A good restaurant name can help bring in business. It can reflect the specific type of cuisine being served (Prime Italian), the restaurant's philosophy (Michael's Genuine Food & Drink), or even remind people where the venue is located (11th St. Diner). In general, the moniker should be easy to remember and easy to spell.
Bad restaurant names do the opposite. They can be meaningless, clumsy, misleading, or just plain silly. Miami does pretty well on this front: There aren't a whole lot of poorly tabbed eateries. But we did find a perplexing sextet of names that could use a re-do. Here they are:
6. Uva 69:The definition of uva -- unless you speak Spanish and then it means "grape" -- is "the region of the ultraviolet spectrum...that causes tanning and contributes to aging of the skin." Wow, just saying that makes me hungry! The number "69" works because the restaurant is located on Biscayne Boulevard and 69th Street -- although the prefacing Uva makes the place sound like an exotic twist on the sexual position. Plus you would never guess from the name that this is a European-style café. BUT WAIT: The restaurants' website has been changed, and now the name reads: Uva's Restaurant (which, to switch back to Spanish, means "Grape's Restaurant"). Still not great.
5. A Fish Called Avalon: This brings up the danger of going with a topical name for your business. When this restaurant first opened in 1989, the 1988 movie A Fish Called Wanda was still fresh in public's mind. So as a play on words about a movie people were talking about, it probably worked quite well. Twenty-three years later, the connection between eatery and movie isn't as strong. On the other hand, they do manage to get both the type of cuisine and the name of the hotel the restaurant is located in within the title, so it's not a totally useless moniker -- just outdated.
4. New Disco Fish Market & Restaurant: Like the above "Avalon" reference, New Disco Fish is stuck with a name that reflects a trend from decades ago. Plus "disco" really doesn't have that great a connotation to begin with, and certainly has nothing to do with food. This West Kendall seafood house used to be called "Disco Fish," but after it moved to SW 40th Street the "New" was added. Might be a new location, but the name makes the place sound really old and out of it.
3. Dolores, But You Can Call Me Lolita: Love that the owners appreciate Vladimir Nabokov's masterpiece Lolita, and you could argue that this is so offbeat as to be memorable. But really, it's way long and has nothing whatsoever to do with food, drink, or dining out in general. In other words, it's meaningless. Rule of thumb: If you need to place a comma in the restaurant name, it's probably too lengthy.
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2. Norman's 180: This would have been fine if Norman Van Aken still had something to do with the place. But he doesn't, so the name is extremely misleading -- especially to out-of-towners who come here to visit and make the assumption that Norman will be roaming the premises. Which makes this more than a bad name -- it makes it an exploitative one.
1. neMesis Urban Bistro: In Greek mythology, Nemesis is the spirit of divine retribution. The word is defined as "a source of harm or ruin; one that inflicts vengeance; an opponent that cannot be beaten or overcome." Not real appetizing, and sort of hostile -- the absolute opposite of what a restaurant name is supposed to be: welcoming. What does this have to do with dining? What kind of food do you suppose the place serves? And what's with the small "n" at the beginning of the word, and the capitalization of "M" in the middle? A difficult-to-spell, confusing moniker with negative connotations: That's what we mean by a bad restaurant name.