French language police take issue with ‘grilled cheese’ in restaurant name

Click to play video: 'Mama Grilled Cheese too English'
Mama Grilled Cheese too English
WATCH ABOVE: A 1960’s diner in Quebec City is getting a lot of attention from the province's language police for having the words "grilled cheese" in its name. Global's Raquel Fletcher reports – Jan 15, 2016

QUEBEC CITY – A 1960’s-style sandwich shop in Quebec City is the latest to be at the centre of a complaint made to the province’s language police.

It seems the name, which includes the words “grilled cheese,” contravenes Quebec’s language laws.

READ MORE: You’re not a ‘foodie,’ says OQLF, you’re a ‘cuisinomane’

The Resto La Mama Grilled Cheese Gourmet has been in business in the Limoilou neighbourhood for the past two years without complaint.

Thursday, the owners received a letter from the Office québécois de la langue française with two complaints about English words on their signs.

READ MORE: OQLF pushes French alternatives to English ‘Boxing Day’

The first issue is with a sign that says “Enjoy Mama,” a play on words of Coca-Cola’s famous “Enjoy Coke.”

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The restaurateurs have since added a French translation in a larger font.

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Co-owner Stephane Rheaume is concerned about how much it will take to change the restaurant’s facade, business cards and advertising – or add a translation to the company name.

“There are some terms that you can’t change. A sushi is a sushi – you can’t call it a Japanese roll,” Rheaume told Global News.

“A grilled cheese is a grilled cheese. It’s not a sandwich du fromage fondu.”

In a press release Friday, the OQLF said it wanted to set certain facts straight, insisting the restaurant name won’t need to be modified.

WATCH: The OQLF investigates complaints

Rheaume said he suspects the organization changed its mind after it received attention from the media.

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READ MORE: Montreal West cupcake shop under the OQLF microscope

“After further developments and because of all the media attention, it seems that after all “grilled cheese” might not be problematic,” he said.

Rheaume said he agrees with the mandate of the French language police in Quebec, but in this case, it lacked discretion.

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