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September 7 2011 4 07 /09 /September /2011 05:50

Right in the middle of the Bible Belt of Texas, specifically in heavily church-populated Waco, wherein lies strongly conservative values-laden and highly academic and Baptist-strong Baylor University has been borne a family-operated food joint named "Fat Ho Burgers." Also interesting is that the founder of Fat Ho Burgers was born and raised right there in the Waco of Central Texas; in a state where bibles are not even sales-taxed. Furthermore, the 23 year-old African-American Lakita Evans is not some eccentric school dropout. She is the only one of five siblings to graduate from college. And she took the risk: she sold her laptop, car, and TV, among other things, to invest in the restaurant. Controversial publicity tends to pay. The name of the restaurant, the set-up in an unlikely social environment, and the name of the young owner have garnered extensive attention. Business is booming within days of the beginnings of the restaurant in late March 2011. Naturally, many are amused, many are irritated.

Lakita Evans should take heart. Lovie Yancey, a trailblazing African-American founded "Fatburger" in Los Angeles in 1952 and the chain now involves about 100 restaurants within North America and even beyond. Despite the restaurant name that is reminiscent of the people of New Orleans who believe that eating heavy varieties of fried and greasy food is their birthright, Lovie Yancey died (in 2008) at the impressive age of 96. Less impressive was the short-lived "Mo Better Meaty Burgers" restaurant that had a set up on the extreme southern end of the Little Ethiopia of west Los Angeles. At the time of the founding of "Mo Better Burgers," it was common for slang-innovative black Americans to substitute the words "better than," with "more better." This slang ran out of steam, just like the burger stand did. Will "Fat Ho Burgers" hold up? Stay tuned.

The "ho" spelling probably originated from the black ghetto, although I suspect that it may have originated from bucolic white society. What you believe can depend on where you lived at or growed up at [sic]. The term "fat ho" is not that new, and it is subject to various interpretations and applications. To owner Lakita Evans, the "hos" are the burgers themselves, and the menu includes the "Supa Fly Ho Wit Cheese," the "Sloppy Ho Brisket," the "Fat Chicken Ho"; and even Tiny Ho Meals for the kids.

 

Jonathan Musere

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