Tupelo — Long before Tupelo residents were were asked to pit their favorite comfort foods against each other at Pizza Vs Tacos, a quiet civil war has been raging over the name of a local Thai restaurant: Sao. Or is it Nao? No one can really come to an agreement.
“It clearly says SAO on the sign,” says frequent patron Randy Wooten. “Anyone that calls it something different is an idiot.”
“Yeah I know Randy. The problem with people like Randy is that they call me an idiot, but they’re too ignorant to look at the sign on the actual building,” retorts Jeff Milner, another frequent customer.
“It says NAO in giant capital letters. Jeff and I used to be friends. We used to eat there together. But one day we got into a heated argument about the name. Some words were said, some curry was thrown. Long story short, we aren’t allowed in there together anymore.”
“He says I’m ignorant?!” replied a livid Wooten. “He’d better not ever show his face at Sao on my weekend or he’ll find out real quick that Spicy Old Man isn’t just an item on the menu!”
To both Wooten’s and Milner’s credit, the restaurant does have two signs with two different names. The discrepancy may be the reason some people have never patronized the establishment.
“I won’t eat there,” say Willa Mason. “I drive by there all the time. It’s got two names, but I don’t know how to pronounce either one of them, so I ain’t eating there. Ain’t nothing Christian about it. I’ll just keep going to New China Buffet for my Asian cuisine. I can pronounce the name and they got good Jell-o.”
“Tupelo has five Subways,” says Brad Locke. “We should be thankful we even have cultural options. We shouldn’t be arguing over semantics. It’s not the name of a place that makes it’s good. It’s the food. It’s the environment. It’s the people. Thai food should bring people together, not divide us. When we eat Thai we’re not republicans or democrats, rich or poor. We’re not Sao or Nao. We’re just hungry.”
Locke was asked if he has a solution to the name conflict.
“I just call it Sao Nao.”