles, California. According to the restaurant's website, planned future locations include San Diego, California, and Miami, Florida. As of May 2012, only two Los Angeles locations, one at the Westfield Century City mall and one on the Sunset Strip, were listed on that website, although the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino location was still in operation at this time.
The name has caused controversy in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the restaurant attempted to open a second location. In response, the city government received four emails complaining about the name. This generated a complaint from Mayor Mary Manross who said she was offended, although she did not see the name in a sexual way until the complaints were raised. She asked the owner to change the name, but he refused.
On May 15, 2006, the Scottsdale City Council, by a unanimous vote, recommended the restaurant for a liquor license from the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. One resident raised an objection at the meeting, saying the name "demeans and degrades women." The state agency said it had not received any complaints. The Scottsdale location closed its doors on April 1, 2009.
The restaurant quickly gained the attention of the media, and was soon contacted by representatives from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Mind of Mencia with requests for interviews, which were initially turned down. President and CEO Harry Morton appeared on the June 27, 2006, episode of The Daily Show, which also featured a story on the controversy by reporter Ed Helms. During his interview, Morton explained that the name comes from a menu item, and that if the restaurant were truly "vagina-themed", there would be "vaginas all over the walls". Pink Taco was also mentioned during the May 20, 2006, showing of Saturday Night Live as part of its "Weekend Update" skit.
In August 2006, Morton announced a $30 million bid for the naming rights to the Arizona Cardinals' new stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The offer was rejected by the Cardinals, who dismissed the announcement as a joke and a publicity stunt. On September 28, 2006, Pink Taco launched a similar bid to rename the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans to the "Pink Taco Dome." As the State of Louisiana owns the Superdome, any name change must be approved by the Louisiana State Legislature.
Live animal controversy
On May 5, 2011, in honor of Cinco de Mayo the Pink Taco in Century City, CA painted a donkey pink and wrote "Pink Taco" on both its sides. Critics claimed the donkey was shaved, painted pink and left outside in 90 °F (32 °C) heat. Spokesman for the animal rental company said the animal was treated fairly and two trainers were on site to care for it. The restaurant manager refused to comment.
- Hooters, another restaurant which has met with controversy for its themes
- Katsilometes, John (May 30, 1999). "Columnist John Katsilometes: Eateries need the right name". Las Vegas Sun.
- Finnerty, Megan (April 22, 2006). "Suggestive name puts eatery, city at odds". The Arizona Republic.
- "Pink Taco". Retrieved 2007-06-08.
- "Pink Taco Restaurant Name Causes Stir". CBS. May 16, 2006.[dead link]
- Athens, Jonathan (May 18, 2006). "Restaurant name spurs TV interest". East Valley Tribune.
- Corbett, Peter (April 1, 2009). "Pink Taco, Glendale's Fox Sports Grill close". Arizona Republic. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- The Daily Show. "Box Lunch." Ed Helms. Produced by Bronwen Epstein. Edited by Einar Westerlund. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-june-27-2006/box-lunch
- Fey, Tina (Cast), Amy Poehler (Cast) (2006). Saturday Night Live (TV-Series). United States: National Broadcasting Company.
- Villalobos, Louie. "Pink Taco's owners make bid to name Cards stadium." Arizona Republic. August 21, 2006. Retrieved on August 21, 2006.
- Mackel, Fletcher. "Pink Taco Wants Naming Rights to Superdome." WDSU. September 28, 2006. Retrieved on September 29, 2006.
- klta news (2011). "Pink Taco Restaurant: Angry Community Members Call for Boycott Over Pink Taco's Pink Donkey Display for Cinco de Mayo - ktla.com". ktla.com. Retrieved 9 May 2011.