Cool restaurant names – why and how to (re)name your eatery

feature lox stock bagels cool restaurant names

In this post, I will explain how having a cool name will benefit your restaurant. I will also give you some tips on how to come up with your own cool restaurant name and show you some examples of restaurants that absolutely killed it.

Why a cool restaurant name matters

The name you choose will have an impact on how your restaurant is perceived. So if you want people to think you’re cool, you have to call yourself something cool. James Currier of NFX, a venture firm for entrepreneurs, recently wrote an entire article on the importance of getting your company name right. He explains:

“It’s psychological. People often aren’t aware of the impact your name is having on them. … It sets expectations of your company in the blink of an eye. And first impressions are hard to change.”

Talk about pressure! But not to worry: you can test different cool names to make sure you find the right one. As Fiona McSwein at Simply Business recommends:

“Involve potential customers and other stakeholders. … They are the the targets for your new name, so it pays to have them involved.”

Putting that advice into action can mean several things. Does your cool restaurant have a yoga theme for example? Reach out to local studios and ask for permission to send their members a questionnaire via email. Is your restaurant aimed at families? Set up a Facebook ad and target parents. You can even choose to target people with kids in a specific age range.

How to come up with cool restaurant names in the first place

According to the Webstaurant Store blog, puns and other types of wordplay are the way to go:

“Fun names, like Thai Tanic and Mrs Sippy, will put a smile on your customers’ faces and put them at ease, adding to the relaxed tone of your business.”

If you’re having a hard time thinking of food-related puns, you can also try one of the many free name generators out there. Simply enter some information about your restaurant, click “generate,” and get inspired.

5 cool restaurant names you wish you’d thought of first

Finally, it’s time to learn from the pros. These restaurants put a lot of thought into naming their businesses. The plays on words reference books, events, or phrases that nearly everyone is familiar with – and they all make a clear connection to the types of foods the restaurants offer. Clever (gets people’s attention) + informative (tells people what to expect) = cool.

Cool restaurant name 1: Tequila Mockingbird in Ocean City MD

tequila mockingbird cool restaurant names

This name is cool because not only is tequila a popular Mexican spirit (and this restaurant serves Mexican food), it really does sound a lot like ‘to kill a.’ Additionally, almost everybody in America has read the novel ‘To kill a mockingbird.’ And even if they haven’t, they’ve likely seen the movie and they’re bound to get the reference.

Cool restaurant name 2: Lord of the Fries in Melbourne (Australia)

lord of the fries cool restaurant names

This is another cool name based on literature: ‘Lord of the flies’ by Nobel Prize-winning British Author William Golding is one of those books everybody has at least heard of. The name gets people’s attention. And so does the restaurant’s extraordinary menu: Lord of the fries specializes in vegan, kosher and halal fries, burgers, onion rings, nuggets, and hot dogs.  

Cool restaurant name 3: Lox Stock & Bagels in Connecticut

 lox cool restaurant names

This one is a little more complicated than the first two – but no less cool. The phrase ‘lock, stock, and barrel’ is used to mean ‘the whole thing.’ The three words refer to the three parts of a musket: the lock is the firing mechanism, the stock is the wooden butt, and the barrel is the tube of the firearm. Lox Stock & Bagels took each of these words and cleverly turned them into food-related terms. Unsurprisingly, the cafe’s menu includes bagels with lox spread (brined salmon) and several different soups. Oh, and speaking of ‘the whole thing’ – they cater, too.

Cool restaurant name 4: Mustard’s Last Stand in Colorado

mustard cool restaurant names

Cool restaurant name number four has to do with weaponry, too: Mustard’s Last Stand references Custer’s Last Stand, the 1876 battle during which Chief Sitting Bull defeated Lieutenant Colonel George Custer within an hour. Mustard’s Last Stand specializes in Chicago-style hot dogs which are topped with mustard instead of ketchup. It was founded by Dan Polovin when he realized that he wasn’t the only Chicago native who missed the hot dog stands of his hometown.

Cool restaurant name 5: WisePies in Albuquerque

cool restaurant names WisePies

And we’re back to pop culture: WisePies sounds a lot like ‘Wise Guy,’ the 1985 non-fiction book detailing an Italian-American mobster’s life of crime. ‘Wise Guy’ may not be as big as ‘To kill a mockingbird’ or ‘Lord of the flies,’ but the subsequent Martin Scorsese movie ‘Goodfellas’ won 44 awards, including an Oscar. By the way, the pies truly are wise at this build-your-own pizza restaurant: choose from several healthy options like whole-wheat crust and low-fat toppings.

What are some other cool restaurant names? Let me know in the comments!

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