A new breakfast restaurant in Coventry, Connecticut, has found itself in the middle of some controversy, and it’s all because of its name. Woke Breakfast and Coffee (some of you can already see where this is going) has been boycotted by some members of the community and has been the target of negative social media comments, all because of the unintended connotations of the word “woke,” reports CT Insider.
For those of you who haven’t read the news in years, the term “woke” has, over time, gained the widely acknowledged connotation of a person who is “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice),” as defined by Merriam-Webster. Times being what they are, the term has been weaponized by those who think social justice is a cause worth sneering at rather than advancing.
The thing is, the restaurant’s name allegedly isn’t a nod to that meaning of “woke” at all. It’s simply a reference to waking up and having breakfast and a cup of coffee. It’s a name in the same breakfasty vein as other businesses, like Snooze Eatery, or Woken coffee, or Chicago’s Wake ’n Bacon.
In fact, owner Carmen Quiroga, who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, says she had no idea that the word was so loaded when she picked it as the name of her restaurant.
“I’m a Mexican,” Quiroga told CT Insider. “I don’t know anything about what ‘woke’ means to some people.”
That fact hasn’t deterred people from being jackasses online, however. The administrator of The Coventry CT Citizen’s Open Forum, a local private Facebook page, has had to repeatedly delete inflammatory comments from residents about the cafe.
CT Insider published a Facebook post written last week by the admin of the group to its members:
If you are that close-minded that you can’t grasp that the name is referring to the fact that it is a breakfast establishment and nothing more, then just keep that to yourself and move on. It’s disgusting to read that residents are going to refuse to support a business that is trying to grow in our awesome little town because you don’t like what they’ve named it, without even knowing anything about how they chose that name. Just stop.
Thankfully, the boycott proposed by some residents doesn’t appear to be putting a dent in business: CT Insider reporter Jesse Leavenworth arrived to find the restaurant completely full on a recent visit.
“I think they should hang a sign that says, ‘Idiot-free zone,’” one customer told CT Insider.
Last time I checked, nothing about a morning skillet with sunny side up eggs threatens to indoctrinate the person who eats it. But it’s 2023, and people are insistent upon finding things to be mad at, including restaurants, the best of which exist not only to feed people, but to foster a sense of community. If having a cup of coffee with some flapjacks is a radical political move, well, then consider me a revolutionary.