SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — A food truck business named Wandering Dago has been banned from Saratoga Race Course after customers complained that the name of the business was offensive, according to New York Racing officials.
Brandon Snooks and Andrea Loguidice, co-owners of the Schenectady-based business, told local media outlets that they were informed Friday night by NYRA officials that they had to remove their truck from the track Saturday morning, a day after it opened for its 40-day season.
The truck's menu features barbecue sandwiches with names such as the Dago, the Polack and a cheese-and-hash browns dish dubbed Mick & Cheese.
NYRA officials said they received complaints about the use of a word that's considered derogatory to Italian-Americans.
"We received several complaints," said NYRA spokesman Eric Wing. "Once we received complaints, we took immediate action on behalf of our customers."
Snooks and Loguidice said they're both of Italian descent and consider the term "dago" a tribute to their hardworking immigrant ancestors.
Their business had a contract to operate on the track's grounds this season, during which Saratoga is marking the 150th anniversary of the first organized thoroughbred racing meet held here. Snooks and Loguidice said they passed up other opportunities for bookings this summer to be at the track through Labor Day.
"This is the kind of event we were looking forward to all year," she said
Snooks and Loguidice had a previous run-in with the state when they were denied a food vendor's license at the Empire State Plaza, next door to the Capitol — home to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office — in downtown Albany.