People Want to Rename Columbus, Ohio 'Flavortown' to Honor Guy Fieri

A petition is circulating to try to convince Columbus, Ohio officials to rename the state's capital to "Flavortown" in honor of celebrity chef Guy Fieri, who was born in the city.

The petition on Change.org is seeking 5,000 signatures and is addressed to current Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Columbus City Council. The petition was started by Tyler Woodbridge.

Besides paying tribute to the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives Food Network star, the petition also addresses atrocities by the city's current namesake Christopher Columbus. "Columbus is an amazing city, but one whose name is tarnished by the very name itself," the petition states. "Its namesake, Christopher Columbus, is in The Bad Place because of all his raping, slave trading, and genocide. That's not exactly a proud legacy."

The authors of the petition wrote that the new name speaks to both the city's culinary history and Fieri's good-dude-ness. "For one, it honors Central Ohio's proud heritage as a culinary crossroads and one of the nation's largest test markets for the food industry. Secondly, cheflebrity Guy Fieri was born in Columbus, so naming the city in honor of him (he's such a good dude, really) would be superior to its current nomenclature," the petition stated.

Woodbridge told Newsweek that he'd originally thought about making the petition to rename the city after Shawnee chief and warrior Tecumseh. "Originally, my idea was to go with something such as Tecumseh, in honor of a central Ohio indigenous leader," Woodbridge told Newsweek on Friday. "I just figured that would be a good nod to indigenous peoples to get a win over Columbus, metaphorically speaking, so many years later."

He said that the versatility of the name Flavortown was why he opted to use that name in the petition. "When a lot of other people were non-ironically proposing 'Flavortown,' I sat down and I thought about it, and that is a wholesome, welcoming name that really fits the culture in Columbus, and it's a very inclusionary name," he said. "Even if you take the Guy Fieri influence completely out of it, it's a nod to the cultural heritage of Columbus being a culinary crossroads and a test market for the food industry."

He also said Fieri himself helps the momentum of the whole idea. "It doesn't hurt matters that Guy Fieri's essentially a living cartoon and can really help propel the whole absurdity of the thing."

Guy Fieri's Twitter bio identifies him as the mayor of "Flavortown, USA." When asked if Fieri should be made mayor of Flavortown, OH should the petition succeed, Woodbridge offered an alternative position for the Food Network star. "I have a nonpartisan take on the issue: I feel like perhaps Mayor Ginther can maintain his duties, while Guy Fieri is brought in as kind of a town ambassador, so to speak, to appear at community events, sporting matches, restaurant openings of course to put the pizazz behind Columbus," Woodbridge said. "Sit down and think about it: how many shirts? How many souvenirs? How many people are going to start taking pilgrimages to Flavortown once this happens?"

Woodbridge offered a sobering thought about tradition before concluding our call. "Don't let tradition define what you interpret your truth as. Names are fluid. After all, New York was once New Amsterdam. Istanbul was once Constantinople. Tradition is just peer-pressure from the dead. Embrace your truth, and live it as loudly as Guy Fieri would want you to," he said.

At the time of publication, the petition has just over 4,800 signatures.

Fieri's agent did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication. A press contact for Mayor Ginther's office did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

Guy fieri
Chef and television personality Guy Fieri poses at the Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar booth at the 13th annual Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit Grand Tasting event presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority at Caesars Palace on May 10, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty