Arizona restaurant catching flak over plan to serve lion tacos
An Arizona restaurateur has unleashed a storm of criticism for his plan to serve lion tacos next month.
January 21st, 2011
04:31 PM ET

Arizona restaurant catching flak over plan to serve lion tacos

Lion tacos.

Lion tacos?

Sorry, it’s tough to write this piece because I keep getting hung up on the juxtaposition of those two words. It sounds like something out “The Freshman.”

According to the Arizona Daily Star, a Tucson eatery will be serving up the kingly dish for one of its weekly exotic taco nights. Past efforts have included python, elk, kangaroo and turtle, the paper reported.

Give credit to owner Bryan Mazon, who was more than frank when asked the reasoning behind his decision to put the majestic animal on a tortilla.

“I'm doing the African lion to get my name out,” he said. “I've never tried it myself, but this one really caught my eye.”

Well, Mr. Mazon, judging from your Facebook page, it caught the eye of a few other folks.

While there were messages of support and others asking whether Mazon would be willing to ship orders of tacos out of state, plenty of people were downright ticked.

“What did you want? attention? congratulations, i know you. i also know who hitler, ted bundy, and michael vick are,” wrote poster Tricia Rider Kachymers.

A post from Jon Ailetcher was markedly harsher: “[Expletive]. Nothing but a way to get promotion you [expletive] [expletive]. Way to help kill the animal kingdom. [EXPLETIVE] YOU!!!”

The Daily Mail in London reported that National Wildlife Humane Society President Patrick Webb wrote Mazon, saying, “I realize this is a publicity effort, and will not result in profitability in serving lion, but sometimes no amount of publicity is worth the potential negative effects on vulnerable species.”

The lion tacos will be available February 16, wedged between Tequila Tuesday and Dollar Beer Thursday.

They will cost $8.75 apiece, Mazon told the Daily Star, explaining that a pound of ground lion will run you about $100. The meat comes from a farm in Perris, California, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

His wife, the chef at Boca Tacos y Tequila, will make about eight tacos per pound.

I know what you’re wondering. It's the same thing I’ve been asked by a few of my colleagues in the past hour: Is this [expletive] legal?

Interestingly, Mazon told the Daily Star that he got the idea last year when a restaurant announced that it was going to serve lion burgers for the World Cup, held in South Africa.

Our pals over at CNNMoney covered that one and reached out at the time to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, whose spokesman said that African lion is not a federally protected endangered species and that it qualifies as game meat.

I’m not sure if it’s surprising that the lion burger joint was in Mesa, about 100 miles northwest of Tucson, but I’m starting to get the impression that Arizonans have some wacky culinary tastes. How about you?

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Filed under: Animals • Arizona • Facebook • Food
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Cesar

    @Amy: Well! I'm glad I'm not a chicken in your backyard.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tomcat

    Oh Cesar.....It is I that killed the Silly Rabbit and the Leprechaun. Caught me

    January 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |

    I say we eat vegans. They wouldn't have much flavor, though. They really are lacking in taste.

    January 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • afrowolf

      Ha! Well played, sir.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    @tomcat: Have preferred to read posts than to write them the last week or so. Strange, how Chrissy, Philip, and banasy ain't been around. Good to see you still active here. Weird, I have the biggest craving for a double cheeseburger. Must be the Lion Tacos.

    January 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Frank

    Are these Kenyan lions. I heard they kinda taste like chicken.... 🙂

    January 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    @Jeff Frank: No, they are the Detroit Lions.

    January 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tomcat

    Cesar...Banasy has posted here and there...I think Phi;ip may be using an alias...someone posted somthing that seemed like his prose

    January 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar


    January 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bivek Poudyal

    Why doesn't the numbnuts serve his wife instead? I am sure she tastes great.

    January 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tim

    If he does do this, he'll be losing money.

    As the article states:

    1 lb of Ground Lion = $100

    roughly 8 tacos per pound

    price per taco = $8.75

    $8.75 x 8 = $70

    net loss per pound = around $30

    January 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      I'm sticking to the eating traditional judeo-christian palate. If it don't have hooves more likely I will not eat it! Nat geo never showed cultures living among lions ever eating them. I'm wondering what kind of diseases can you catch consuming certain animals. The only culture I know find food in a rock is the Chinese but they have thousands of years experience to work out the kinks. Lastly, who would want their cow burger tailgating the lion burger on the the health department! That is just plain nasty!

      January 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • crows

      I too was wondering about the financial loss. I wonder if this is accurate and the restaurant's point is to gain attention and increase profits that way, but still one would think they would want to break even on the cost of meat at least.

      January 22, 2011 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Marina

    I remember the lion burger story. Don't think I'd eat that but I've had breaded gator in plum sauce and it was mmm mmm good.

    January 21, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Baby you're not eating a whole alligator. I believe that meat comes from the tail and the taste is similar to eating frog legs. No way no how you would call a lion burger a same difference...and what you would call it if its a baby lion...cubby burgers??? That's just plain nasty!

      January 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cesar

    Tim, you're hired, Ernst & Young, cost accounting department.

    January 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mmmmm

    Really put a new spin to the words: lions, tigers, and bears, on my!

    January 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NoDoubt

    Simba nooooooo D:

    January 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rob in Atlanta

    Do the math. 8 tacos per pound that costs $100. How do you sell them for $8.75 each?

    January 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
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