Blackface Decor on Restaurant Wall


Cook’s Garage, a restaurant in Lubbock, is under attack on social media for its racist wall decor.

The neon sign features a caricature of a black man reminiscent of a character in a 19th century minstrel show (in which white actors painted their faces black and mocked African-American culture) with the words “Coon-Chicken Inn” written on his teeth.

An upset customer, Jessica Rios, shared a picture of the sign on Facebook Wednesday night, which apparently spread quickly over social media. Though the picture has since been taken down, her angry post reached Cook’s management.

In a Thursday Facebook post, the restaurant responded to the controversy:

“We did not put this sign up to be derogatory, racist or to offend anyone. This is part of Americana History…just like everything else hung in our collection and buildings. Aunt Jemima, mammies, and lots of other black collectibles are highly sought after, as is Americana collectibles with white characters. The Coon Chicken Inn was an actual restaurant started in the 20’s. Again, we want to stress we do not intend to offend anyone, and are only preserving a part of history that should remind us all of the senselessness of racial prejudice.”

It’s the same argument people opposed to taking down monuments to Confederate soldiers have used.

In Ghost World, Thora Birch is a student that claims her research revealed that the fictional “Cook’s Chicken” was originally called “Coon’s Chicken.” Oddly, the restaurant under fire for the exact same image is called Cook’s Garage.  – tip of the hat to Cate

While The Coon Chicken Inn may have been a real restaurant chain nearly 100 years ago, the caricature was deemed racist back then as well by the NAACP and the black community. According to, each location had a 12-foot “coon head” that served as the entrance. The imagery was used by owner Maxon Lester Graham, a white man, to attract customers. It was used on all promotional items and inspired menu items such as the “coon fried steak.”

The logo is one inspired by racist caricatures used during the time of slavery — and repeated for decades. Blackface is still commonly used in 2017, so being reminded “of the senselessness of racial prejudice” isn’t necessarily the issue at hand.

Some comments on the Cook’s Garage post highlighted just that. One woman wrote, “Maybe this part of ‘Americana history’ is absolute shit and shouldn’t be memorialized?” Another user commented, “History is there to teach and learn from not to keep bringing up and keeping the hate alive.”


Yes, it was a real place. There were lots of them.


59 Comments on Blackface Decor on Restaurant Wall

  1. “Americana” it may be – but it’s kind of like collecting the skin lamp shades and such the Nazi made. We did it but we never should be proud of it.

  2. I’ve been trying to acquire a lawn jockey for years. Jocko is the most highly sought after, with better condition examples costing a couple thousand bucks. When they come up at auction it becomes a big dick measuring contest, everyone trips over each other to bid and it sells for too much. Thing is, no one calls the bidders racist for wanting the blackface statue, it’s just a cool piece of art. Why can’t it just be that?

  3. When I was a kid in the 50’s blacks were called coons. Never heard anyone use the N word.
    But coon yes. This was in Pennsylvania near the Great Lakes area. They also had coon dog hunting clubs.
    A coon was a raccoon and people hunted them to eat. Gross.

  4. Someone, please just tell these cretins to fuck off. Do not apologize and take the sign down, I’m begging you!

  5. History is history whether you like it or not. It is fact. Denying facts does not change history. Removing it from view is lying by omission and is only a lame attempt at preventing future generations from learning from it. Shall we burn some books too while we’re at it???

  6. @eternal cracker p: Just tell the Chinese what you’re looking for.
    They’ll make you one for ’bout tree-fiddy.

  7. Are you sure that’s a real address for the Coon Chicken Inn, 402 Pullybone Lane? It looks like they do more than just cook chickens. And no watermelon on the menu either. Wow, 2 pieces of chicken for 65 cents but you pay an extra nickel if it’s white meat. You could eat for cheap back then and still have change left over for a buck even with a drink. And just what the heck is a black cow? Is that like chocolate milk or something?

