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Aug 1, 2010 12:08 PM

Bad Restaurant Names

I just saw a reference to a new restaurant called "The Cork and Cleaver." To me, a name like that says "don't eat here, the food is out of date and really bad." I can't explain exactly why, it just does. "House of China" is another one that leaves me wondering.

Do restaurant names sometimes tell you, even if you know nothing else about the place, to run the other way? Or perhaps the opposite, that the food is likely to be really good?

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  1. House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer opened fairly recently near me in Laguna Beach. As soon as I saw the sign go up, I wanted to try it.
    On the other hand, Tastes of Greece-well, not the most apt choice.

    8 Replies
    1. re: BubblyOne

      Too funny that this is up now. Today I picked up a copy of "Here Speeching American", a compilation of mangled English used abroad on signs, notices, menus. Restaurant names include Dead Fish, Cafe de Cancer, and Nightmare Italian Food. Offerings include Fried Uterus, Shrimps in Spit, Grilled Potties, and Fried Rice From Hell. "All water served has been personally passed by Manager". Or you can drink an orangeade called Pipi. And "If you finger the waitress and still she does not come, report to Manager".

      1. re: Querencia

        This one is not food-related, but in Santiago, Chile, there was a store owned by someone who appeared to be interested in gambling, according to the dice and playing cards painted on his sign, and he called his place the "Crap Store."

        1. re: johnb

          It appears the store owner learned some English but not enough. If they really wanted to have the store to be naned after that particular dice game, it should have been named the Craps Store.

          1. re: John E.

            True, but if the owner really knew English and naned it "Craps", perhaps it wouldn't be as funny.

            1. re: porker

              Did you hear about the goose that went to the casino? He crapped out.

              1. re: John E.

                Would the joke work with a duck?

                1. re: porker

                  Not so much. Ducks are known for their farts. (Did somebody step on a duck?) Geese are known for their, ahem, crap. Remember when U.S. Army General Patton encouraged his troops to go through the enemy like crap through a goose? Plus, we have way too many geese here in Minneaota. They are pests and our parks and golf courses are covered with, ahem, goose crap. I've been told they, ahem, crap a kilo a day. So the joke really only works with a goose.

                  1. re: John E.

                    Well shut the front door, I wasn't aware of the goose's reputation as a crapper! Thanks for the heads up.

    2. Today I ate at a place called Big Wong. Now this alone would only get a giggle if you are in the 3rd grade. But on the way to the resto I passed a clothing store called Miss Hoe.

      5 Replies
      1. re: iluvcookies

        Assuming this is the Big Wong's in New York City, then actually somewhere I'd insisted we go to eat on our last trip from the UK. Place regularly features in the Kinky Friedman books which I'm a great fan. Just had to have lunch there (the name doesnt immediately raise a snigger in British English, BTW, although I understand the reference)

        1. re: Harters

          Big Wong is terrific... I love the soups and the roast pork omelets there (it is the one in NYC Chinatown). I had no idea that it had been mentioned in the books. Thanks for the info :)

          1. re: iluvcookies

            He always has "roast pork over rice". So did I, of course. Pretty good.

            1. re: Harters

              I was at Big Wong yesterday and had Roast Pork in soup with mai fun noodles. The coating on the pork infused the broth and was heavenly. My DH ordered congee (bland) and I had to fight him off my soup.
              And I thought of this post while eating... who says CH doesn't take over ines life???

              1. re: iluvcookies

                Big Wong is in fact part of a sort of chain within Manhattans Chinatown as far as I can tell the head chef founder of each branch got his training at the orginal Wing Wong, and then kept the Wong part of the name (either that, or theyre all part of the same cooking family). Certainly they all share nearly identical menus. There Fu Wong, Hong Wong,Hon Wong New Big Wong, New Wong, Ho Wong. Please don't take this racistly, but I have joked thay maybe each one shoud set up shop next door on the same street, then they could put up a big sign at one end that said "Wong Way". As far as I can tell most are about equal on food (very good, but basically equal) though on personal opinion, I tend to be put off a little by the logos on Fu Wongs, and Hon Wong's menus (I know that bats are considered good luck signs in Chinese culture, but why did they have to draw such scary ones, and why do they look like they have swizzle straws?) There was even once a branch in Flushing, May Wong Though they chaged there name to Dragon Town (still same meu though)

          1. re: monku

            they stole the Idea from Pho King restaurant. =)

              1. re: thew

                Maybe, maybe not. There a Foo King in Manhattan (on 10th in the low 40's). And Fu Can Fried rice (Fukien?) is a fairy common sight on menus (one of my friends used to do a very bad comedy ruotine about this basically about Jack Nicolson trying to order in a Chinese Resturaunt.)

                1. re: jumpingmonk

                  fu king is not pho king. thats my point - they did not take the idea of fu king from pho king.

            1. re: monku

              There used to be a Chinese restaurant in Maplewood, MN called Fu Xing, but I think your sign/restaurant has them beat.

            2. Coming soon to Seattle: "Staple and Fancy Mercantile" and "The Walrus and the Carpenter". In the same building, no less. Maybe not BAD, but certainly not evocative of, y'know, food.

              4 Replies
              1. re: lavaca

                "The Walrus and the Carpenter" ... these are characters in Alice in Wonderland so OK, the owner loves Lewis Carroll.
                But Staple and Fancy Mercantile? Sounds like it belongs in a bad western movie :)

                1. re: iluvcookies

                  "Staple and Fancy Mercantile" was a phrase on a sign uncovered during the restoration of the building, so I guess we are lucky that the building wasn't previously, say, a doctor's office. The same guy also runs a restaurant named for MFK Fisher's "How to Cook a Wolf".

                  1. re: lavaca

                    I have no idea if any of them still exist, but in Cincinnati during the late 70s/early 80s, there were many restaurants that were more or less named after the businesses that previously occupied the buildings. I remember The Edwards Manufacturing Company, Zino's Firehouse, The Last National Bank, and Tom Powell's Funeral Parlour. There were probably others.

                2. re: lavaca

                  The Walrus and the Carpenter has been a raw bar (how appropriate) in Boston's Quincy Market for over 20 years.

                3. House o' Giblets in Westchester -- they do a wonderful stuffed derma.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: beevod

                    Where is this place? Is it home made (the Kishke)?