You know that saying "You never get a second chance to make a first impression?" Restaurant owners, as a breed, seem to like to give the phrase the finger, bestowing crazyass names on their restaurants -- Thai Tanic, anyone? -- in hopes that a) the "first impression" they impart will get you a'running on in and b) their hilarity and/or vulgarity and/or sincerity make you fail to recognize the absence of a relationship between a place's name and its food. It's kind of awesome.
The Twin Cities have their own share of awesome restaurant names. These are less crazyass and more like badass. The best ones bear a little of both. Here's our Top 5:
1. It might be loud. It might be overpriced. It's definitely obnoxious. But you've gotta hand it to Chino Latino. Its rhyme-y, cross-cultural zing of a moniker sorta makes you reconsider swearing the place off. Others have honed in on the concept, like Señor Wong's and the former Chang O'Hara's, likewise places not really worth writing home about but because of the name you just sorta keep ending up there. These guys just might be on to something.
Bill Kelley/City Pages Alma Guzman/City Pages
4. Tanpopo means "dandelion" in Japanese, which is admittedly very precious, but it doesn't stop it from being, in English at least, a funny and addicting word to say. It's totally like when Buddy the Elf meets a co-worker of his father's named Francisco ("Francisco! That's fun to say! Francisco ...") and can't stop saying it.
5. The U Otter Stop Inn doesn't exactly qualify as a restaurant (or a restaurant in any sense of the term) but no list of awesome names would be complete without it.
Ok, what did we miss? There's lots of other great ones: Aesop's Table, the Weinery, El Taco Riendo, Punch ...