A pop-up burger restaurant in Australia called Pablo’s Escoburgers lives up to its name with Escobar-themed branding and burgers served with a tongue-in-cheek line of a white powdery substance that is presumably not actually cocaine, the Daily Mail reports. Pablo Escobar was an internationally infamous Colombian drug lord whose net worth has been estimated as high as $30 billion before his death in 1993.
Pablo’s Escoburgers appeared to local acclaim in the Melbourne area, recently finding viral internet notoriety thanks largely to a number of social media posts from diners. Especially eye-catching on Instagram and elsewhere has been their signature offering “patron burger,” which includes a cocaine-like line of garlic flour atop the bun, paired with a neatly rolled fake $100 bill.
The patron burger includes “a line worth waiting for,” posted one customer online.
The social media posts generated a mixture of delight and criticism to the restaurant, with some of the negative response eventually prompting an official statement from Escoburgers co-owner Vaughn Marks.
“We are very proud of our burgers but we do also understand that Pablo Escobar was a horrible man who destroyed the lives of thousands of Colombians,” Marks wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “We do not condone, idolize or promote Pablo Emilio Escobar or his actions in anyway. We are however Australian and know how to have a laugh about a good play on words.”
Even so, plenty of commenters online have not appreciated the gag, with many accusing the restaurant of glorifying drug use, if not murder and terrorism.
“You are so naive,” wrote one user in response to the post online. “I hope one day you actually tap to a Columbian [sic] and realize how offensive this is.”
Marks went on to point out that their intent was to amuse, not offend, adding that plenty of Colombians seem to enjoy their hamburgers. Despite the backlash, Pablo’s Escoburgers currently have no plans to change the name.
Pablo Escobar was a real-life drug kingpin whose brutal tactics and unimaginable wealth captured the attention of much of the world, particularly during the peak of his drug trade in the 1980s. He has been connected with the coordination of hundreds of murders before he himself was killed in 1993.
That means the average social media twenty-something was not yet born before his death. Escobar’s popularity among the younger generation, however, has spiked in recent years largely due to the Netflix original series Narcos, which dramatically chronicled the rise and fall of Escobar.