Restaurant In Hot Water Over “Grilled Cheese”

MAMAembedVia Resto La Mama Grilled Cheese Facebook.

A restaurant in Quebec is in hot water over its language — literally. The Resto La Mama Grilled Cheese Gourmet has gotten in trouble with Canadian language officials over the use of the English words “grilled cheese” in its name.

Canada’s Global News reports that the restaurant, located in Quebec City, recently received a notice from language authority the Office québécois de la langue française. The office ordered the restaurant to eliminate the English words in its name and menu. Quebec, which holds the largest French-speaking population in North America, requires in its Charter of the French Language that all public signs, including commercial advertising, be predominantly French.

The issue? The words “grilled cheese” and the slogan “enjoy mama” — the latter of which is a play on an old Coca-Cola slogan, which was advertised in English. But the restaurant’s owner, Stephane Rheaume, says that everybody calls the simple sandwich a "grilled cheese," no matter what language they speak. “I’ve never had a client walk in and say they want a ‘sandwich de fromage fondu,’” he told CTV, literally translating the name. The irony? The word "sandwich" itself, another loanword from English, doesn’t seem to be in question.

The French-language website Le Journal de Québec reported that a spokesman for the language authority’s office said that the name of the restaurant was used only as an example and the restaurant would not be required to change its name. But Rheaume believes that it was the media attention that changed the office’s mind. “After further developments and because of all the media attention, it seems that after all ‘grilled cheese’ might not be problematic,” he told Global News.

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