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Australia’s Fake Howlin’ Ray’s Restaurant Is Just Stealing From Everyone in LA Now

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Howlin’ Jay’s just loves Los Angeles so much, apparently

A bright red spicy chicken and fries order from Howlin’ Ray’s.
The actual Howlin’ Ray’s
Jakob Layman

That ripoff Howlin’ Ray’s restaurant in Australia — known not-too-subtly as Howlin’ Jay’s — just keeps on pilfering Los Angeles restaurant ideas, it seems. The latest victims: Alfred Coffee and E.P. & L.P.

A quick scan through the Cairns, Australia-based restaurant’s Instagram feed reveals quite a bit of appropriation taking place, at basically all levels. First up is a rather conspicuous sign hanging over the bar:

BUT FIRST BEER... & THEN FRIED CHICKEN. #howlinjays #craftbeer

A post shared by HOWLIN' JAY'S (@howlinjays) on

“But first, beer” is of course a reimagining of the popular tag line of LA-based Alfred Coffee, who have been pushing the “but first, coffee” language for years — including at a new shop in Japan. Alfred owner Josh Zad even chimed in on the comments to the above photo, calling at a “joke of a place.”

Even more on the nose is one of the restaurant’s neon signs, a slanted pink affair that reads “Where Love Lives.” That’s exactly the same as the sign at chef Louis Tikaram’s West Hollywood restaurant E.P. & L.P., down to the tilted lettering and color. Take a look:

WHERE LOVE LIVES.❤️ #howlinjays

A post shared by HOWLIN' JAY'S (@howlinjays) on

For reference, check out the same neon sign in this LA Weekly article from 2016. Strangely enough, the owners of E.P. & L.P. are themselves mostly Australian, so it’s interesting to wonder what they would think about a native Cairns restaurant snatching the look.

What’s more, the restaurant has begun to offer inexpensive brown bags of alcohol to customers. In America at least there are all sorts of social and racial issues involved with something like that, though in Australia there are apparently far fewer hangups about such things. Eater of course reached out to the team at Howlin’ Jay’s to ask about all the similarities, but so far hasn’t received word back. For what it’s worth, they have in the past denied stealing anyone else’s ideas.

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