Humorless City of Keene Targets New Vietnamese Restaurant Over “Offensive” Name & Sign

Pho Keene Great - Offensive According to City Gang

Pho Keene Great – Offensive According to City Gang

Longtime readers of Free Keene will remember Isabelle Rose who made headlines when her Vietnamese food truck began accepting cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. For more than a year, Rose has been working hard on transitioning from food truck to full-service restaurant in downtown Keene! Unfortunately, the people calling themselves the “City of Keene” have decided to make Rose’s life much more difficult.

On Christmas Eve, Rose received a call from the new city manager, Elizabeth Dragon, who in a bid to apparently look more ridiculous than her predecessors, demanded Rose take down the recently-placed sign in the windows of her new location announcing her restaurant was coming soon… right next to city hall.

Why did Rose have to take down the sign? The city manager cited the city’s ridiculously restrictive and anti-business sign codes, but secondly the entire name of the business is now being targeted by the city gang. Rose had chosen the name “Pho Keene Great”, as her place will be serving the delicious pho noodle soups that made her food truck a hit with customers and brought much-needed ethnic flavor to Keene.

Pho Keene Great - T-Shirts Available at Rt 101 Local Goods!

Pho Keene Great – T-Shirts Available at Rt 101 Local Goods!

Rose says that Dragon told her the name of the business is “offensive and not appropriate” and wants to meet to discuss potential changes. Strange timing, considering the city manager was aware of the name back in February of 2018, since the city owns the property that Rose is renting and Rose sent Dragon an email with her business name in February and then signed a lease including the name of the restaurant in April.

Now all of a sudden “Pho Keene Great” is a problem? After the city has been paid rent for most of a year? After Rose has paid thousands of dollars renovating the space, working up signage and even t-shirts featuring her new logo? The shirts were already cool but now with the extra publicity thanks to the city’s stupidity, they are likely going to be a collector’s item! The good news is that as of this article’s writing, there are all sizes available, including ladies tees, exclusively at Route 101 Local Goods at 661 Marlboro St. in Keene! Get over there and get yours while you still can! Yes, you can also order them online.

By the way, the Sentinel only beat Free Keene to the story on this because at her request, I agreed to not break the news until after Rose’s meeting with Dragon, set to happen in the New Year, but apparently the Sentinel didn’t respect that request, so now I’m going ahead with the news since the Sentinel broke it. Rest assured, the ACLU is being contacted regarding this case, and Rose intends to fight for her freedom of speech.

Further, the City of Keene’s sign ordinance is ridiculous and should be abolished entirely, though some have even said that Pho Keene Great’s temporary sign, placed inside the windows, didn’t violate the city’s ordinances at all. However, on the down side, Rose is unfortunately under a lease with the city gang, which means she’s under greater restriction than even the normal insane city sign ordinances. That said, the city is still a municipal corporation and free speech should still have some weight here. It will be interesting to see how this case develops.

Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the real story on Pho Keene Great!

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  1. I hate to say it but; a freekeene post advocating for the sign… Put it this way ; a relation to freekeene may have put the sign on the cities resistance radar in the first place

  2. After much thought ,I say this falls under “pick your battles” … The city has a point…. Saying the city is “humorless” in this situation just shows the immaturity of the person who wrote this. P.S. If you want to be accepted in Keene, saddling up to FK is like saddling up to a boat anchor

  3. How did Pho Keene Great sale up to FK? What does that mean?

  4. Call me naive or unhip but how is that name offensive?

  5. There is nothing offensive about the name or sign. The reader can make what they want out of it just like the listener can with “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” It’s only offensive to those with a depraved dirty mind! Leave this business alone! I give them props for coming up with something catchy instead of boring! Freedom of speech should prevail and the spelling on the sign makes a difference too!

  6. She violated the lease agreement. She should have educated herself about the stipulations of the lease before posting a sign and spending all that money on shirts and other toys, trinkets, and trash. Pho is pronounced Fu in Vietnamese so you can see the concern. On the other hand, people who are offended by the name need to educate themselves that it is a Vietnamese word. The city never said they didn’t want to work with her on this. Hopefully everything works out.

  7. I wouldn’t have thought anything about the sign… Till that lady said it was whatever.. I never would have thought anything …

  8. Michelle they say pho Keene can be turned into fucking

  9. Zhaliberty… Saddle…ie equate …

  10. If there was a contract with pho Keene great … It sounds like the city is reneging or breaking the contract … So I imagine pho Keene great might have a good case if they want to fight the city… Fighting isn’t a auspicious start.. though…

  11. Pho is actually pronounced Fur

  12. David Crawford obviously has a relationship with FreeKeene he posts comments all the time

  13. The city is overstepping its bounds. But I have to say these puns on “pho” are incredibly stupid and so 15 years ago. Vietnamese food is one of the world’s great elegant cuisines, and you just debase it with “What the Pho” “Pho King” and “Pho Shizzle” and “Pho Sure” as if you were opening some fast-food chain restaurant. Someone who is actually Vietnamese would NEVER step foot in these establishment gimmicks. If you can’t take your name seriously, the pho probably isn’t going to be serious either.

