Monday, July 11, 2011

Don't Name Your Restaurant

Naming posts, restaurants, stories, books, films, children - is hard work. Originality is good, within reason. An article  in The New Yorker concerning summer movies gave demerits to Bad Teacher and Horrible Bosses because those names tell the story before you've seen the picture. (The Maltese Falcon, by comparison, was celebrated for giving away nothing.)

One of the best baby books I read was called Don't Name Your Baby. I'd like to quote from it, but I lent it to a pregnant friend. Anyway, its author does not suggest you refrain from naming your young breed. What he does is tell you what's wrong with every name you're considering. It's very funny and makes a good gift. And it drives a point home about names: they're important. They say something about you. They need to be good.

Every once in awhile I'll come across a restaurant with a really bad name and it's always shocking. How could someone go thru securing a location, hiring staff, filling out the necessary paperwork, establishing a line of credit with suppliers and then print "Pink Meat" on their awnning?

And yet, these places exist.  "I will never eat at Happy Teriyaki," I told my husband when we were newlyweds living in downtown Seattle. I'm sorry to report I didn't stand by that proclamation. A scant few months later and I was going there for lunch alone, and even took an out of town guest there. I'm not sure why. It wasn't good.

Then it was Tellurice, a now-shuttered Asian restaurant in my old hometown of Telluride.  As I told a friend, "The name is just too stupid to eat there." I stood by that one. If an owner puts a name like that on the shingle one can only assume that there's some stupid sneaking into the food. My friend relayed a story from when she ate there and, get this: they were out of rice.

Lately, I've been grumbling to myself about an establishment that's going in around the corner. It's called Jam and Honey. And it's not a boutique shop selling the kind of imports that make me giddy. It looks to be a restaurant, complete with a hostess stand up front. They are optimistic about reservations, I suppose. I can only assume they will serve more than Jam and Honey, but what else?!? The name is so terrible I'll never find out. I can only imagine this scenario:

"Welcome to Jam and Honey."

"Hey! Got any grapes?"

"No, we only serve pink meat."

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