Pho Keene Great can’t fight Dragon Lady in City Hall (Echochamber Friday)

Welcome to Echochamber Friday, where we intentionally look at the trainwreck of American culture by reading articles we would not usually look at. So we don’t become frogs in a Pho Keene Boiling Pot!

But what are they going to do with all the T-shirts they made up?

The owner of a soon-to-be-opening French-Vietnamese restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire is set to meet with the city manager of Keene following concerns the eatery’s name sounds like a profane phrase.

Pho Keene Great, which is not scheduled to open until March, displayed a small sign prominently featuring the name, which is a play on both the Vietnamese dish pho (pronounced “fuh”) and the name of the town. 

City Manager Elizabeth Dragon said the owner, Isabelle Jolie, hadn’t gotten permission to hang a sign outside the restaurant. Jolie since had it removed.

The restaurant’s Facebook page has also been polling social media users, asking if they think the name of the restaurant is offensive.


“The issue is pending a meeting with the city manager and her team,” the restaurant wrote in its post, which found that 97 percent of respondents found the name to be “fun” rather than offensive.

Several users claim the restaurant should be allowed to call itself whatever it likes due to freedom of speech, and many think the “clever” name is funny. “I’m Pho Keene impressed,” commented one Facebook user.

However, others were more vocal about how they felt about the “crass” name. “Cute until your child uses it. Sad commentary on what has become publicly acceptable. Class is a thing of the past,” one woman shared.

Depending on how the name situation is resolved, the T-shirts the restaurant made may become local collector items.

Pho Keene Great, or a Pho restaurant with a completely different name, is scheduled to open in Keene, N.H., on March 1, 2019.

No word yet on whether or not the Dragon Lady in City Hall also will deprive the townspeople of getting a great piece of literature in the Wong Fook Hing bookstore…


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