This week, prominent Dallas restaurateur Phil Romano debuted his newest restaurant at Trinity Groves, sparking a small controversy surrounding some racist language used to promote the restaurant.
The new spot, questionably called Sum Dang Good Chinese Food, opened its doors for takeout at Trinity Groves on Wednesday. A menu for the restaurant distributed to the press was emblazoned with blatantly racist verbiage, including a selection of desserts dubbed “happy endings,” a reference to the trope that workers in Asian massage parlors provide sexual services. Its cocktail menu included cheesy, stereotypical jokes like “Confucius say: bottoms up!”
When the menu dropped, outrage immediately followed. D Magazine editor Matt Goodman pointed out that these kind of stereotypes are “disgusting anytime, but particularly ghoulish considering the racism and xenophobia Chinese-Americans are currently dealing with.” Sandwich Hag chef Reyna Duong was also critical of the menu. “Phil Romano, grow the fuck up and act like a professional business person with some sense and human decency,” Duong said. “This is garbage.”
At some point, you must stop embarrassing all the decent white folks that would never ever, even consider, doing what you STILL, currently do. Phil Romano, grow the fuck up and ACT like a professional business person with some sense and human decency. This is garbage. https://t.co/iOeUsGukSk— Reyna Duong (@ChefReye) March 30, 2020
Wow. That is totally over-the-top offensive. I am all for more good chinese restaurant options in Dallas proper but this is just awful. Who is funding this?— Tillie (@tgborch) March 30, 2020
On Thursday, a publicist for Romano issued a statement that the restaurateur was “listening” to this criticism, and had made a decision to remove the offensive language from the menu for Sum Dang Good Chinese Food. But that statement came after Romano lashed out at his critics in an interview with the Dallas Morning News. “To hell with all of them,” Romano said of his critics. “That wasn’t our intention. If they’ve got a problem with it, they’re the ones with an issue, not me. There’s an awful lot of attention in the name.”