The owners of the restaurant have come under fire in recent days over one of their most unlikely menu items: The foie gras doughnut.
In fact, so unnerved is one vegan blogger over the sale of the sweet-and-savory pastry, she started an online petition that already has attracted more than 1,000 signatures.
But the restaurant’s owners say they have no plans to alter or eliminate the appetizer—at least, not anytime soon.
“We’re not married to having the item on the menu, but we’re definitely married to doing what we want to do,” said Luke Jackson, Do or Dine’s co-owner.
“Doing what they want” has been the restaurant’s cause célèbre and a big reason for its surging popularity. With menu items like deviled eggs with octopus filling and salmon-stuffed jalapenos, eating at Do or Dine is not unlike playing food Russian Roulette—your tastebuds have no clue what they’re in for until it's entirely too late.
The restaurant’s known for its meticulous deconstructing and then reconstructing of classical dishes. And the foie gras jelly doughnut is no exception.
“Foi gras is always presented with bread, like brioche and usually some kind of compote or jelly,” said Jackson. “Essentially, with our restaurant’s concept being low-end/high-end—low-end being the doughnut and the high-end, the foi grois—it was kind of a no-brainer from our standpoint.”
However, it’s not the jelly doughnut, per se, that’s ruffling the feathers of the online petitioners, but its foie gras filling, which they say involves the cruel treatment of animals.
The making of the French delicacy foie gras, whose name means "fat liver,” involves force-feeding ducks or geese to induce large amounts of fat deposits in their livers, thereby producing the food’s popular, buttery consistency.
“What you are doing is sick and wrong,” wrote one online protester. “Animals were not put on this planet to be tortured and maimed for your benefit and you should be ashamed.”
"With all the unleathy diets that are already causing so many health problems to Americans, and the obesity factor, which is real, no one needs to be eating foie gras, which is obtained by cruel and unnatural force-feeding of innocent birds," said another commenter. "It's disgusting, and the people who eat this dish can certainly find something else to eat."
Jackson says he respects their opinions, but that Annie Hartnett—the blogger who started the petition—might have too much time on her hands. He added, she is waging the wrong campaign in an economy where businesses are struggling harder than ever just to keep their doors open.
“This petition was started by a young woman in Maine. She has no idea what our business is; she knows nothing about this community nor what we’re trying to do,” said Jackson. “So I think for her to try to disrupt a brand-new business for her own moralistic intentions… I take more exception to that than I do to her stance on foie gras.”