Quebec Restaurant in Trouble for Using the Phrase ‘Grilled Cheese’

Quebec language authorities order restaurant to stop using English
Grilled cheese


A restaurant in Quebec ran afoul of the language police for using the words "grilled cheese" instead of a French translation. 

Everybody loves a good, melty, grilled cheese sandwich, but apparently not everybody loves the name, because one Quebec restaurant has come under fire from language authorities for using the phrase “grilled cheese” on its signs.

According to Global News, a 1960s-style diner called Resto La Mama Grilled Cheese Gourmet received a cranky letter from the Quebec language authority, which requires that all public signs, including advertising, be predominantly in French. According to the notice, the restaurant was violating that rule by including the words “grilled cheese” in its name, and also for having an advertisement up that said, “Enjoy Mama.”

Owner Stephane Rheaume said he thought the complaint lacked merit because some things just can’t be translated.

“There are some terms that you can’t change. A sushi is a sushi – you can’t call it a Japanese roll,” he said. Similarly, Rheaume maintains that nobody has ever walked into Resto La Mama and asked for a “sandwich de fromage fondu,” which would be an awkward but literal way of translating “grilled cheese sandwich.”

Rheaume said part of the complaint was solved by just adding a sticker that said “savourez” or “enjoy” near the word “Enjoy” on his sign as a translation.

The language authority later clarified that Rheaume would not have to change his restaurant’s name, which Rheaume says he believes may be a result of officials changing their mind after all the negative media attention the complaint drew.

“After further developments and because of all the media attention, it seems that after all ‘grilled cheese’ might not be problematic,” Rheaume said.

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