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May I Have a Word?

Driving around, Oregano and I have noticed an interesting trend emerging. Many restaurants and other eateries now have a single word as their names. I’m not talking about the local restaurant named after the proprietor. No, I’m talking about restaurants with names that are nouns, verbs or adjectives. Some of those names make sense and give the hungry passerby a clue as to the type of fare being offered. In our area we have a steakhouse named Char, a bakery named Rise and a cupcake bakery named Crumbs. I can even understand a bar called Social. However, other restaurants have names that are more mysterious and don’t necessarily have anything to do with the food served within the walls that are holding up that single word sign. For instance, a local restaurant named Tusk doesn’t serve elephant or walrus. I know because I checked the menu on their website. Despite the large horse statue in the dining room of Gallop, they don’t serve horse. I don’t even want to know how Pinch got its name or what kind of service they offer.

Perhaps one word name restaurants have evolved from these tough economic times. Surely it must cost less money to have a sign made when it has fewer letters. Printing costs can be reduced on advertising and menus when there is only a single word. Then again, perhaps it has nothing to do with economy and more to do with marketing. Will an ambiguous name pique a diner’s culinary curiosity enough to lure him into the restaurant? It hasn’t worked on us. What these single word restaurant monikers have done is sparked conversations where we have spent countless minutes creating names of restaurants for all different types of cuisine.*

Jerk – food served with Caribbean flair and poor service

Nosh – a fusion restaurant serving Kosher tapas

Corn – serving all vegetarian fare and selling t-shirts with their slogan: “I got shucked at Corn.”

Satiated – an upscale all you can eat buffet for those with discerning palates and big appetites

Stuffed – the sister restaurant of Satiated, but this all you can eat buffet is at a lower price point

Grown – an organic salad bar

Bags – a sophisticated tea house where really old women serve tiny triangular sandwiches

Melt – a fusion fondue restaurant and ice cream parlor

Jittery – Get those caffeine induced shakes at this café.

Shan-grill-ahhh – a steakhouse

Balls – a smorgasbord of meatballs from around the world

Slurp – a soup stand where spoons are not allowed

Buns – a greasy spoon serving hamburgers

Frizzled – fried chicken, fried shrimp, fried pickles – all fried food, all the time

Pulled – a barbecue joint

Plaid – Scottish food – There just aren’t enough places where you can get good haggis.

Chow – cuisine from Italy

Toast – a bar that serves breakfast because it’s never too early in the day to start drinking

*Thanks to Oregano and my friends, Empanada, Babka, Pepper, Allspice and Pierogi for playing along. If any of our fictitious restaurants actually exist in the world it is purely coincidental. To think that it’s not is giving us way too much credit by thinking that we actually did research.

Have you noticed this one word trend in your corner of the world? Or, have you been inspired to create your own restaurant name? Add your suggestions in the comment section.

Bon Appetit!

About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences.

58 responses »

  1. I LOVED THIS! So clever! How about HAM … a comedy club serving a wide selection of pork appetizers.

  2. We have a Melt that serves fancy grilled cheese. It’s actually pretty famous locally, as evidenced by the hour and a half wait at 2 o’clock on a Wednesday.

  3. Not exclusive to my part of the world, but we have several Earls. They serve earl grey tea, but also steak and pasta. But not served by an Earl, or to any Earls, as far as I know.

  4. I would call my restaurant Hair, because that’s what’s in all the food we serve around here……

  5. I think I’d fit in at SLURP

  6. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  7. You better copyright some of those names. Maybe it is because we are a society that loves abbreviations and acronyms like LOL 😃

  8. Every time I think I have a favorite from one of your restaurant names, I encounter another. Nosh, Bags, Shan-grill-ahhh and Chow are among my favorites.

    One world movie titles were often used by Hitchcock. They are attention grabbers. Loved your post, Paprika.

  9. So interesting! I’ve noticed the one word trend with book titles too. My son has all but memorized Agassi’s “Open.”

  10. Excellent! But I am afraid I would never be able to eat any place named “Balls”.

  11. Great post ! LOL !
    Here’s an idea… Mushi-Mushi (or Mushi² to keep it short) : Extremely tender Japanese food for the very young and the very old.
    (PS. In case any Japanese person reads this, I know the preferred spelling is Moshi but it’s my restaurant so I can call it what I want!) 🙂

    • Excellent idea, Stefano. There just aren’t enough restaurants that cater to people who can’t chew their food well. The best part is that given the designated demographic of babies and the elderly, the restaurant will be cleared out by 8pm and can be turned into a night club.

