If you owned an Italian restaurant, what would you call it?
April 18, 2011 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Please help me think of a new name for an Italian restaurant.

I manage a restaurant in a major metropolitan area that is currently considering re-branding by changing its name due to some major renovations. The restaurant serves pasta/pizza, with sauces and dishes prepared from scratch daily, etc...

The thing is, everyone involved in the process can't seem to agree on a name they like best. The current front runners were (aside from the ones already taken):
Matriarch (owners/managers are women)

So now, I'm looking for more/better suggestions for names - preferably just one word and somewhat easy to remember, in either Italian or English.

Thank you in advance.
posted by slimceagirrl to Food & Drink (41 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:25 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Gustoso! (it means tasty, I believe. Disclaimer: I am Irish).
posted by pink candy floss at 7:32 PM on April 18, 2011

How about the Italian word for matriarch, Matriarca? Little less obvious, more welcoming to males? ;)
posted by likeso at 7:33 PM on April 18, 2011 [6 favorites]

Basilico, the Italian word for basil.
posted by Sissinghurst at 7:47 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Taking a page from the french restaurant in LA, Poubelle, how about Cestino?

The in joke part of it helps create buzz. (Means trash can.)
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:47 PM on April 18, 2011

Ragazza = girl
Ragazze = girls
Madre = mother
Madri = mothers
Sorella = sister
Sorelle = sisters
Madre Piccola = Little Mother
Amiche = Friends (female)

If the bosses have been working together/friends a long time, one of the above could give you a nice little story behind the name that you could put on the menu. You could also add a number in front of any of these: Due Amiche = Two Friends.
posted by MsMolly at 7:48 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Madafaccas - not sure if it's Italian, but I think people would enjoy saying it
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:53 PM on April 18, 2011 [6 favorites]

Bocca Felice
(happy mouth)
posted by iconomy at 7:55 PM on April 18, 2011

Festività - feast

Pranzi - dine

Goda di - enjoy

(Non-Italian speaking disclaimer: blame babel fish)
posted by faineant at 7:59 PM on April 18, 2011

A Mano = handmade
posted by illenion at 8:03 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

This isn't unique I'm sure but my Italian grandmother would enthusiastically call everyone to the table with loud cries of "Mangia" ('Eat' in Italian).
posted by mmascolino at 8:05 PM on April 18, 2011

dama rossa
spunta rosso

Might not be good Italian, but hopefully you get the idea
posted by rhizome at 8:06 PM on April 18, 2011

I would call it "Pineapple." One word, unforgettable.
posted by aniola at 8:10 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pick something easy to spell for non Italians as well as easy to remember - and few of these suggestions would be easy for casual consumers to recall. Don't pick anything you'd ever have to spell out over the phone. People can't google you or recommend you to others if nobody can remember how to spell the name or maybe even pronounce it. The point is not to pick something that looks witty on metafilter for fifteen seconds but which will make it easy for potential customers to find you and buy food. If you're rebranding just because of renovations, rather than to distance yourself from a rocky past, remember you're throwing away a lot of good will and past name recognition in the process.
posted by joannemullen at 8:14 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Al fresco
Pasta Fresca
Primi piatti
Alla casalinga
posted by francesca too at 8:20 PM on April 18, 2011

The La Trattoria.
posted by 4ster at 8:20 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Is it regional cuisine? If so, you could call it the name of the region, or a prominent city or town of the region. (Emilia, Toscana, Friuli, Modena, Parma...)

Is it vegetarian (ortaggio would imply that, I think)? Maybe pick a particular vegetable (melanzana, zucca, cipolla)?

Or, simply: Cottura.
posted by trip and a half at 8:27 PM on April 18, 2011

"That Italian Place On [Insert Street Name]."

You may find the ol' Instant Domain Search tool useful in this case: Nice to be able have [storename].com, which will make it easier for customers to find you and your menu.
posted by JDHarper at 8:31 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Please, I beg you, please run the name by a couple of fluent Italian speakers before you commit to anything. It's not quite as bad as having a tattoo of the Chinese character for "soup" instead of "strong", but lots of Italian-esque food products and/or restaurants have names that are either laughably or painfully bad Italian (depending on one's sense of humor). Things like "i sorelli" for sisters (sorella is a feminine noun, the plural is sorelle, and sorelli is not a word but suggests masculine sisters).
posted by katemonster at 8:31 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Could you work Zia in there? It means Aunty and is easy to say and spell for the non Italians. I don't love the plural (zie) as much, but you could go for Mie Zie which is 'my aunties' Matrona is pretty simple and a translation for matriarch.

I love the word mangia, and it is even better in pairs 'mangia mangia' or even the directive 'tutto mangia'.