  14. Let’s see, two attempts at the mispronunciation of “pho.” Not “fu” nor “fur,” it’s “fuh.” That is the reason for concern. Personally, her attitude, as quoted in the Sentinel isn’t going to help future patronage. Saying she is going to keep the name because, I paraphrase, “it’s a free world,” is not the best PR to launch your business. Yes, great for publicity, but a terrible attitude. I have really been looking forward to her opening, now I’m questioning if I will even go.

  15. “She violated the lease agreement.”

    That isn’t at all clear and a lease agreement with a city can’t legally require prohibitions on what the government cant legally require. ie If the government can’t censor neither can it require it in a lease agreement.

    “She should have educated herself about the stipulations of the lease”

    You assume she didn’t and the name of the business was already set when the lease agreement was signed so any objections should have been made then. They agreed to the name incidentally by accepting the signed lease.

    “before posting a sign and spending all that money on shirts and other toys, trinkets, and trash. Pho is pronounced Fu in Vietnamese so you can see the concern. ”

    No, I don’t. I didn’t see it until someone pointed it out to me. The reason I didn’t see it is because I understand how to read. Let me explain it. Those spaces mean you are supposed to pause between the words when pronounced. You would have to intentionally miss-pronounce the name to make it “offensive” to a small group of people.

    If you ignore the language and use of spaces you can come up with all sorts of absurd and offensive words/names/abbreviations/etc. It’s ridicules. Based on that logic I write a lot of “bad words” on a daily basis. Sometimes I type in “fsck” to my computer. I use concepts such as master and slave, etc. Entirely non-offensive within context even if they might otherwise be construed to means something entirely different.

  16. “That is the reason for concern. ”

    umm so other peoples immaturity is going to result in you not eating at her establishment because she doesn’t want to play that game? That’s downright dumb. I mean seriously. What is the big deal about sex and fucking anyway. If you ask me the immature thing is to act as though sex isn’t something near every human being does. It’s perfectly natural and there isn’t anything wrong with it. The people who are demented are the ones who freak out about imaginary beings who don’t even exist there children being harmed by non-existent or nearly non-existent “threats” or “dangers”.

    “Personally, her attitude, as quoted in the Sentinel isn’t going to help future patronage.”

    Not everybody thinks like you. Her attitude and standing up to the city of which most people dislike can only do her business good. While it’s sad that such a stuck up crowd tend to be the ones who take the time to go out and vote it’s not the will of the majority and won’t negatively impact the business. This publicity is actually a good thing for her business even if it turns away a small group of nutters. New Hampshire is actually one of the least religious in the US. When asked which religion people associate with the largest is non-religious. It’s not other or anything like that either.

  17. Are you in Keene ok… If you are I bet it’s not long

  18. Pretty sure Tim isnt in Keene either, so I guess his gets to be corrected about his pronounciation of pho and his knowledge of FK and Keene.. So he’s two for two

  19. David Crawford you must lead a very boring existence without much else to do besides contribute to the hot air level in Keene cuz you sure seem to spew out a lot of it. Maybe you should be a politician?

  20. Jacks my love, Ms. Dragon’s demand was made with all of the usual implicit threats you’d expect with any other order made by Keene’s ruling class. You’re not this stupid, sweet pea. No one would interpret this as being a genuine effort to “work with” anyone.

  21. Shush “Wally”…I guess you are “spewing” pearls…I think Wally is Tim, bye Wally/Tim

  22. Hey Jumpking Jacks,
    Since you are obviously a legal expert, could you please enlighten us as how when their lease contained the name of the business using the name of the business violates the lease? Did you actually read the article? The city knew of the name since February and they had a signed lease with the name on April. Maybe it is the city who should have educated themselves about what they signed

  23. Anyone who doesn’t think this business is named “fucking great”’is an idiot.

  24. Mari – rules are made by your elected officials. Did you vote? Personally I think this whole thing is silly and I’m sure it will turn around and she can keep the name Pho posted on her sign.

  25. Huh? Jumping Jacks, your response is totally unrelated to what I said. Now iam convinced not only are you a lawyer but a politician as well. I probably did not vote for you though.
    I am sure my vote affected how the city will accept a business name when rhey sign a lease but not months later.