  8. A month ago I walked into a Popeye’s chicken in a mostly white town and the were blacks in all five cars waiting at the drive-through, then inside we’re all blacks, maybe 25 of them, except a white couple in the corner.
    I don’t know what to make of all that. Just an observation.

  9. Obamaplease, thanks for the link, according to the DoublePlusGoodRightThink article, you’d think the whole place was covered with nothing but blackface stuff.

    But: Fox News asking if a “coup” was occurring is outrageous hyperbole.

    Lesson: slap the disruptive children until they learn to behave like civilized adults.

  10. Up until recently we had a great fried chicken place called Chicken and More owned and run by a black gentleman from Texas in downtown Spokane, they had great fried chicken, a little pricey but well worth it and they also had great catfish sandwiches as well. I still haven’t been to Popeye’s yet, either the one in Kalispell, Mt. since I’m there always early before lunchtime or the new one just recently opened in Post Falls, Id.

  11. Still have a Chicken in the Rough here where I live. Used to be a national franchise. Not many left. Anybody remember them?

  12. I don’t care. There’s a hell of a lot of ‘black culture’ I see all around me that I find offensive and there’s zero chance it’s going away, so if blacks don’t like the place, don’t go there.

  13. @Mr. Anth Ropy: I didn’t even know White people were allowed to go Popeye’s. I’m pretty sure there’s a law against it where I live, based on what I’ve seen.


  14. Sambo’s, I believe was in the Denny’s restaurant family. Ate at one on my Journey to Cali. in the 70’s. The one I was in had a nightclub attached to it. When we were there Red Skeleton walked through the restaurant to enter the nightclub.

  15. TO Anonymous
    I doubt it’s mainly the blacks complaining about ot…as much as the sanctimonious, “I-know-what’s-good-for-blacks” WHITES.

  16. Ya know… this whole topic was in a film … Ghost World. Anyone see that? That was several years ago, when it came out. Exact same illustration, exact same name, everything! Maybe this sign is a hold over from that film? You can buy props from Hollywood films. Hell, I have several 30’s dresses from those sales.

    Alas…. Somebody has got to be pissed off about something. I feel, It’s their only reason to live.

  17. Shouldn’t have put it up in the first place… You know nothing good is going to happen!

    That said, it’s just a dumb sign.

  18. Like the boy who cried wolf, the OUTRAGE card of the perpetually offended has been overused and is losing its power. I don’t care who is offended by what anymore. I won’t even complain if I see my kind portrayed as monkeys like they used to back when Irish were not considered “white”. I don’t care. Life is too short to waste it freaking out over who considers what to be art.

  19. Brooke, I must respectfully disagree. Every inch we give, three more are demanded.

    Like you say, it’s just a dumb sign.

    We must learn to ignore the whiners or we will most certainly lose what’s left of our civilization.

  20. Drop it down the Memory Hole.
    Wasn’t that Winston Smith’s job?

    “… he who controls the past controls the future, and he who controls the present controls the past.”

    It may be absurd, but it certainly ain’t no fucking joke.

    izlamo delenda est …

  21. The Sambo’s now Denny’s restaurant in Spokane used to have coffee for .25 and you could drink all the coffee you want for that price. I made the mistake one night back in the mid 70’s when I was out with some friends of drinking at least 20 cups of coffee in addition to eating . Boy did I ever pay for that, I was up all night peeing and couldn’t sleep, never again will I drink that much coffee, it was horrible.

  22. “Holy Mackerel, Andy. Ize so sad I missed them finger-lickin’ good wings. Ahwah, ahwah, ahwah.”

    – Da’ Kingfish

  23. Bongopoofter, There’s a Sambos (original) in Santa Barbara and there’s a line waiting to get in. I’ve been there and it’s a cute place.
    It has nothing to do with racism, black people or black anything and they’re not going to change their name.

