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Saffron Colonial
Saffron Colonial
Mattie John Bamman/EPDX

Over the weekend, a second protest was held at Saffron Colonial, the controversial new colonial-themed bakery, cafe, and restaurant on North Williams Avenue. Saffron Colonial offered a free meal to anyone who ate at the restaurant during the outcry, from 2 to 6 p.m., then the restaurant's publicist called a protestor the c-word.

How did things get to this point? Here's the breakdown:

  • On March 10, Eater Portland announced Saffron Colonial's soft opening.
  • In the days following, members of the public, including the Portland chapter of #BlackLivesMatter, accused the restaurant on social media for glorifying colonialism.
  • On March 16, the phmelody :: bikes :: equity blog took issue with a restaurant "that celebrates colonialism" and is located on N. Williams Avenue, where gentrification has been extensively criticized.
  • On March 17, Willamette Week published the article, "Portland Now Has a 'British Colonial Cuisine' Restaurant," echoing these sentiments.
  • On March 18, Portland freelance journalist Zahir Janmohamed published "On Portland's Saffron Colonial," recounting the horrors of colonialism in India, in Medium.com.
  • Then Krantz told the Oregonian she would not change the name of her restaurant. She said, "For me, it's about the cultural melding of food around the world, focusing on how England has transformed and affected cuisine where they've been present, be it America, India or Sri Lanka."
  • Next, Portlanders held a March 19 protest at Saffron Colonial organized by Stephanie Duncker, program manager for Startup PDX Challenge. Between 50 and 75  protesters presented an open letter to Krantz with a variety of demands, including that she change the restaurant's name and "plantation-themed" drinks. One protestor published this picture:
  • On March 23, Ristretto Roasters severed ties with Saffron Colonial.
  • At some point, Saffron Colonial's Yelp page was beset by politically motived reviews, and Yelp stopped accepting new reviews, which continues at the time of publication.
  • On March 24, Krantz denied the connection between her restaurant and colonialism in a video interview on KOIN 6. KOIN also reported a second protest would happen Easter weekend.
  • On March 25, OPB's Think Out Loud brought together Krantz and protest organizer Duncker. In part, the debate focused on whether Krantz is celebrating colonialism or the food that came out of colonialism, and the interview ends with Krantz and Duncker at loggerheads.
  • As numerous friendly and not-so-friendly debates have taken place in article comment sections (here and here) and on social media (herehere, and here), one question has appeared repeatedly: If Saffron Colonial is a racially insensitive name for a restaurant, what about other restaurant names, such as Conquistador on SE Belmont and similarly named restaurants?
  • From Norfolk, England, Antony Copland wrote, "An Open Letter to Anti-Colonial Protesters of Saffron Colonial."
  • Last Friday, Saffron Colonial announced by press release it would hold its own event during the Easter weekend protest. In part, it read, "This is an open invitation for all sides in the debate, with any viewpoint, to join us in celebrating a new beginning by coming anytime between 2 and 6 p.m. on Easter Sunday so that we can prepare you a meal on us."
  • Today, WWeek reports Saffron Colonial's publicist wrote a now-deleted Facebook post that read, "So we had more idiot protestors at the restaurant this afternoon. I especially liked the one who thought he was all Wall St. Occupy with his hoodie up and covering his face for the teargas we had stashed in the shop! He didn't like it when I told him he looked like a cunt."
While the thoughtful and not-so-thoughtful discussions and debates continue, Saffron Colonial maintains that it will not change its name. No new protests have been announced, yet, and the international media has turned its attention to the controversy. Stay tuned, as things develop.

Saffron Colonial

4120 N. Williams, Portland, OR 97211 503 719 5164 Visit Website

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