Crab Served Inside, Too
If you like invective with your seafood, stop southeast of Pittsburgh at Casa D'Ice, the restaurant where the owner,
Bill Balsamico, posts his thoughts on a six-foot-high, eight-foot-wide menu board facing the street.
"AT THE CURRENT RATE OF / LEGAL & ILLEGAL ALIENS / ENTERING THIS COUNTRY / AUG 2013 WILL BE DESIGNATED / WHITE HISTORY MONTH"
Wielding obscenity and bile, he takes on Iraq and New Orleans, Michael Jackson and seat belts, and various immigrant groups ("I'm Italian," he says. "You can call me a dago or a wop. It's part of my heritage. It doesn't bother me.").
It started after Sept. 11, 2001, when he found himself so angry at Osama bin Laden that he wanted to offer the world more than crab legs and surf 'n' turf at his restaurant in the suburb of North Versailles, Pa. So he climbed his stand and slid the menu letters to read, "DON'T STOP UNTIL THE [expletive] IS DEAD."
He began changing the sign whenever he felt so moved. And he got traction, in the form of invitations to talk radio -- hundreds, he says -- and thousands of e-mails. Now he sells his messages on T-shirts, aprons, teddy bears and baby bibs.
Having obtained his 15 minutes of fame, Balsamico, 60, hopes his railing will also make him a legacy. One recent sign said, "WANTED / SOMEONE VERY OPENMINDED TO / CHANGE THE SIGN EVERY WEEK / AFTER I DIE / INQUIRE WITHIN."
-- Robin Shulman