Cambridge — Central Square’s normally peaceful, if vibrant, restaurant community was thrown into conflict this week after the Wow Say Tongue! Chinese restaurant, the city’s largest, announced plans to expand by annexing The Jolly Lama, a smaller Tibetan themed restaurant located next door.
“We own the lease,” stated Xiazhquigha “Ronald” Chin, the manager for Wow Say Tongue! “We’ve always owned the lease – and now we need the space back. It’s a simple internal business matter, nothing more. Please return to your home,” Chin added.
“That’s ridiculous!,” countered Greg N. Dharma, the affable and bespectacled 15th generation proprietor of the The Jolly Lama. “We have a lease in perpetuity and this so-called business matter is simply the worst sort of hostile takeover.”
“I’m so damn mad I could rip somebody’s lungs out and slap their children with the pink dripping mess, but instead I will just sit here and pray very defiantly — bordering on rude, really,” Dharma added somewhat uncharacteristically.
When contacted for a response, a spokesman for Ronald Chin PLA, Inc. issued the following statement regarding Dharma’s claim: “The staff and management of Wow Say Tongue!™ find inexplicable the bitter tone and sour words of the so-called Jolly Lama, given our years of history of being a good and protective neighbor. It is obvious to us that Mr. Dharma has fallen under the influence of a nefarious coalition of casual dining restaurants down the street. All loyal staff of the Jolly Lama should, in fact, welcome this merger and the progress it will bring. The management of the Lama has failed to modernize — much to the suffering of customers and employees alike. Did you know they still can’t take a credit card over there without making a little carbon paper receipt? That’s just ludicrous. Get WiFi, jackasses.”
“Besides, Wow Say Tongue! is proud to announce that once the lease is reclaimed we will continue to operate The Jolly Lama exactly as before — except that all management will be changed, and the menus, and also we’re getting rid of that horrid Pier 1 “Mountain Temple” décor. Oh, and we will bring in my cousin’s family to work there in all the best jobs. And everyone will need to learn Chinese, or at least Spanish. This is America after all.”
By late Sunday, the situation had escalated further as Harvard faculty and staff joined in a sit-in in support of The Jolly Lama. “Dude,” one commented, “I take a lot of dates here. What am I supposed to do if it closes, go sit in a booth at a cheap Chinese place and order Sweet and Sour Cholesterol? I might as well live in Worcester if that happens.”
When asked if the protests were merely about fashion, the protestor answered: “Oh no, I’m sure there’s an issue of justice somewhere in this party as well. The only way I could be more against this occupation is if conservative white people were somehow involved.”
The reactions of other area restaurants were mixed. Abdul Hassan Hassan-Abdul, manager of The Burning Helicopter Afghan restaurant had this to say, “If they tried to take my building, I would burn down everything on this block. THEY WOULD BURN! HEAR ME, TONGUE, I WOULD BURN YOU! God is great. Tuesday is Lamb night. Thank you.”
Rob Cash, proprietor of The Hickory Pit Real Texas Bar-B-Q, refused to comment on the conflict, explaining that his Bar-B-Q is actually prepared by the kitchen staff at Wow Say Tongue! — “It’s much cheaper that way. I haven’t run a kitchen in 3 years — I wouldn’t even know what to do anymore. Also, I owe them quite a bit of money. You wouldn’t be interested in floating me a small loan would you?”
Bala Balasubramachandranesheker, proprietor of The New Deli, Buffet and Call Center sympathized with The Jolly Lama, “I know just how they feel. Wow Say Tongue! has moved the property line on me three times now. I have told Greg here that he can store some stuff at my place until the lease is straightened out. Hold on, I must take this call, Thank you for calling Visa Customer Service, my name is Jeffrey, how can I help you?”
“Really, I could rip out their lungs with my bare hands!,” Greg said while sobbing in the background, adding quietly, “Oh, Lord, please forgive me. I just want to go home.”
Through a spokesman, the Cambridge Police Department asked not be called in the dispute: “There’s just no way we’re not going to be accused of something here. Let Obama take the freaking call.”
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