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Not About Food

Restaurants and Bars with Clever Names (moved from Chicago)

Rene G | Jul 16, 200306:04 PM     33

I tried to restrain myself, really I did, but all those wok puns got me thinking of other Chicago restaurants and bars with “clever” names. This is from something I posted to chi.eats several years ago. A number of these establishments have since gone out of business (wonder why?).

Owners of hot dog stands seem especially fond of puns. Examples are First National Frank (was near McCormick Place; you ordered your hot dogs at teller’s windows), Relish the Thought (Halsted), Wiener’s Circle (Clark), Dog Day Afternoon (Belmont), Wiener and Still Champion (Evanston), Mustard’s Last Stand (Evanston), and Wiener Takes All (some other suburb).

Back in Lettuce Entertain You’s salad days, cute names were obligatory. I think Jonathan Livingston Seafood was their second restaurant and Lawrence of Oregano was their third.

A deli in Skokie goes by the name of Barnum & Bagel. Even worse is the Loop bakery, My Favorite Muffin (LaSalle). Other bakeries are Cake Walk (Pulaski), Bake for Me (Roosevelt), and Hot Cakes (Dayton).

There are quite a few Thai restaurants with "clever" names. I can think of My Thai (too many in Chicago), Thai-Rific and Bow Thai.

Chinese restaurants aren’t immune: there’s China Doll (Wells), Wok’n’Roll (53rd) and Mandar-Inn (Wentworth).

Names containing "Inn" are very tempting. The Come Back Inn (Melrose Park) comes to mind. We also have Drift Inn (Western) and Squeeze Inn (65th). At least Chicago doesn’t have a Dew Drop Inn (I hope). Along these lines, there was a place in Seattle, Peter’s Inn. The exit door was marked with a sign, "Peter’s Out."

I’m sure lots of cities have coffee shops named Uncommon Grounds. There’s one in Chicago (on Grace).

I don't know if owners of hot dog stands or bars love awful names more. I think the matter merits some serious research.

I always liked the Lizard Lounge. Chicago's may be gone but I'm sure there are many others (I think even Paris has one).

El-Kees is at the corner of Elston and Keeler but it's a better name than that. Then there's Tuman's Alcohol Abuse Center on Chicago and Leavitt.

Maybe the most tasteless name was Rest In Pieces on Western, right across from the cemetery (the bar is now gone, RIP). Also on the northwest side is Sit-n-Bull, just a regular place on Pulaski.

Ginger's Ale House (Ashland), Pour House (Southport), Clark Bar (guess), and Club Foot (Augusta) are moderately clever but probably not even close to original.

I'm not sure which name is worse, Mugs Bunny (far south side) or Stocks and Blondes (financial district).

Enough already! Please forgive me.

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