Salt Lake's Infamous "Coon Chicken Inn"
Salt Lake's "Coon Chicken Inn" was established in 1925 and stayed in business until the 1950s. It is well known because of it's caricatures of an African-American male rooted in 19th century minstrel theatre. It was the first of the infamous three-restaurant chain with locations established in Portland and Seattle in the following years.
Backstory and Context
The restaurant's name makes use of a racial slur and the restaurant claimed to offer authentic "mammy-made" fried chicken. Every part of the restaurant used racialized images and imagery from slavery in an attempt to establish itself as an authentic and unique restaurant that took its white customers back to the "good old days" of the antebellum South. The door and the restaurant's logo was designed to look like a smiling blackface caricature of porter. Although African Americans in these three cities protested against the racist slurs and caricatures, the restaurants stayed in business until the 1950s.
The only complaints from the nearly all-white city of Salt Lake came in 1927 when rumors were afoot that the owners were serving alcohol. After several delays, the charges against the owners were dismissed.
The video below is not an actual commercial for the restaurant, but rather a scene from filmmaker Kevin Wilmott's modern film CSA that lampoons these sorts of racist restaurants and products with fake commercials.
http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/tgm28/id/72423 http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/murray/id/102502 http://www.blackpast.org/aaw/coon-chicken-inn