Billboard war continues between Maryland seafood restaurant and PETA
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had erected the billboard, which appeared to be a blatant dig at the beloved restaurant known for its crab cakes – a mainstay of Maryland cuisine.
Minadakis, owner of Jimmy’s Famous Seafood with his brother, was shocked by the announcement and his closeness to the restaurant.
But that feeling quickly dissipated, replaced by a plan to cheer.
A few weeks later, in early March, the restaurant debuted its own pair of billboards in the same area: one with a crab cake that read “It would be a sin to waste them”, and a second with a crab next to the phrase “They died to be appreciated”.
The poster battle is the latest in a long-running dispute between PETA and Jimmy’s Famous Seafood. Now, the seafood feud has found itself on the national stage – again.
“Every time they do something like that, it really feels like bullying,” Minadakis said. “It really feels like they made it personal.”
PETA’s billboard was installed on February 13 to encourage people “not to eat fish on their plates during Lent and, to Codfor love, all the rest of the year. The organization said in a statement that it would “potentially reignite its feud with Jimmy’s Famous Seafood.”
While this billboard, and others purchased by the nonprofit, may be “humorous or provocative,” they draw attention to serious issues, PETA spokeswoman Amber said. Canavan – in this case, the abuses faced by shellfish in the seafood industry.
“The fact that the restaurant continually mocks the suffering of these animals, while selling their torn, half-dead bodies, is also worth talking about,” she said.
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But the restaurant does not intend to back down. Minadakis said it was his family’s identity and livelihood. He and his brother took over the restaurant after the death of their father, Dimitrios “Jimmy” Minadakis, a first-generation Greek immigrant who founded the business nearly five decades ago, in 2003.
Until about seven years ago, the Minadakis family lived in an apartment above the restaurant which has since been turned into an extension of their bar. When he was younger, John Minadakis put his ear to the apartment floor to listen Songs by Phil Collins played from the restaurant’s jukebox. Sometimes late at night he would sneak downstairs to make a sandwich in his kitchen.
It’s those memories — the ones that make the restaurant feel at home — that Minadakis conjured up during the clashes with PETA.
“It doesn’t look like a fair fight,” Minadakis said. “Because we are one restaurant. We are not a chain.
The tension began in 2018, when PETA installed one of its “I’m ME, Not MEAT” billboards near the restaurant. The campaign urged viewers to “choose cruelty-free foods”.
The billboard near Jimmy’s Famous Seafood had a crab on it.
It didn’t seem like a coincidence. The only PETA placed across from Miami Smokers in Florida, known for its pork offerings, had a pig on it. And in Buffalo, the PETA signs had chickens on them, trying to steer people away from Buffalo’s wings.
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When the billboard near Jimmy’s Famous Seafood went up in August 2018, Minadakis recalled he initially felt nervous.
He had heard of PETA’s campaigns against other restaurants and food brands across the country and felt the family business had become the organization’s next target. So soon after the ad was posted, Jimmy’s responded by sending out one that read, “Steamed Crabs. Here to stay. Become famous.
Since then, the feud has only escalated, Minadakis said.
Last year, PETA released a video for fish rights outside the annual Maryland Seafood Festival, where Jimmy’s Famous Seafood was a vendor.
The video featured actor Joaquin Phoenix “drowning” to recreate “the terror that fish experience in the last moments of their lives”. In a September press release announcing the video, PETA dropped the Jimmy’s name, saying the restaurant had a “history of making fun of the animals they kill and serve as food.”
PETA has long advocated against the mistreatment of marine animals in addition to land animals such as dogs, pigs and chickens.
“We want people to see fish as individuals,” Canavan said. “Crabs and lobsters are individuals too, and they feel pain.”
As part of its efforts to raise awareness of aquatic animal rights, PETA has investigated fisheries and processing plants, organized anti-fishing protests across the United States, and compiled recipes for vegan versions of seafood dishes. sea on its website. Canavan noted that many marine species are at risk from overfishing, coupled with pressures from climate change.
Maryland has had its own crab decline. In July, the state Department of Natural Resources began imposing new limits on fishing for male blue crabs, saying it was necessary for the conservation of the crustaceans.
The PETA billboard near the restaurant is expected to fall this week, spokesman David Perle told The Washington Post. But the organization and Jimmy’s Famous Seafood said they were planning their next offensives, stopping short of revealing what they were.
Minadakis said he thinks PETA has “definitely underestimated the love Marylanders have for crabs.”
And as for the billboard war: “We have another phase, per se, planned, yes,” he said.