Sometimes restaurateurs have an easy time coming up with a name for their restaurant. Other times they try too hard. Unless the owner’s or chef’s name is included, the success of a restaurant’s name is a jump ball.
I was critical of the name Neighborhood Services because it didn’t sing “I’m a restaurant!” I don’t like the name Asador because it sounds like “get your ass in the door” instead of the Spanish word for grill—way too obscure and it doesn’t make me hungry.
A loyal SideDish reader is sick of restaurants with numbers in their names. I think she’s overreacting a little but here’s what she has to say:
I’m sick of these numbered restaurant names. Soooo many! Just pulled up Eater and the first two articles are about Café 43 and House 34. Then, of course, there’s 560 and FT33 and Stampede 66. Central 214. Surely, I’m missing a few. 20 Feet. I’d gladly eat at any of them. But, these names. Will it ever stop?
Numbers don’t bother me as much as exclamation points or an unfamiliar accent mark that doesn’t allow me to understand the name in blink. What are some of your least favorite names for restaurants?11 Comments »
It’s official: Tuesday, April 23 is when Mot Hai Ba (“123″ in Vietnamese) is opening, starting at 11 a.m. (lunch) and 5 p.m. (dinner).
So far, so good. This Vietnamese street food restaurant sounds promising, especially since Dallas needs more Asian food. It’s a cool thing the ladies of Good 2 Go Taco are rising to the challenge.
But as long as we’re on this subject, I’m just going to come out and say it. No one else on the food blogosphere has, but I’m jet lagged and groggy from 20-something hours of travelling back from Taiwan (Btw, thanks for your system failure yesterday, American Airlines. Loved being stuck in Vancouver.), so I’m okay with being the bad guy.
Any restaurant name that needs a pronunciation guide in the press release is guaranteed bad news. Nancy said it right here when she found out Sēr (pronounced “sear”) was replacing Nana. Sēr may have been terrible, but Mot Hai Ba tops the cake of really, really bad names. I’m adding it to our growing list of worst names for restaurants, ever. Even WITH the pronunciation guide, mo’oht high bah, I doubt 99% of Lakewood residents are going to be able to say “123″ in Vietnamese correctly. Did you know that the Vietnamese language has six tones? (Chinese has five tones, and even I struggle with that.)
I know Jeana Johnson explained to Teresa on CultureMap that people say “mot hai ba, yo!” before they drink in Vietnam, but when I forwarded the press release to a Vietnamese friend, she didn’t make that connection upon reading the headline. She was confused about the name. So am I. Why not pick a name with more meaning? What about something non-Vietnamese clientele can actually pronounce? As for me, I’m going to go with Liz’s suggestion and call it “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” for now.
[Update 4/23/13 - Chinese has four tones, not five. Let's hope my old Chinese school teachers never stumble on this blog.]30 Comments »
I’m a lot crabby today. It started last night when I arranged to meet a colleague for drinks at The Establishment, the new craft cocktail lounge on Travis. The place opened a week or so ago and is owned by Brian Williams and Michael Martensen the boys behind Cedars Social. I arrived at 5:45PM and found the doors locked. Of course, they are too cool to put up a sign but I’d seen the picture of the entrance on Facebook so at least I was in-the-know enough to know which of the five doors into the space to knock on. Using my iPhone, I went to their Facebook page for hours.
Apparently they are too cool to list their hours. From reading older posts it looks like they randomly decided when to open: Sometimes 5PM; sometimes 7PM. Also, the bar isn’t called The Establishment—that will be the name once they get the kitchen open. The bar/lounge is actually called Smyth. Unless you are on Facebook 24/7, you wouldn’t have a clue. I called the phone number which was answered by some space cadet at Cedars Social who couldn’t help me one bit. Strange business model if you ask me. Maybe it works in New York, but this is Dallas and I think Tristan Simon taught us a while back at Sense that private or reservations-only bars don’t work here. The ‘80s are over.
Next…22 Comments »
Leslie Brenner admits that, until recently, she wasn’t a fan of brunching in Dallas. I can dig that; I hate brunch. But Brenner has changed her mind. In fact, she says: “I’m now feeling very sunny-side-up about the whole brunch thing, and after months of brunching my way around Dallas and environs, I’ve come up with an exciting list.”
