REGULAR drinkers at a pub called the Shoulder of Mutton have been left spluttering into their pints after the name was dropped — to attract more vegetarians and vegans.
The city centre pub in York had boasted the name for more than half a century but was recently renamed the Heworth Inn when a new landlady took over.
She has created a new menu with a third of all dishes being veggie or vegan in a bid to breathe new life back into the ailing boozer.
The new-look pub has won glowing reviews on Tripadvisor but many locals have also gone online to slam the name change.
One user, calling themselves Rupertbehr, wrote: ‘FFS ……. Grow up! Tradition itself will soon be outlawed if these individuals are allowed to continue.’
Another, with the name Aptopping, added: ‘Shame something like the name of a traditional pub has to change just because somebody doesn’t agree with it.
‘There’s a lot if things I don’t agree with but won’t get changed, so things like a name of a pub with a non-discriminatory name should be left alone.
‘You don’t agree with the name of a pub then don’t go in or take it over.’
Landlady Leah Stannard today hit back, saying reasons for the name change of the building which dates back to the 1800s are three-fold.
She said while she appreciated people’s concerns her research indicated that ‘when trying to market a business to a tourist hotel market, it has been shown that the name the Shoulder of Mutton isn’t perceived particularly well’.
Leah said: ‘Also, as we are going to have a really keen focus on vegetarian and vegan cuisine, we think it is a tasteful, sympathetic and reasonable decision.
‘We want to have an excellent vegetarian and vegan offering, so found the name slightly compromising of the idea.’
Another reason for the name change is down to the owners applying to become a licensed wedding venue in 2019, as well as a community local and eatery.
‘We imagined that many brides may not want the invites for their big day to be at a place called the Shoulder of Mutton,’ added Leah.
‘We have taken into account the area’s and the building’s heritage and have consulted various conservation bodies in the area and received warm feedback and support for the new name.’
Dominika Piasecka, of The Vegan Society, claimed the change of the name signalled a ‘positive direction, as eating animals is increasingly becoming an outdated practice’.
She said: ‘We’ve heard of a couple of businesses going out of their way to exclude or annoy vegans, so it’s nice to see the opposite happen for once.
‘The number of vegans in Britain has quadrupled in the last four years and many businesses are taking catering for them seriously, with plant-based food being inclusive not just of vegans but everyone else as well.’
John Soonaye, from the Vegetarian Society, added: ‘Focusing on a stronger vegetarian and vegan menu is a brilliant idea for establishments like The Heworth Inn.
‘There will be differing opinions on the name change of The Heworth Inn, but if the intention is to highlight a more forward-thinking approach to vegetarian and vegan food, that’s a great thing.’