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Feb 18, 2013 09:10 PM

"This" & "that"

Why are so many of the newish restaurants named "This" & "that". For example, Walrus & Carpenter, Sitka & Spruce, Hook & Plow, Anchovies & Olives. Did I miss any?

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  1. Just a guess, but perhaps it evokes old English pub names (Cock and Bull, Slug and Lettuce, Elephant and Castle...)

    1. Don't forget:

      Crumble & Flake
      Staple & Fancy
      Needle & Thread

      ...among others. I thought I wrote a thread about this a few months ago, but maybe I only thought about it and never did. I personally find it overly cute to the point of being pretentious. I think there should be a new rule: you can't use an ampersand unless the words on either side are real names of the real proprietors.

      1 Reply
      1. re: acgold7

        Yes, I forgot those, Thank you! And if I missed your thread, I apologize. I meant to post this comment a few months ago as well- perhaps we were thinking of it at the same time. Regardless, if the food is good, I'll eat there, but these ampersand names are starting to get 'corporate'. I think the trend is over, or at least for new restaurants I would want to try.

      2. I am reminded of a comment on a thread on the New Orleans board, in which a traditionalist decried the use of any any name that was not limited to a proprietor's name followed by the apostrophe and the letter s (i.e. Antoines's, Brennan's, Arnaud's, Galatoire's, etc.).

        To me, an ampersand name is perfectly sensible, whether it is linking two names, two ingredients, or whatever. I'll admit the pattern is sometimes more mysterious (Sitka & Spruce) than a genuine clue (Anchovies & Olives), but when the restaurant is good, the names seem ok.

        1. Man, I have been wanting to bring that up for ages. I just think it's an annoying trend. Not unlike the terse, one-word restaurant name trend several years ago: Crow, Crave, Lark, Crush, etc.

          3 Replies
          1. re: TheCarrieWatson

            Hi, Carrie:

            It is getting a little tiresome at this point, isn't it? So much for doublets, so passe. Maybe triplets, like "Staple, Fancy & Meh"? Or mini-sonnets as in "You'll Eat What Preciousness We Serve You, and Rave"


            1. re: kaleokahu

              Haha - watch that actually happen. I like Gizmo's comment about the old-school, very literal convention of restaurant naming. For some reason it made me chuckle, remembering the Simpsons episode showing a restaurant called, "Two Guys from Kabul".
              It's also true that the worse name in the world can eventually seem great if the quality of the product is superlative. A host of band names come to mind.
              But this thing with the "this and the that" to me seems affected and trendy.

            2. re: TheCarrieWatson

              Carrie - I think you hit the nail on the head! Ampersand = current (hopefully waning...) trend. The one-word name was the last one.

              I fear the coming trend is more like Renee Erickson's 'The Whale Wins' THAT trend could get awkward fast if new places are going to get a whole phrase..... aaaccckkk!

            3. I like this.

              I am mildly irked by the convention of various Asian restaurants (usually unremarkable ones) including "Grill" or "Bistro" in the title when the food actually served includes little or no grilled items or typical bistro fare. E.g., "Thai Grill," "Noodle Bistro."

              1 Reply
              1. re: equinoise

                I'm much more irked by "cutesy" names of pho places - "What the Pho", "Jenni Pho", "Phobulous". Ugh. The "cleverness" is without exception inversely exponential to the quality of the establishment.