And she did: Bolsa, Café on the Green, Mansion, Fearing’s, The Front Room, J.S. Chen’s, Smoke, and Village Marquee. Brenner also added Q de Cheval, the restaurant at the InterContinental hotel. The all-you-can-eat, in my opinion, uninspired brunch menu sells for $29.95 a person and includes bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas (yawn). However, my glasses fell off my nose when I read this: “Not everything’s wonderful (I had tepid sausages and deviled eggs that were partially frozen), but lots of things are good…”
What? Frozen deviled eggs? Who freezes deviled eggs? Who puts a restaurant with partially frozen deviled eggs and tepid sausages on a “best” list? Oh, my head. Brenner should have gone to Spiral Diner.17 Comments »
I’m starting to think there are evil spirits in the walls at One Arts Plaza. The spaces that housed the Screen Door and the Commissary have had more turnovers than the Dallas Mavericks in their respective early seasons. The Greek – Pita, Meze, Wine, a restaurant that lost original chef Richard Silva before they opened, has lost another, Taylor Kearney. According to Steven “Big Tex” Doyle, Kearney, who left Boulevardier recently for a new job at The Greek, is now headed to Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse.
Also, Silva has moved across the plaza and is now cheffing at Alberto Lombardi’s Café des Artistes. The Greek owners, Costa and Mary Arabatzis, must be despondent (or difficult to work for). I wonder if Lucy Billingsley, the woman with the vision for One Arts Plaza, ever imagined herself as a restaurateur by default. It’s certainly a seller’s market for chefs right now. New restaurants create new opportunities. Let the whac-a-mole chefs games begin.
UPPITY DATE: Looks like Doyle jumped the gun on Silva. This from Café des Artistes: ” Richard Silva is not the chef for Café des Artistes. I’m not sure where Steven Doyle got that information, but Richard Silva was never coming on as part of the Café des Artistes team. You will be receiving updated chef information for Café des Artistes later today.”12 Comments »
Just off the phone with Nick Badovinus who tells me he is unlocking the doors in about an hour and a half for a private showing of his newest creation, Tried and True. “It’s a cool little bar with a heavy American spirit menu,” Badovinus says. Huh? I’ll translate.
Bourbon and whiskey are the stars at the bar. No fancy craft cocktails; not a mixologist on site. “It’s a heavy American whiskey focus and I’m doing lots of charcuterie with aged hams imported from Meacham Country (Sturgis, KY) and Benton’s Smoky Mountain (Tennessee),” Badovinus says. “Call it an all-American ham program.”
The bar will offer four beers: Peticolas, Deep Ellum, Lakewood Brewing Co., and Boulevard are on the opening rotation.
The menu will feature burgers, sandwiches, bar steaks, a taco program, and little apps such as brisket nachos and fried zucchini. In a few weeks he’ll add a red-eye menu which will basically be breakfast for dinner served until closing. The dude in the kitchen is Johnny “Lady Killer’ Miller who has been with Badovinus for a few years and was instrumental in getting the Neighborhood Services open at Preston Royal.
The interior is “dark and lived in” like a juke joint with a pool table. Two café racer motorcycles hang on the walls. “They are an addiction I have to shake,” Badovinus says. “I’ve got my sons first two years of college on the walls here.”
Doors open officially at 6PM tomorrow (Friday, September 14). Located in the space formerly known as Neighborhood Services Tavern. 2405 Henderson Ave. 214-827-2405.4 Comments »
The space formerly known as Bailey’s Prime Plus in the West 7th area will morph into Waters, Bonnell’s Fine Coastal Cuisine. Chef Jon Bonnell describes the place as “Fort Worth Fancy.” His shooters will not be lobster, they will be oysters. The fish will be fresh, sustainable, and “eco-friendly seafood from the waters of the world.” Waters will open in February 2012. In the mean time, you can visit Bonnell at Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine.
A Disher with a lot of initials after his last name writes with a tale I’ve never been told. He wants to know if anyone else has had the same experience at other restaurants. He asked me to delete the name of the place but he doesn’t mind if you guess.
Dined at [redacted] yesterday. Ordered a decent bottle of wine and the server brought what could only be the cheapest restaurant-supply wine glasses for our red. Noticing proper stemware at the table next to us, I asked our server if we could have proper glassware for our wine. Here’s what floored me: he said that we had the only stemware “the owner” provides, and that most servers provide their own, better stemware, for their tables. Paid for by the servers! Our server said the owner wanted a “bistro” feel, and also cited the cost of breakage. I certainly understand the cost…but when many wines are well over $60/bottle (and several over $100), I would hope for a better wine experience. Have you run across this before?
No, I have not. But I did kill a skunk once.16 Comments »
Both Christophers, Zielke and Jeffers, of Bolsa Mercado confirm the shop opening up in Arlington has nothing to do with Bolsa Mercado in Bishop Arts. So, there you have it. Call anyway and ask them if it is true: 214-367-9367.
Today we learned Ghostbar, once the highest grossing club in Dallas, is closing. According to one employee, most of the club’s workers found out they were jobless by reading about it on blogs. Ouch, that’s cold.
Our first concern was for Wade Randolph Hampton, the dude behind the vibe at Ghostbar. “What will happen to Wade,” cried one co-worker. “Oh, my gosh. I wish Wish FM were here so I could cuddle with him,” swooned another. If you don’t know Wade/Wish, you can read this interview.
Well, don’t worry about Wish. According to a lengthy press release I received, his has been granted. Listen up.
Hampton’s fans will still be able to catch his local shows every Friday at the intensely authentic yet still hushed discotheque (and 50’s dancehall of the same name) – It’ll Do – where he has partnered with heralded impresario Brooke Humphries. His bombastic Friday hoedown, called The ISH, will feature the absolute cutting-edge in bass music and indie-electro with a bevy of globally recognized artists, including members of the unstoppable Pretty Lights camp and Dallas dubstep prodigy, Spenca.
He’s also joining up with M3 Films execs and producers Michael Cain and Melina McKinnon. They are currently producing multiple projects including the STARCK PROJECT. Jump for the notes and quotes. Continue reading "Ghostbar Has Vanished? Where is Wade Randolph Hampton?"2 Comments »
At this very moment, I am shooting the breezes with Nick Badovinus. He is on my speaker phone. He is laughing so hard and spouting Nick-isms so fast I can’t take them all down.
It all started when I noticed a Bud Kennedy tweet: “@eatsbeat Dallas’ retro Off Site Kitchen burger grill opening 2nd loc[ation] at 2405 N Henderson, Dallas.” What “shocked” me is Bud is a real reporter. He’s been in the business for a long time. He doesn’t gossip at media dinners, he makes phone calls and asks questions. I spoke with Nick a couple of weeks ago about his “renno” at NHS Tavern and he had no idea what he was going to name it. He had a new sign and some groovy new décor items, but he had no name.
He still doesn’t have a name of the place that will reopen soon. But it is NOT going to be Off-Site Kitchen. Why? Because Off-Site Kitchen is basically a commissary with a food service element. Badovinus has all of his food orders sent to Off-Site Kitchen (hence, the name) and from there, they are portioned and distributed to his other restaurants. It’s a smart business move that pays for itself by serving bitchin’ sandwiches.
Here’s what Badovinus is saying between sobs of laughter and disbelief: “Where does this s*&t come from? I mean who are these people who know more than I do? It has never come out of my mouth that there is going to be another Off-Site Kitchen. Never. How does somebody write that? I mean, do people just make these things up? Tell me, please. How does this get started? I mean people are already bitching to me that Off-Site Kitchen is too small so I’m, what, gonna take a place that sells a $3.75 cheeseburger and stick it in a high-rent location with valet parking? ( a 30-second guffaw) I mean do people think I’m stupid. It makes no business sense. Off-Site Kitchen is not a brand, it’s a place. (Oh, I see a t-shirt in the works!) It’s a real commissary not named Commissary. I mean why can’t people just call and ask me? I’m sorry this just makes me so crazy. I don’t know how you do this s*&t for a living. You must be freakin’ exhausted.”14 Comments »
Recently Applebee’s launched a new ad campaign. (It has Don Draper written all over it!) The tagline is “See You Tomorrow.” According to ADWEEK, it “positions Applebee’s as the champion of a sort of anti-foodie backlash, pitching fare that purports to be tasty, and simple, but still somewhat classy—for example, new summer dishes like Lemon Shrimp Fettucine and Florentine House Sirloin.” The TV commercials feature “chefs” with names like “Carl” who wax poetic over their ingredients only to be stopped by a voice from above: “Carl, you’re doing it again. You’re talking about tomatoes like they’re your children.”
The money quote from the piece: “It’s classic food porn with a faux-haute twist—a dinner bell for the happily apathetic.”
Fascinating stuff. Check out how many people it took to pull this campaign together: four Content Managers, three Cognitive Anthropologists, seven Creative Directors, and scads of “Peggys,” “Rogers,” and “Petes.”
One question. What is classic food porn? No, make that two. Are you happily apathetic?12 Comments »
According to msnbc.com, diners can look forward to an increase in sports-themed restaurants featuring scantily clad servers. Those servers would be women. In fact, the article refers to breastaurants as “part of a booming niche in the beleaguered restaurant industry.” Associated Press Reporter Candice Choi writes:
Instead of relying on lust alone, the new crop of restaurants is growing by offering new themes (think: rustic lodges and Celtic pubs) and varied menus (think: pot roast and shepherd’s pie instead of just burgers and wings). In other words, they’re hoping maybe people really are coming in for the food.