  26. I don’t see a problem . People are offended a way to fast ! I bet the name will bring lots of people to the downtown area and that’s pretty good for local business. That’s a name that will go viral . Now it’s bothering somebody ? Oh come on.

  27. No Mari. Jacks is neither a lawyer nor a politician. But he sure does think highly of himself, doesn’t he? And did you notice how much faith he has in that vote of his? Why, by the way he talks you’d think it gives him some sort of real power over everyone! Pitiful, isn’t it?

  28. David Crawford I can assure you that I am not the Tim you are referring to and I can also assure you I think you’re just another blowhard asshole with a very miserable life. Dry up Pee Wee.

  29. Free Keene is a Pho Keene joke.

  30. Obviously its a play on words but it’s not clever or cute… Don’t play as if you’re now naive and modest to it. Anyway, government has a broad scope of authority over business and commerce. It’s fine making lemonade and sharing it with friends – charge a fee for it, however, and it becomes a regulated activity.

    I hate to tell you Rose, but your goose is cooked.

  31. People seriously need a life…. it’s a name of a business who cares! They think their food is fucking great… so go have a bowl of their famous noodles that made them ever so popular and decide for yourself…

  32. Whatever you say Wally cleaver

  33. Preach it, comrade Wayward!. We all just love it when communists like yourself beg for even more government busybodying!

  34. pho
    noun: pho; plural noun: phos

    a type of Vietnamese soup, typically made from beef stock and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added.

    Vietnamese, perhaps from French feu (in pot-au-feu).

  35. It just seems like a sad waste of money.. . Everyone is happy to have a great resterant with great food and roots for it to win! And can’t wait till it open! Then it’s has to turn into this torch for the F word. .. . Everyone is saying the food is great!

  36. Ian knows the Free Keene brand. .. will do the opposite of helping a fledgling business.. . He knows this. If it is true that he’s giving financial support to the business he should know to do it way in the background. Instead he’s hamstringing a startup, for really stupid reasons. It was just conveyed by a city official that the deal for the space was made for a differant name, and not with pho keene great.

  37. Another thing it does… . Just when you thought it was over. .. .. it’s a really dumb thing for FK to drag itself back into the limelight with.. . Because lol that town will be like”oh yea freekeene sucks” . Just when they may have started thinking FK had grown up lol. 🙂 . I hope i don’t sound too mean, it’s just true, I’m in Keene so i do have a sense of things, not saying I’m completely right but i could be

  38. ok update.. i guess upon further investigation the same city official discovered that the deal WAS made with pho keene great (contrary to earlier statements)

  39. David Crawford: You might be a bit weird and creepy even by libertarian standards, but don’t let your interactions with a small group of us have a negative influence on us as a whole. There are bound to be lots more libertarians who are super creepy move to town as time progresses that won’t have any issue with you even if they’ve been few and far between up to this point. As libertarians go it seems most are oddballs but surprisingly few that I’ve interacted with have appeared to be all that creepy. Even the ones who have expressed views boarding on potentially creepy particularly if one does not fully grasp the stance and why aren’t relative to some of those online.

    PS I’d still vote for you on election night.

  40. She should put a naked image of herself to pair with pho Keene since that’s the intention. And remove the oriental with cone hat and chopsticks. Naked blonde! Naked blonde! Sex and money! Sex and money! The girls who work there should be blondes wearing mini dresses and high heels. Objectify them! Fetishize them!

  41. The owner is a looker! Who wouldn’t want to see her naked!

  42. i have had zero interesting with you Karen, you don’t know me.. . don’t believe the gossip. .

  43. *interactions

  44. This could only happen in Keene. It would never happen in Derry. I just love Derry air

  45. Are you kidding me. Worry about your country being closed down and all those folks who are not getting paid…that’s an appetizer. Speaking if food, it is pronounced fah/fuh.

  46. Hey Chris! Have you stopped to wonder why we should care about this close-down? Why we should feel sorry for people who have to give up a job where they get to play on Facebook for six hours of their eight-hour shift? Why we should have sympathy for people working in unnecessary jobs that we’re forced to pay for? Let’s be honest here, Chris. These “services” they offer us are so useless, they’re being made to virtually disappear by politicians as a negotiation tactic. Why shouldn’t they just be fired outright? No one would miss them anyway.

  47. I would eat there being as I love pho. And I have various friends off different nationalities who love the play on words. Why? Because we have a sense of humor. I do not believe this to be a suite and tie restaurant, where seriousness is required. So play on!!! Life can be so serious but does our places of eating have to be? I do not know if people are afraid of what they children will think. I believe them growning up thinking the working is associated with a restraint with great soup is pretty awesome. But what do I jnow? I’m a Minnesotan. =)

  48. Restaurant***

    Yikes that’s what I get for posting too fast. Where’s the grammar police.

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