10.29.2007

Name Game

After reading about a new restaurant named BarFry in New York and thinking "cool name," I saw this blog post from New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni, who also loves the name. The obvious play on barfly also points to the new joint's tempura-based menu. (A few commenters claim it also makes fun of an Asian accent.) Bruni goes on to discuss a few more New York names he likes — Aureole, Basta Pasta, Al di La.

So I got to thinking about our own fair city's restaurant names. The most prominent trend recently has been naming new eateries after chefs' children, like Morou Ouattara's Farrah Olivia. But when you have more kids, you have to open more restaurants. Chef Robert Wiedmaier had Marcel's, little brother Brasserie Beck followed; Cathal Armstrong started with Restaurant Eve, and then came Eamonn's.

Arguably unoriginal, addresses seem to be DC restaurateurs other naming obsession. There's 701, 15ria, 14K, 14U (or "one for you"), PS 7's, 2941, Southside 815, 18th and U Duplex Diner and many more. A clever spin on the address theme: TenPenh. Get it?

14th Street likes literary inspiration, with nice results like Cafe Saint-Ex (named for French pilot and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery), Bar Pilar (Pilar was Ernest Hemingway's boat) and Busboys and Poets (Langston Hughes being the busboy poet).

Names I like? Comet Ping Pong (a nod to the old Comet liquor store in Adams Morgan — its sign now hangs in front of the pizza place), Acadiana, Corduroy, Matchbox, Tryst and Tonic. And home to delicious BLTs, So's Your Mom.

I'm lukewarm on two of the city's top dining rooms' names: Blue Duck Tavern (playful or mismatched to the sleek interior?) and CityZen.

Great names? Unfortunate names? Call 'em out in the comments.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

mie n yu... ugh.

DC said...

You know it's a funny thing about naming real estate, the same problem exists for new construction projects, specifically condos.

Though with restaurants you may want the name to describe a little about the restaurant. With condos, what is more descriptive than its location, and yet I'm sad every time a new development takes the easy way out and just uses the address!

James

Amanda said...

You're right, James. There are some pretty bad condo names in town. We always used to joke in the suburbs that new developments are named for what was destroyed to build them: Running Brook, Forest Glen...

In DC, it's the ghosts of the past, Ellington, Whitman, Langston, etc.

Anonymous said...

Some of my personal favorites:

Grill from Impanema, Bourbon, So's Your Mom, Heritage, 1789, and Zaytinya (just rolls off the tongue so nice :) )

Anonymous said...

Although the restaurant has changed much since its original incarnation, I thought the initial use of the name Indebleu was clever because it was attractive and conveyed the theme of the restaurant.

monkeyrotica said...

You know any Thai restaurant is going to have an awful name: Thaiphoon, ThaiTanic, ThaiMyPeckerToMyLeg, etc.

Amanda said...

ThaiMyPeckerToMyLeg must be new. Where can I find this restaurant? I must try it...
;)

monkeyrotica said...

It's right next door to Spare Thai-er and Thairannosaurus in the Thai pun district. Can't miss it.