July 15, 2019 | 73° F

‘Criminals and Tacos’ restaurant name is tasteless, unfortunate

After reading the Sept. 15 article on the new taco restaurant coming to New Brunswick, I felt compelled to respond. For at least 20 years now, New Brunswick has been the home to “authentic” Mexican restaurants owned and operated by residents from the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Puebla. These two southern states in Mexico are renowned for their cuisines throughout Mexico and the world. We now have more than 15 authentic Mexican restaurants in the city that serve a wide variety of tacos, burritos, other tortilla-based dishes and full plates such as chicken with mole sauce and beefsteak a la Tampiqueña. Rutgers students, faculty and employees can sample this wide range of delicious and economical Mexican food along French and Handy streets and Joyce Kilmer Avenue, among others.

I also wanted to comment that I find it unfortunate that Chef Andrew Schiff chose to include the word “Criminals” in the name of his restaurant. Given the inflammatory statements of Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates about Mexican immigrants as criminals and undesirables, it seems insensitive, at best, to name a new restaurant in our city this way.

I hope that the next time Chef Schiff comes to New Brunswick to work on his restaurant, he takes the time to get to know the rich variety of Mexican food establishments in our city and meet some of the owners and cooks at the many Mexican restaurants in New Brunswick. I am sure that they would enjoy learning from each other.

Peter Guarnaccia is a professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University.

Peter Guarnaccia

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