Friday, March 12, 2010

Half-hour comedy hour.

My husband and I just got back from Sweet Tomatoes. For those of you that don't know, Sweet Tomatoes is a buffet restaurant that has a salad bar, pizza, muffins, pasta and soup. We like it because you can get lots of fresh veggies and they make a mean albondigas locas soup. I'm betting the soup is probably much worse than some small batch authentic recipe, but since I've never had it anywhere else--I think it's great.

One thing I don't think is great is that in some parts of the country, Sweet Tomatoes is called Souplantation. I don't know about you, but when I hear the word "plantation", not very good things come to mind. As I said to my hubby while I was looking up today's menu online, "It's like calling it SLAVERY 'R US !"

And without missing a beat, my husband said, "And soup." And we both dissolved into peals of laughter.

I actually wrote to them a while ago to give them feedback on their name. Now, it wasn't as involved as the times that I write about here or here. It was more like I went to their website, found the feedback section and said, "Your name sucks."

Needless to say, I didn't hear anything back. However, it is possible that they did respond and I never got it, because this was around the time I was switching my email over to my married name. But they obviously don't care that much, since they haven't changed anything.

So...what's your take, readers? What do you think of when you hear the word 'plantation'? Why do you think the Sweet Tomatoes people have some of their locations with that word as part of the name? Are there any company names that make you cringe?


  1. I've never heard of Sweet Tomatoes. It's Souplantation here. Honestly, I never thought about how bad the name is. I suppose it does match the shitty food.

    They're not company names, but Cheese Nips and Caramel Nips have always made me uncomfortable.

  2. At the Stone Mtn Theme Park outside of Atlanta there is a "ride" called the Antebellum Plantation and Farmyard that features . . . well check it out yourself:
    No mention of slavery. Its the sort of Disney version. I've never visted there. The selective memory of history is just too creepy to bear.
    I did visit the plantation where Robert E Lee was born in Virginia. It is an historic site where you can tour the mansion that was built in the lae 17th Century, and see the buildings that enslaved Africans lived in. All that is not romanitsized so much and I could see and feel what colonial Virginia life was like. Which is to say, rough. They do educational days in the summer where they teach school kids about the history including the evils of slavery.

  3. It's Souplantation out here. Sweet Tomatoes sounds like someplace I might actually be willing to go to!

  4. Anonymous1:07 PM

    I'd much rather eat at a place called Sweet Tomatoes than Souplantation. I'm sure if I saw a Souplantation jokes would just start flowing with my friends. Like, "Let's go see what their minimum wage is, if they even get paid." I can't think of any offensive company names right now though, sorry.

  5. Anonymous7:31 PM

    That is offensive - I'm curious who made the decision to call it Sweet Tomatoes in Colorado, and why. There's a place on South Broadway that's offended me ever since I can remember - it's the Wife Savor Laundromat. I can't drive by without throwing up a little.

  6. Anonymous5:06 PM

    my dad knows one of the higher-ups in the company. i've been trying to use that connection to figure out how to get coupons for free meals, so far it hasn't worked. i'd be happy to see if i can get you a contact name or number if you want though. -liz

  7. This made me think of a friend that calls the Cracker Barrel the Honkey Bucket. Cracks me up.

  8. Anonymous6:25 PM

    Out in a small town in Texas, a new restaurant was named Pepperbellies. While I had not heard the term, my dad was horrified since he knew it as a derogatory term for Hispanics. There is a heavy Hispanic population in the town so I'd love to know what they think.

  9. Anonymous10:10 AM

    I found this old post from 2010 googling 'is souplantation offensive' because I don't get it. Plantations still exist and they're simply large crops of 1 thing. Christmas tree plantations are prolific in the Pacific Northwest. A soup plantation just implies that they make a lot of soup.

    I get that, in the past, plantations were connected to slavery and all the other terrible things that came slavery. That's where it gets iffy. But the word itself isn't inherently offensive.

    I think its bizarre that one commonplace/ordinary (ie not inherently derogatory) word becomes offensive because you can 5-steps-to-Kevin-Bacon it to slavery, but not other words. For example, the word "auction," was just as, if not more, associated with the horrible practice of slaveholding in the US. Why has that word not been ostracized as offensive? Where is the line drawn? Its very confusing.