Mano Alla Bocca is 'hand to mouth' to expand on illenion's idea of handmade. I realise it loses the idea of from YOUR hand to THIER mouth, but I thought 'mio mana alla bocca' was too long.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 8:37 PM on April 18, 2011

posted by deborah at 8:54 PM on April 18, 2011

posted by motown missile at 9:12 PM on April 18, 2011

What do you want your name to communicate? And to whom?

For example each of the names on your list of front runners has a different vibe for me.

Primavera - To me sounds like: "Basic pasta place". Because name of a common sauce.
Ortaggio - To me: "Possibly a fancy or regional Italian, but who knows."
Matriarch - To me: "Scary and formidable grannies, maybe intimidating and not fun."

That's just me, and probably other people have other associations. The point is to know what kind of image you want to create, and make sure the name you pick conveys that to the target customers.

If you want a generic Italian name that doesn't have strong associations, names of places, ingredients or signature dishes would probably be ok. e.g. Portofino, Marsala.

For a quick guide to evaluatiing brand names, take a look at this article: Brand Names that Zag.
posted by philipy at 9:14 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Strega Nona.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:32 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pomodoro ("tomato")

Fresco ("fresh")

Il Tavolo ("the table")

La Pentola ("the cookpot")

Gusti ("flavors")

Puttanesca (OK, maybe not Puttanesca)
posted by nicwolff at 10:07 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Scenes From". Even better if you're in the NY/NJ area.
posted by Hwin at 10:45 PM on April 18, 2011

Pasta Women Bingo Bingo.
posted by Orchestra at 10:50 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by rhizome at 11:12 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Whatsa Matta You?!
Il Giardino degli Ulivi
posted by horsewithnoname at 11:41 PM on April 18, 2011

I love Sorelle -- I've been nagging my own daughters to do a place with this very name. Also, it would be great if this thread didn't devolve into Italian stereotypes, grazie!
posted by thinkpiece at 3:58 AM on April 19, 2011

il tavolino (little table) sound very Italian and also cosy and homemade and familiar.
posted by uauage at 4:58 AM on April 19, 2011


That, or "La Saraghina".
posted by pracowity at 5:27 AM on April 19, 2011

Notes on the above

Cestino - Can also mean "basket".
Festività - means Festival or holiday, not feast
Pranzi - is either plural "Lunches" or second person singular form of pranzare "to (eat) lunch"
Goda di - not the proper grammatical form, and one you probably want to avoid as while godere means "to enjoy" it has a secondary slang meaning of "to cum"
The La Trattoria - You are literally saying "The The Trattoria" here. Either "The Trattoria" or "La Trattoria"
TopoGigio - Apart from there possibly being a copyright issue, I'm not sure you'd really want a cartoon/puppet mouse as a name.

Personally I'd suggest Acquolina in Bocca or Appetitoso, both of which basically mean "mouth watering"
posted by romakimmy at 5:31 AM on April 19, 2011

Everything made from scratch is unique, appealing, and deserves emphasis. And maybe a tiny little pun: Tabula Pasta.
posted by poq at 6:18 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like the word Ragazze. You hear male/generic version, "Ragazzi" shouted constantly pretty much everywhere in Italy in the evening, as one enthusiastic Italian tries to get the attention of their friends.

So, if your restaurant has a young vibe: how about Pizzeria delle Ragazze? Literally, "The girls' pizzeria". You could even modify a picture of Rosie the Riveter to show her holding up a pizza pie.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:33 AM on April 19, 2011

Native Italian speakers should chime in here, but I like the expression "un pezzo di ragazza." Literally, it means "a piece of girl," but idiomatically, it can mean either a girl with some personality, and/or a girl with some physical size (but in a good way).

I also really like "spaparanzato." This has been described to me as the feeling after a solid day of (physical) work, when you've had a good meal and some wine, and now you're slumped in your chair, maybe with your belt loosened a notch.
posted by pompelmo at 9:35 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Saucy Ladies'
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:52 PM on April 19, 2011

Il Tramonto - the sunset. It's the name I gave to my Italian restaurant in daydreamland. I like it because it reminds me of Nessun Dorma ("tramontate stelle/al'alba vincerò")
posted by falameufilho at 1:26 PM on April 19, 2011

Giardino degli Ulivi

you should probably just ignore me.
posted by mingo_clambake at 1:44 PM on April 19, 2011

Seriously, just decide on a name that you can get the domain name for, and something that isn't going to be intimidating to pronounce for most people. I have known people who hesitate to suggest a restaurant because they don't want to look like a fool if they mispronounce it, and instead just refer to the restaurant as "that place on _____ street." Word of mouth is key. Make it easy on said mouths. Who are you trying to cater to? People who speak Italian who will recognize whatever reference you decide on, or just some random person looking for a place to get a decent meal with his friends? How "upscale" your restaurant is going to be is important when deciding to name it.
posted by mingo_clambake at 1:56 PM on April 19, 2011

Try the Veal
posted by ouke at 2:10 PM on April 19, 2011

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