One man’s rations is another’s racism. That’s what a Manhattan pizzeria named Pizza by Certé discovered when passersby noticed the sign for a summertime specialty — and promptly uploaded a snapshot of the same to Instagram. The sign advertised a pizza slice with the curious name “Pic-a-nika” and even more curious toppings, among them Southern-fried chicken and watermelon.
The owner of the restaurant maintains that the name of the creation comes from the lilting manner in which his father, who emigrated here from Italy, pronounces the word picnic. And what foods are more common picnic fare than fried chicken and watermelon?
But those foods are also stereotypes. And the nika part of the name? Well that may come a little too close for comfort to a well-known racial slur.
Be that as it may, Pizza by Certé’s manager, Victor Guzman, told New York station WPIX that the dish — which also includes decidedly non-stereotypical ingredients such as baby arugula, goat cheese, ricotta, blue cheese, and sunflower seeds — is a best-seller and is here to stay.
But these are highly emotional times. It has taken far less than this to inflame passions. If you want to sample a slice of Pic-a-nika, my advice is to hurry.
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