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Regional differences in slang force owners to change Connecticut restaurant name

The storefront of the Coño/El Condado Grill Restaurant in Meriden, CT. (Photo: Via Facebook)

The storefront of the Coño/El Condado Grill Restaurant in Meriden, CT. (Photo: Via Facebook)

A restaurant in Meriden, Connecticut, is changing its name.

Not typically earth-shattering news, but at least a little curious when the restaurant in question, the newly re-christened El Condado Grill Restaurant, is only a few weeks old.

The controversy centers on the Spanish word “coño,” which refers to part of the female genitalia and is considered very vulgar, but throughout the Caribbean basin — including Puerto Rico, where restaurant owners Luis and Tania Negron grew up — it’s a milder term used to express surprise or disappointment.

Luis Negron, 27, who was previously a manager at a Wells Fargo bank but grew up with a number of relatives who ran eating establishments, decided to open an upscale restaurant with his wife as its chef.

They found a likely location in Meriden, a town of nearly 60,000 — about a third of whom are of Latino descent — 15 miles west of Waterbury.

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The couple went through a number of possible names, finally settling on something that they believed “people will remember forever”: the Coño Grill Restaurant.

Negron explained to the Meriden Record-Journal a few weeks ago that his father operated a restaurant by that name in a small beach town in Puerto Rico.

“If we eat something and it tastes good, we say coño,” he told the paper. The restaurant’s slogan was to be, “Coño, deliciously good.”

But after receiving a number of complaints from people, the Negrons decided to change its name to El Condado, after the section of San Juan where Luis’ family is from.

“Seventy percent of the dishes I serve at the restaurant were made in that specific town,” Negron told the Record-Journal recently. “They’re dishes that my father made, that were brought down from his mother.”

The dictionary definition “didn’t really cross my mind,” he said. “[Coño] means something totally different in Puerto Rico than it does in South America.”

The new slogan, “Sabor latino (“Latin flavor”), deliciously good,” may not roll off the tongue as easily, but, with a lot of people, it’s sure to go down a whole lot smoother.

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