    “The restaurant is currently owned and managed by the original founders’ grandson, Chad Stevens. Sambo’s continues the family tradition established by Chad’s grandfather Sam. (In fact SAMBO’S name has it roots based solely on the original “franchise” formed by Sam ( Sam Battistone ) and Bo – Sam’s business associate, Newell Bohnett ).”

    The art on the walls is similar to ‘Jungle Book ‘ from Disney. I had a the best grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup there.

  24. Black Cow was also a popular candy bar. Face of a cartoon Black Angus cow as a logo. Regional and possibly national distribution. Last time I saw one was probably the 90s.

    They were great. Big hard caramel rectangle on a popsickle stick.
    They probably made a lot of Orthodontists rich.
    Ah, the candies of yesteryear.

  25. OK I went to the Cook’s Garage site and looked at the menus. Let me ask the idiots out there complaining- If the people who own that restaurant are rayciss, why would they sell street tacos and other Mexican food? I saw gas station/ auto- related signs. Are any of those rayciss, too? Are they too carbon footprinty? So dumb.

  26. Tried once to find a “Golden Book” or similar of Little Black Sambo.
    Very Difficult.
    Finally got an older copy.
    Turns out it’s a British story and LBS is Indian (spot not feather).

  27. I like revisionist history. I believe that we should all be able to go into our personal and personnel records and expunge anything we don’t like, i.e., bad grades, tickets, timeouts, letters to the file, convictions, negative appraisals, warnings, chewing gum, running in the halls, etc!

  28. Different Tim- Didn’t see anything like that. The place is smallish and there were just cute little apartments around it. Santa Barbara, IMO, is one of the most boring places on Earth, but with a beach. LOL.

  29. Boobie- Yeah, that character always looked south Asian-ish to me. Especially with that Bengal Tiger. Don’t know why people labeled him ‘black’.

  30. I remember the Sambo’s Restaurant chain of diners. Classic diner food.
    There was absolutely nothing about Black Americana in their decor or marketing.
    I remember some Disney-like background art with a Mowgli-Jungle Book theme. It was East Indian, not American black, and Indian Sambo outwits and escapes the tiger who is chasing him.

    The Leftist rewriting of US History is accelerating. The Left’s war on everything white–including white Leftists themselves–is accelerating.

    13% of the population are being systematically programmed to hate the majority, who incidentally provide the food, housing, care and very existence of much of the 13%, even as the 13% embraces the rhetoric of white genocide.

    There are few scenarios in which this ends well for the 13%.

  31. Coon Chicken served still served dark meat, so what’s the problem?

    Advice: stay away from fried chicken establishments on, near or about an MLK blvd.

  32. Actually, the author of Little Black Sambo was a Scot by the name of Helen Bannerman. Great story of a small Indian lad who agained his belongings from the greedy tigers who had stripped him of his new clothes, shoes and umbrella. The tigers latched onto each others tails around a tree and chased each other until they turned into butter. Sambo, Mumbo (his Mother) and Jumbo (Father) then ate pancakes made from the butter…… Fun story!

  33. Here in Salt Lake the Coon Chicken Inn is still legendary.
    There are thousands of people with the last name Coon here also.
    I guess they are all racists too. But, this idiocy is becoming tiresome.

  34. Years ago Sambos was our gathering place when punching out after second shift.
    Pie and ice cream or maybe a breakfast plate for only a few bucks.
    Coffee was 25 cents and sometimes they would give us a wooden “nickel”, good for a free cup. I still have a couple of them.
    Sadly, the chain was run out of business by black activists.
    A great place. Denny’s is a poor substitute.

  35. There’s a Sambo’s in Santa Barbara. In the children’s story, Little Black Sambo outwits 5 tigers. Tigers are native to India, not Africa. Little Black Sambo was a Hindu-, not an African-American.

    I used to work for a dark skinned man from India, whose skin tone was darker that Stevie Wonder’s, yet he was racially Caucasian, as shown by his naturally straight, black hair.


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