Morning Wood: Solve Porta’s legal problems: Rename the restaurant ‘Antonio’s Pasta’

Give Porta a new, original name

By Mike Avenatty , Legal Expert

The new Italian restaurant in downtown Amherst, Porta, has gotten off to a shaky start in its first month of existence. An Instagram hack alleging the management doesn’t pay the employees and engages in sexual harassment. Screenshots allegedly suggesting that the restaurant encourages underage patrons to come to their bar. And most famously, a lawsuit for plagiarizing its name and design from another restaurant in New Jersey.

This is not what the University of Massachusetts community stands for. Plagiarism in our bars and restaurants translates to plagiarism in our academic community. It sets a bad example for our hardworking students. Our valued academic community has the distinction of being ranked No. 1 in campus dining by the Princeton Review for three consecutive years, and our standards for off-campus dining should be no lower.

What should the campus community do? Boycott Porta’s karaoke night? That would be good, except it’s too hard. Should we report drinking violations to the police? Come on, no one likes a snitch. There is just no possible solution to the problem that we face.

Except, there is. While there is no easy way to clear up the myriad of other problems with the restaurant, there is an easy fix to its current legal issues: change the restaurant’s name to Antonio’s Pasta.

While this may sound radical and unorthodox, it may be the only way to save the future of affordable Italian dining in Amherst. With the stakes this high, we must be willing to seriously explore every option.

As it stands, the restaurant is a copy of the New Jersey restaurant, right down to the colors and decorations on the outside. A name like Antonio’s Pasta would instantly change this for the better. For one, there is no other restaurant in downtown Amherst named Antonio’s Pasta. It would be a completely original business name.

The new Italian restaurant could shed the mistakes of its past and begin a bold rebirth by simply changing its name and decorations. It would be like the mistakes of the past never even happened. And even if they did, we can simply pretend they didn’t. I’m already getting excited for their next grand opening, and maybe even their next few too!

Now, critics will be quick to say that there is already an Antonio’s Pizza in downtown Amherst. To those critics, I would strongly encourage remedial reading lessons. This would be Antonio’s Pasta, not Antonio’s Pizza. There are three whole letters of difference. It would fit in perfectly with the restaurant’s motto: “Eat. Drink. Be Hon… I mean, Be True.”

Another criticism is “Why Antonio’s Pasta? Why not Mario’s?” The answer to that is pretty obvious. Mario is already well-known in Amherst as a video game character on the Nintendo Gameboy game Super Smash Brothers. Picking a name like Mario would cause confusion and annoyance for people who are simply looking for a video gaming hangout, but accidentally find themselves in a pasta restaurant instead.

Now, the obstinate among you may ask, “Why not any other Italian name? Like Alfonso? Or Giovanni?” Quite simply, Antonio sounds like the sort of guy who would make pasta. Alfonso or Giovanni? They’re more for the pizza business, if I’m being honest.

Antonio’s Pasta is simply a better name than what we currently have. When I hear it, I think of a friendly Italian man making his family’s special pasta recipe, like the rat from that Pixar movie. What do I think of when I hear the word “Porta?” Sometimes “potty.” Sometimes “-bella mushroom.” And occasionally “-ble phone charger.” Either way, the evidence is clear and there is no comparison. Antonio’s Pasta is the best possible name for our town’s new Italian restaurant.

The Town of Amherst must move past the divisions of the past not-quite-month. Antonio’s Pasta is the future of Amherst’s first and only Italian restaurant.

Mike Avenatty came up with this idea while stoned. He can be found in Amherst’s first and only deli (Subway) or Amherst’s first and only Mexican restaurant (Moe’s, though it’s technically in Hadley).