The couple that owns the Wandering Dago, a Schenectady-based food truck that was abruptly banned from Saratoga Race Course on opening day last month, is suing the New York Racing Association and New York’s Office of General Services. All told, Brandon Snooks and Andrea Loguidice are looking for $343,000 to make up for lost business at the racing venue and also at Empire State Plaza, where Wandering Dago was denied a permit to vend earlier this year. That’s in addition to punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and an injunction designed to prevent future bans.
Now that the case may be headed to federal court, the truck’s owners say the name wasn’t meant to invoke the ethnic slur, because, you know, they both have Italian roots. Instead, the Wandering Dago name proudly pays “tribute to the hard-working Italian-Americans of previous generations who toiled as day laborers,” the Times Union notes, which likely also explains the rationale for sandwiches named “the Polack” and “Mick and Cheese” on the menu board. “We live in a society with robust speech,” Loguidice and Snooks’s lawyer says, “and you’re going down a slippery slope when you allow public officials to say, ‘I’m going to ban this because a certain segment of society finds it offensive.’”