Restaurant changing name of Crack Fries, CEO says crack epidemic was never funny

A Michigan-based restaurant chain announced it is changing the name of a popular menu item next year.

Detroit Free Press reported that HopCat is renaming its Crack Fries at all 17 of the gastropub's locations, which are mostly in Michigan, but are also in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Kentucky and Florida.

Mark Gray, CEO of BarFly Ventures, the restaurant's parent company, made the announcement Monday.

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"Today we are announcing plans to change the name of our Crack Fries. Rest assured, the recipe and ingredients are not changing, only the name," Gray said in a statement.

“Our vision for creating an inclusive company that supports our communities, shows love for our team and best serves our guests is not compatible with the continued use of the Crack Fries name.

“We chose the name more than 11 years ago as a reference to the addictive quality of the fries and their cracked pepper seasoning, without consideration for those the drug negatively affected. We were wrong.

“The crack epidemic and the lasting impact on those it affects is not funny and never was.

“As we grow as a company we have come to realize that to make light of this drug and of addiction contradicts our values of inclusion and community. We want to thank our guests, employees and community members who have helped us come to this realization and apologize for the pain the name brought to others.

“Transitioning to a new name will not happen overnight. A companywide menu reprint in mid-January will reflect the change. We will also need time to update all other materials, including online menus, training documents and promotions.

“We are grateful for the support we’ve received over the years and your love of our fries. While we know it will take time to get used to this change, we are confident in our decision. It is not only the right thing to do, it reflects who we are.”

Gray also delivered the statement in a video on HopCat's YouTube page.

BarFly Ventures spokesman Chris Knape told Freep the change was something he's considered for a while.

“People love Crack Fries, a lot of people love the name, but we thought it was time to make a change,” he said. “Frankly, I’ve been thinking about it for years and getting different feedback through the years — including through some of our partners in Detroit.”

HopCat’s fries are beer-battered and seasoned and have been one of the most popular menu items for the chain.

An exact date for the change has not been announced, but the change will be made before the annual fry-eating contest, which has been held at all locations in celebration of the restaurant’s anniversary.

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