Restaurant names explained

Alinea restaurant

Some restaurant names are obvious--they are named for the owners, the type of food served, or their location. Others seem to be letter salad. But some are more mysterious: you know there is a reason behind them, but you may not know what it is.  Rachel Tepper of Yahoo! Food has found out the reasons behind the names of several of the world's most famous restaurants.

No one will be surprised that the name of René Redzepi's award-winning restaurant, Noma, is a clever amalgamation of " two Danish words: "nordisk" (Nordic) and "mad" (food)," or that Grant Achatz's Chicago restaurant is "named for a symbol also known as a "pilcrow" or "paragraph sign," which indicates a new trail of thought." Sometimes a chance exchange leads to a restaurant name. When Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame was asked about what his New York outpost would be like, he responded that "It would not be like the The French Laundry, per se, but rather an interpretation." 

Sometimes the names are more personal. Le Bernardin, the lauded NYC French seafood restaurant, is named for a folk song titled "Les Moines de St. Bernardin."  Gilbert Le Coze, the late founding owner of the restaurant, "held the song dear; his father used to sing it to him when he was a babe." A restaurant name may not make the food taste any better, but it can certainly add to its charm.

Photo credit: Alinea/facebook

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