Yes, the Chicago mumbo sauce has been bottled and sold under that name since the 1950s by a company called Select Brands. But because the recipe is different from D.C.’s — it’s used frequently as a grilling marinade — Arsha Jones, the founder of Capital City Mumbo Sauce, filed a petition to cancel Select Brands’ trademark registration, which was granted in 1958. Besides, in D.C., “mumbo sauce” is a term for a variety of spicy and tangy sauces found at carryouts — not one particular recipe.
“Mumbo sauce is D.C.; mumbo sauce is not Chicago,” said Jones, who grew up in the Petworth area. “I don’t care who made what first. There will always be stories on both sides. If you check tweets, if you check Web sites, it points to mumbo sauce as a D.C. thing, and that’s the end.”
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