U.S.-Be careful about ordering Pizza Patron’s La Ch!#gona pie in mixed company. The Dallas-based restaurant group is making enemies with the name of the new pizza — a Spanish descriptor questionable enough that Pizza Patron is giving it curse-word treatment by using symbols in marketing materials.
The word “la chingona” loosely translates to an adjective like “bad-ass,” explained several Spanish speakers, but it isn’t a descriptor many were willing to utter aloud over and over.
“This is a word you use in a very relaxed atmosphere with people of your same age or background,” said Victor Arriaga, deputy consul at the Consulate General of Mexico in Dallas. “If you’re going to meet your in-laws for the first time, you probably wouldn’t use it.”
The brand director at Pizza Patron was more candid: Some of the franchise owners “hate” the name and have refused to sell the pizza, said Andrew Gamm, brand director at Pizza Patron. In fact, about 10 to 15 percent of the company’s 90 stores have elected not to sell the La Ch!#gona Pizza when it becomes available at other stores on March 31.
All the D-FW-area stores — about 35 in total — will sell it, however, Gamm said.
The pizza comes with 90 slices of jalapeno-infused pepperoni, plus more diced jalapeno on top. It’s intended to be hot hot hot. “We thought it was a perfect name for a pizza that’s actually a challenging pizza to eat,” Gamm said.
Execs at Pizza Patron seem to feed on controversy. In 2007, they launched the Pizza Por Pesos campaign, where customers could pay for dinner (in the U.S.) with Mexican pesos. In 2012, they hatched Pizza Por Favor, where customers who ordered in Spanish got a free pizza. Those “struck a nerve” with non-Hispanics, Gamm remembers.
This new pizza is now upsetting another customer base: Mexicans. “Some will be offended, yes,” Arriaga said. “Some will find it funny. Some will think it’s taunting.”
The company argues in a letter posted to their website that double entendres are part of Mexican culture.
“I would assume [if this pizza were given the same name] in English, people would have reactions,” Arriaga said.