A Portland burrito shop was forced to shut down because it was owned by two white women. The owners of Kooks Burritos have been accused of cultural appropriation and suffered intense backlash online after their highly successful taco truck was featured in an article in a local newspaper.
Kali Wilgus and Liz “LC” Connelly, the two white women who owned Kooks Burritos, opened the Portland shop after taking a trip to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico last year. All the trouble, and the ultimate demise of the Oregon burrito truck, began after the nearly immediate popularity of the new business prompted a Williamette Week reporter to speak with Wilgus and Connelly.
One the story about Kooks Burritos and their breakfast burritos ran, the two white women were accused of both “stealing” their recipes and cultural appropriation.
“I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did,” LC Connelly told the Portland area newspaper. “In Puerto Nuevo, you can eat $5 lobster on the beach, which they give you with this bucket of tortillas. They are handmade flour tortillas that are stretchy and a little buttery, and best of all, unlimited.”
The comments by the white woman who dared to open a burrito business with her friend quickly sparked intense hatred from social media posters. Her follow-up comment appears to have primarily led to the theft of recipes charge levied against her on the internet.
“They wouldn’t tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn’t quite that easy,” Connelly added.
Update: Kooks Burritos has closed. No brunch this weekend. https://t.co/So3o7NB3xX
— Willamette Week???? (@wweek) May 20, 2017
Once an Oregon food blog, the Portland Mercury, caught wind of the story about two white women opening a burrito shop after a trip to Mexico, Kali Wilgus and Liz Connelly were then accused of “preying” on the female residents of Puerto Nuevo and having essentially “colonized” their menu items.
“This week in white nonsense, two white women—Kali Wilgus and Liz ‘LC’ Connelly—decided it would be cute to open a food truck after a fateful excursion to Mexico,” a report by the food blog began, according to the Daily Mail. “So let’s recap the story thus far: These two white women went to Mexico, ate tacos, and then decided they would just take what the locals clearly didn’t want to give them.”
The angst of the food bloggers spread rapidly in the Portland. Claims the two white women stole “intellectual property” and simply repackaged it as their own caused turmoil for the weekend taco truck and the now infamously delicious burritos.
The two friends likely had no idea they would ever be accused of exploiting “marginalized” people to turn a profit when they followed their dreams and opened the burrito shop.
The closure of the Kooks Burritos truck was deemed a “victory” by the food blog. The city was also accused of exhibiting “underlying racism” by the Portland Mercury bloggers.
People are really mad I wrote this because I guess we all have to agree https://t.co/N60Qdt39UH
— Crystal Contreras (@crystalatencio) May 23, 2017
Not all on social media posters chimed in with the folks lambasting the two white women for opening a taco truck. One viral post about Kook Burritos pointed out LC Connelly was almost certainly speaking metaphorically when saying she and Kali Mingus looked in windows at women making burritos during their trip to Mexico.
Breakfast burritos, along with many other traditional Mexican foods, are sold at a vast array of restaurants across the country, and yes, even in Portland. Kooks Burritos has now closed all of its social media accounts.
What do you think about the two white women who opened a burrito shop being run out of business over cultural appropriation claims?
[Feature Image by Prostock-studio/Shutterstock]