      P.S. Love your disclaimer about the spelling. It’s your imagination. Spell it however you like 🙂

  12. ha ha! Being of Scottish decent, I will be happy to open a Plaid franchise here in my neck of the woods (except I’ve never had haggis and don’t intend to)

    Shan-grill-a cracked me up!

    We have a great restaurant named Velo in our area – I think it means speed in either Italian or French (or both?) and they have a cycling theme going on inside, bikes all over the place…it works 🙂

    • You’re willing to open a Scottish restaurant, but not serve haggis. I think that may cut down on your clientele 🙂

      I’m glad your neighborhood one word restaurant has great food. I’m curious though, do they have bicycle seats instead of barstools? If you’re going with a theme, why not go all the way?

    • From an Italian living in France :

      “Vélo” in French means bicycle and “Velo” in Italian means a veil

      I think it’s definitely the French meaning they are implying 🙂

  13. You omitted a name you know well. You know what is being served as soon as you see the sign INGEMACHTELECHADUDIS . No savings when printing this sign (- _-)

    • Definitely no savings when they print that sign. It would be fun to call the restaurant just to hear them answer the phone, “INGEMACHTELECHADUDIS, How may we help you?” It’s a name that rolls right off the tongue, Mr. Lakrizen.

  14. Uncle Sea Salt

    In Tucson, we had a restaurant called ‘Trots”. Needless to say, they went out of business shortly after opening… (good to see you writing again).

  15. We have Frappes near us and it’s not an ice cream shoppe.. Now you’ve got me hunting for more 🙂

  16. Very funny and clever!! Does Oregano remember ANTLERS?? They don’t serve antlers or deer!! xoxo

  17. Hilarious! There is actually a restaurant near my mother-in-law’s called “Big Buns” — no I don’t take my buns there, thank you very much …

    I love “Bags” too. Not to mention the names of the players!

  18. Then there’s Medium, for those who like their steaks just so, but the staff should be able to conjure up your order before you have to say anything….Waffles, a breakfast joint for people who can’t decide what to order…..Mussels, a seafood restaurant for those who want to workout after eating….or Golf, a small hole-in-the-wall place that specializes in greens…..(Paprika, is that enough, I could go on for hours…..great topic.)

    • These are AWESOME, Bob! I should have called you before I finished writing. You’ve definitely gotten into the spirit of the post and have succumbed to the addictiveness of creating new names. Thanks for playing along 🙂

  19. I would stop at Jittery at least once or ten times.

  20. Hmmm…MELT! How about “Priori” for a restaurant near a courthouse? “Fossils” would be great across the street from the AMNH. “Free”, of course, would be very popular anywhere, until you actually got to the prices.

  21. In our town … Splash! where they do serve some great seafood, and it is by the water … but, which is also the name of a local car wash. : \.

    There’s also one named Bang! … and I’m hopeful the name doesn’t relate to how they killed your dinner …

    • How funny that there is a seafood restaurant and car wash with the same name. They should find a way to work together. The restaurant can offer valet parking and take your car through the car wash.

      Bang! seems like a violent name for a restaurant. Like you, I sure hope that isn’t a commentary on how your dinner came to be your dinner.

  22. Here’s a few from Tallahassee: Sage, Whataburger, Vertigo, Proof (really a bar, but they plan to serve food soon), and my favorite, Decent Pizza – I know, it’s two words, but I can’t help but think the owners knew it was hard to find decent pizza here, hence, the name.

    On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 5:10 PM, Good Humored

    • Clearly, it’s also a trend in Florida. I love the name Decent Pizza and I hope your analysis of the name is correct. I just hope he doesn’t get run out of business by a place called Great Pizza.

  23. Tubs – usually found inside Wal-Marts

  24. Hmmmm… any successful restaurants with a 1-word name that doesn’t describe the proprietor or the food?

    Hooters comes to mind.

  25. We have Melt (no fondue there!) and Blue locally. Can’t figure out any relationship to what they serve. Love your ideas.

  26. How funny. I love “Bags” and “Satiated”
    Here it seems initials are the big new trend in naming places.


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