hen Denise Whiting, owner of Hampden’s iconic Cafe Hon, boldly declared in December of 2010 that the Baltimore-coined term “Hon” was now trademarked by her and her alone, city residents made it clear that it just wouldn’t fly. Though it’s not the first controversy sparked by the restaurant (there was the giant pink flamingo fiasco back in 2009), the more recent foul-up has hit Whiting’s establishment hard. She estimates a drop off in sales of up to 25 percent since the trademark.
The drama was heavy enough to spark the interest of Kitchen Nightmares host Gordon Ramsay to bring his crew and help get the cafe back on track. Of the public outcry Ramsay remarked, “There was a level of hatred that was almost untouchable. I’ve never known a restaurant to have such a huge issue.” The episode, set to air on Feb. 24, will address the issue of public relations on a uniquely larger scale compared to that of the typical sloppy kitchen makeovers.
Neighboring businesses on “The Avenue” also look forward to the change, noting that attendance to last year’s HonFest, which centers around The cafe, was down.
A culminating press conference that took place on Nov. 7 shows Whiting, alongside Gordon Ramsay, relinquishing the trademark back to the city of Baltimore and apologizing for the pain she’d caused. Video here.
For more information on Cafe Hon, visit their website here.