‘Soup Nazi’ restaurant name provokes anger, vandalism in Washington state

Eatery named after Seinfeld episode defaced immediately after it opens; glib signage ‘makes light of the horrors of the Holocaust,’ local rabbi says

The Soup Nazi Kitchen restaurant. (Courtesy/Tim Ellis via JTA)
The Soup Nazi Kitchen restaurant. (Courtesy/Tim Ellis via JTA)

JTA — The restaurant signage went up on Tuesday in Everett, Washington: The Soup Nazi Kitchen, a reference to the famous episode of “Seinfeld” that features the angry owner of a soup eatery.

By Wednesday afternoon, the unopened storefront was riddled with pellet bullet holes and spray paint, according to the Everett Herald Business Journal. And owner Andrew Ho, who has a history of controversial opinions, had heard complaints from the small city’s local Jewish community. So he removed “Nazi” from the sign.

The restaurant’s logo featured a cartoonish woman looking angry and holding a whip.

“It really diminishes and makes light of the horrors of the Holocaust,” Rabbi Rachel Kort of Everett’s Temple Beth Or told the Herald Business Journal.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Pacific Northwest regional director, Miri Cypers, also objected to the name, saying it dredged up painful memories of Nazis starving Jews in death camps. Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin lamented that she could not require the restaurant to change its name.

“The City of Everett is a Safe City and strives to be inclusive and welcoming for all residents and visitors,” Franklin wrote in a social media post on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, recent US Supreme Court decisions have greatly restricted the City’s authority to regulate the wording of signs and largely prohibits the City from banning signs based on the hateful or offensive wording in that sign.”

Ho said he was jokingly referred to as the “juice Nazi” by customers at his previous eatery, the Alive Juice Bar in the northern outskirts of Seattle. He was hoping to play off that nickname and had already printed shirts with the Soup Nazi name on them — which he will not sell, the Herald Business Journal reported.

On his blog, Ho added that he wanted to be provocative and respond to “the lockdown and social distancing measures” imposed during the COVID pandemic.

He also wrote:

“White supremacy is not on the rise. Nationalism — wrongly conflated with White supremacy — everywhere is on the rise, which is a reasonable response to globalism, the rule of transnational corporations with the US as its private security force.”

Ho has written several other inflammatory blog posts, including a recent one disparaging Dr. Anthony Fauci, and self-published books with titles such as “How to Cook Like a Racist” and “How to look f***able while pregnant.”

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