Texas Restaurant Under Fire for ‘Racist’ Vintage Neon Sign

Restaurant owners say the sign is a part of history
neon sign

Yelp / Andrea N.

A restaurant in Texas is facing backlash after a photo of a sign posted in one of its rooms went viral on social media. The vintage neon sign at Cook’s Garage in Lubbock features a caricature of an African-American man with “Coon Chicken Inn,” written across his teeth. Many are demanding the sign’s removal, calling it racist in comments circulating via social media and Yelp.

According to KCBD, a local MSNBC affiliate in Texas, the issue arose after a person attended a holiday party at Cook’s Garage and later posted a photo of the sign to Facebook. Owners of the restaurant responded to the complaint by writing back: “We did not put this sign up to be derogatory, racist or to offend anyone. This is part of Americana History… just like everything else hung in our collection and buildings.”

The post continues, “Aunt Jemima, mammies, and lots of other black collectibles are highly sought after, as is Americana collectibles with white characters. The Coon Chicken Inn was an actual restaurant started in the 20’s. Again, we want to stress we do not intend to offend anyone, and are only preserving a part of history that should remind us all of the senselessness of racial prejudice.”

But many people aren’t totally satisfied with the restaurant’s response.

“I haven't eaten here, nor will I.  We have worked hard to educate our kids to love and respect all people, not to offend and demean them,” Elle E. wrote on Yelp. “While the owner has a right to decorate as they wish, we have the right to not support the ignorance of the past being used as ‘décor.’”


The Daily Meal has reached out to Cook’s Garage for further comment.