ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A restaurant in an Atlantic City casino intended to honor Martin Luther King Jr. on his birthday by offering fried chicken, collard greens and macaroni and cheese, a casino official said Tuesday.
Some Twitter users objected to what they considered stereotypical and racially offensive choices Monday; others called the criticism political correctness run amok.
Joe Lupo, senior vice president of the Borgata, told The Associated Press that The Metropolitan restaurant chose menu items that were among King's favorite foods, as documented in numerous historical sources.
"Our general manager of the restaurant is an African-American female who wanted to come up with the menu to celebrate and honor Dr. King," he said. "We allow our managers to run their restaurants. She did research and came up with an authentic recipe. It's very clear these were his favorite foods."
A 2008 article in the Knoxville News Sentinel quotes a contemporary clergyman, Rev. G.H. Williams, a guide at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. Leading a tour of King's childhood home, Williams said, "A favorite meal was the Sunday feast of fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas and corn bread."
Advertised as the Martin Luther King Jr. Special, the $24 meal consisted of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, collard greens and homemade pecan pie.
Lupo says the casino's restaurants offer menus geared toward holidays, including Chinese meals at Chinese New Year, and Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo.
The Atlantic City NAACP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.