A Tampa, Fla., restaurant has decided to alter its exotic menu after its lion-meat tacos caused an uproar among customers.
The restaurant, called Taco Fusion, had made a name for itself by offering menu items that utilize meat from sharks, beavers, bears, and a variety of other unexpected animals. However, the taqueria’s proprietors pulled its lion tacos on Friday after a barrage of negative publicity, Gawker reports.
“We're getting all kinds of threats over it,” Ryan Gougeon, the owner of Taco Fusion, told The Tampa Tribune.
“Now we're getting bomb threats, and everything else. Some guy just called and said he'd kidnap me and grind me up for a taco. There are so many coming in we aren't counting.”
The lion tacos, which were priced at $35 apiece, were pulled from Taco Fusion’s menu despite impressive sales. Gougeon told The Tampa Tribune that lion meat came from a reputable vendor that raises the animals specifically for culinary purposes.
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The practice is considered legal because lions are only classified threatened, and not endangered, The Tampa Tribune reports.
Still, the lion tacos have enraged many of Taco Fusion’s potential patrons. The restaurant was forced to temporarily disable its Facebook page after receiving a flood of angry posts pertaining to the menu item.
Some have even attempted to physically express their outrage.
“My general manager was just attacked. A guy came in, took a swing at him and missed,” Gougeon told The Tampa Tribute. “They had a brief wrestling match, but the guy ran for it. That was two hours ago. Some other guy just called saying he's on the way in now to fight us.”
Tampa police are investigating the attack, as well as a series of death threats directed at the restaurant’s general managers.
Initially, Gougeon planned on ignoring the growing objections and serving the lion tacos anyway.
“The fact that they're trying to bully us now just eggs us on to keep carrying it,” Gougeon said on Thursday. “They want to restrict our freedom of choice. It's still 100 percent legal. So maybe we keep serving it.”
However, Gawker reports that Taco Fusion has now pulled the lion tacos, saying in a statement that they had no plans of offering the dish again.