UPDATE January 17, 2019: Good news! New Hampshire Public Radio reports that the name of Pho Keene Great restaurant has officially been approved by the city of Keene. City Manager Elizabeth Dragon has apparently changed her irked tune, telling the Vietnamese restaurant owners in an email, “We are excited to have a new restaurant open in the community… We anxiously await your scheduled opening in March!” Still, we expect those cool T-shirts below to go for top dollar. Happy Friday, everyone.
January 7, 2019: Instead of a long “o,” the Vietnamese soup “pho” should be pronounced “fuh.” Which makes signs announcing things like “Pho King” problematic, depending on your feelings about the “f” word.
This particular pronunciation snafu has proved troublesome for an upcoming French-Vietnamese restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire. Taking a cue from the town name, the establishment put up a sign announcing its new name “Pho Keene Great” (say it aloud if you don’t—there you go).
Unfortunately, the new restaurant is in the same building as Keene City Hall. And City Manager Elizabeth Dragon protested the sign, calling it “offensive.” This, despite the fact that the restaurant ran an online poll over whether the sign was offensive or not. Of the 3,400 respondents, 97 percent replied “no.”
Fox News reports that “Dragon said the owner, Isabelle Jolie, hadn’t gotten permission to hang a sign displaying the outside the restaurant,” so Jolie has taken it down. The restaurant is still scheduled to open on March 1, but its official name has apparently not been determined yet. If Pho Keene does have to change its name, at least the T-shirts it already has printed up might make for some valuable collector’s items. And please, no one show the city government our slow-cooker beef recipe.