The owners of Bandidos, the Mexican restaurant in San Francisco’s Castro district that has faced complaints from people who feel the name is offensive, announced Thursday, September 11 that they’re changing the name to Hecho.
“As small business owners, we have been saddened that unknowingly the name of the restaurant we recently opened has offended people,” owners of the eatery, which is at 2200 Market Street, said in a Facebook post Thursday. “This was never our intention and we feel horribly about it, so we have decided to change the name. We hope that the focus of the restaurant can be on our creative food, delicious drinks and fun atmosphere where everyone feels welcome, and not what is written above our door. We have always wanted to celebrate Mexican culture, food and drinks, and never would want anyone to feel like they were being discriminated.”
Hecho “is Spanish for ‘made,’ as in Hecho en Mexico or Hecho en SF,” the owners said. “We take this to mean different things for different people, no matter where they are from. Since our menu is inspired by Mexican cuisine but has a San Francisco twist to it, we believe that this is an appropriate name that means we are not just one specific style, we are ‘made’ everywhere.”
Local queer comedian Marga Gomez had been working with owners Jesse Woodward and Dana Gleim on a name change since around the time the restaurant opened September 2. Gomez said in an interview this week that “Bandidos” translates to ‘bandits,’” and “it has a lot to do with stereotypes of Mexican people,” such as “bushy beards, criminals,” and “untrustworthy” figures.
Woodward, who’s gay, has said, “Our inspiration was always the Mexican revolutionaries,” such as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. He called the men “heroes for a lot of Mexican people. They were looked up to.”
Gleim, Gomez, and Woodward didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Woodward said business has been “great,” and Thursday’s Facebook post said, “Our first week has been incredible and we want to thank everyone for their support in revitalizing this corner of Market Street. Following in the footsteps of our landlord, Leticia Luna, we’re honored to continue providing quality food and service in the Castro. We are looking forward to many nights of tacos and tequila with locals and visitors alike. Thanks to everyone for all the love, Salud!”