From Taiwan’s chain of toilet themed eateries, to Bangkok’s Cabbages and Condoms restaurant; adventurous foodies have plenty of choice when it comes to weird and wonderful themed dining experiences.
But where should the line be drawn? And is it inappropriate to christen a pop-up burger bar after the most notorious drug lord in history?
Like many other cool and contemporary burger joints, Pablo’s Escoburgers in Prahran, Melbourne, boasts bulging burgers held together by wooden sticks and plastic trays of golden fries.
However, these burgers differ from others you might try at your local trendy bar in a very distinctive way. For example, ‘The Patron Burger’ comes complete with a line of white garlic powder on the bun – intended to resemble cocaine – and a (fake) rolled up $100 note.
The burger is served alongside a plastic bag filled with more garlic powder, complete with a silver spoon. A clear homage to the infamous Pablo Escobar, this dish has come with a side order of divisiveness.
As tasty as the Patron Burger may be, this very obvious allusion to the ‘King of Cocaine’ has led some burger lovers to regard the bar owners as being ‘naive’ to the pain and fear Escobar caused during his reign of terror.
One Facebook user responded with anger to Pablo’s Escoburgers bold assertion that ‘Not all Colombians are going to love our name but they all love our burgers’:
And now you have the audacity to be talking on behalf of all Colombians by saying they all love your burgers?
Glorifying drug addiction and joking about it through your presentation methods is really stupid and insensitive.
One person pointed out that the bar might be less likely to poke fun at crimes which had taken place closer to home, while another described the presentation as being ‘in poor taste’.
However, others have rushed to Pablo’s Escoburgers’ defence, praising the clever wordplay and ‘epic design’.
One exasperated burger fan sighed:
Snowflakes, petals and the easily offended. When did you lose your sense of humour? It’s a play on words FFS. With a cheeky visual prop. Don’t take life so seriously. None of us get out alive.
The bar owners have since given a written statement defending their controversial menu:
We are very proud of our burgers but we do also understand that Pablo Escobar was a horrible man who destroyed the lives of thousands of Colombians.
We do not condone, idolise or promote Pablo Emilio Escobar or his actions in anyway.
We are however Australian and know how to have a laugh about a good play on words. Its just a name of a pop up burger bar not really a theme. Hard not to offend someone in 2019.
Lots of Colombians enjoy the burgers here, also a lot give us terrible reviews and upset comments on FB much the way Pablo himself would have if he was still here today.
Take the high road people, put it to rest and learn to forgive and forget! Either way we love you all the same in a very “unpablo” way and know you will love our burgers. Enjoy!
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Pablo’s Escoburgers is in the news at the moment, so burger brother Petey Pie thought he would see what all the fuss was about. Here’s what he said After reading some bad press on these guys, I had to get in there and throw my support behind them. Went for The Patron (Boss). Well presented and full of flavour. Only letdown was the structural integrity, the bun wasn’t quite big enough to hold all that goodness together. All in all a great burger in its own right and when you add the novelty and press associated with it, I can see why they sold out of the buns shortly after taking my order. 8.4 @pablosescoburgers #pabloescoburger #burgers #melbourne #melbourneburgers #instaburger #burgersofinstagram #burgersofmelbourne #burgerporn
So, is this all just a bit of harmless fun, or an insensitive glamorisation of a dangerous individual?
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications. When not Lad-ing about, she enjoys cooking, reading and trying not to fall over in Yoga.