Whole Foods Partners With Asian Restaurant Named ‘Yellow Fever’

“Setting aside any racially insensitive aspects to this particular naming choice… but you're still a food place that shares its name with a viral infection.”



Whole Foods is facing backlash after it opened an Asian-themed restaurant in Long Beach, California, bizarrely called Yellow Fever.

The high-end grocer doesn’t own the restaurant but it is being slammed for partnering with a chain whose name, shoppers complain, is undeniably offensive and racist.

Yellow Fever is a small chain of restaurants. Last year, the co-owner and executive chef of the restaurant, Kim Kelly, shared the reason and concept behind the unusual restaurant name.

“When we finally came up with the concept, all the names we thought of just plain sucked. Buzzwords like ‘traditional,’ ‘bamboo,’ ‘lotus’ and ‘golden’ weren’t memorable,” she said.

Kelly added, “One night, we just said ‘Yellow Fever!’ and it worked. It’s tongue-in-cheek, kind of shocking, and it’s not exclusive — you can fit all Asian cultures under one roof with a name like this. We just decided to go for it.”

However, Twitter users completely disapproved of the tongue-in-cheek idea.

The name is not just offensive to East Asians but also to Americans and Africans. Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes and was once known as American fever. In the 18th century, five major outbreak of the deadly viral infection occurred in North America, resulting in the death of more than 9 percent of people in Philadelphia. The city was the capital of the United States at the time and George Washington had to flee the city.

Then in 1878, it was responsible for the deaths of 20,000 people in towns of the Mississippi River Valley.

Its last major outbreak occurred in 1905 in the United States. But the disease is still prevalent in many countries of Africa and Latin America.

“Setting aside any racially insensitive aspects to this particular naming choice, I mean, yeah I guess but you're still a food place that shares its name with a viral infection that causes among other things nausea, vomiting, bleeding, and wait for it ...*loss of appetite*,” said one Twitter user.

Another one wrote, “I would like to suggest that making the name both racist and disease ridden was overkill.”

“Okay.... like wow. If all publicity is good publicity, this new chain must be thrilled with their marketing group,” said another.



Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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