We’ve talked about this before. Last year, we wrote about Breastaurant Row in Lewisville. We also opened the floor to commenters to come up with names of restaurants using male body parts as themes. (Twin Pricks, Tooter’s, Pecker’s Hot Italian Sausage, Tube Steak Junction, Long Dong Silver, Tally Whacker’s, andTwig and Berries) Why do boys get all of the visuals? I can’t wait for a sports-themed restaurant where I can watch the Rangers on TV while noshing on a plate of Roman artichoke nachos served by an oiled stud muffin in a loin cloth. Join me?2 Comments »
Team, I mean Restaurants America has landed in Dallas and is now spreading their mighty wings across the city. The multi-concept restaurant company operates seven brands and about 20 restaurants in Illinois, Texas, and Florida. In Dallas, they operate Primebar in Uptown, Townhouse Kitchen + Bar in North Dallas, and the soon-to-open Park Tavern across from Bailey’s Prime Plus on Park Lane. (Avner Samuel has confirmed he will not be the chef at any of these restaurants.) Recently, RA leased the space formerly known as Vapiano in Mockingbird Station. (I have it on good authority that concept will not be called Nosh Euro Bistro. I can’t confirm that Cafe Med has been ruled out. However, Mockingbird Taproom seems to be on the leader board.)
Today comes word: Restaurant America is putting a gastro sports pub in the Design District. It will be called Central Standard. Note to RA: you should have called the restaurant in Mockingbird Station Central Standard, IJS. No matter what they call it, the space is located in the ground floor of 1400 Hi Line, a 23-story, 314-unit multifamily project that is expected to open this summer and be completed in early 2013. Central Standard is expected to open in Fall 2012.
The press release says nothing about the food. Which begs the question: what is a gastro sport? Followed by: what is gastro sports food? Balls? Wings? Ducks? Oh the possibilities are endless.7 Comments »
“Hey, honey I’m in the mood for a good steak tonight. Where should we go?”
“How about Sēr’s?”
“No, I don’t want a new washing machine, I want a cowboy rib-eye. Why would I want to go to Sears?”
Okay, it needs a lot of workshopping but so does the name Sēr. That is the name of the new steakhouse replacing Nana in the Hilton Anatole. Sēr is set to open on October 1, 2012.
If a restaurant name is sent out in a press release and followed by “(pronounced “sear”),” I can tell you there will be trouble. Names should be easy to read and say. A customer should be able to glance at the name, style of font, and get an idea of what they are to expect.
Contemporary marketing people: We are stupid. Asador may be a great restaurant, but it doesn’t sound like one. We like our names simple. Even CampO Modern Bistro can be shortened to as CampO’s. Nobody has to pronounce that silly big O. What would have been wrong with Nana’s Steakhouse? You could have combined some tradition along with your fancy “open, airy layout that is both casual and sophisticated. Warm cognac and whiskey leathers, locally sourced end-grain mesquite walls and community tables, rich mesquite floors and solid walnut tabletops create a masculine, yet hip and urban feel. A chef’s table and wine display will be an intimate destination adjacent to the exhibition kitchen. And, of course, its stunning views make it unique among its competitors.”
Sēr that! Full press release below. Continue reading "Oh No! Say It Isn’t So! Nana Will Turn Into A Contemporary Steakhouse Called Sēr"
How long before Oak Cliff secedes from Dallas county to form their own little republic? Think how cool that would be for the business folk: the restaurateurs and funky food shops could make their own rules, they could charge a toll to enter and exit, and fine customers not wearing flannel.
Obviously either Tim Byres, Christopher Jeffers, or Chris Zielke (or all three!) would rule the roost. Today the triumvirate announced two more projects. The owners of Smoke and Bar Belmont took over the 3-acre plot of land that used to be Jack’s Backyard. (Fort Worth Avenue and Pittman St.) First up: Chicken Scratch, a family-friendly restaurant serving—wait for it—“cast-iron fried and wood-fired rotisserie chicken with wholesome handmade sides.” It’s “slow fast food.” (Wouldn’t it be fast slow food? I’ll leave that one for someone else like Jack Perkins.)
Next door to The Scratching Chicken, I mean Chicken Scratch, will be The Foundry. Sounds serious, right? Nope. The Foundry will be a bar offering simple drinks. (Drama! Do I sense a struggle between mixolgists v bartenders?) The drinks with be simple and strong. (I could say something about my ex-husband here but I’ll let it pass.) There will be beer—lots of drafts and bottles and microbrews plus “usual suspects.” Affordable! Live music! And, if they can swing it: the property will be able to “host food and merchandise trucks, drive-in movies, and other community themed events.”
The Foundry is scheduled in early January 2012 and Chicken Scratch “soon after.” (I still think they should have named it Petticoat Junction. Wouldn’t you eat chicken at the Shady Rest? Such a duh.)
Trending: “Scratch” in a restaurant name, fried chicken, and regular bartenders without pork pie hands and mutton chops.” Somebody get me a Realtor.