What’s in a hip name? Preferably just one syllable

Have you noticed how hip it’s become lately to name restaurants and shops with a blunt, one- or two- syllable noun. In fact, “Blunt” would be a good name for such a place — a shop that specialized in bludgeons, clubs and fishwhackers.

For instance, one of the most very hot restaurants in Eugene right now is the place called Belly, across the street from the 5th Street Market.

In fact, this is such a great name that there is an unrelated restaurant in Portland also named Belly.

So, for today’s interactive reader activity we present a list of names of restaurants in Eugene and Portland. Frankly, most are in Portland, as we believe that this trend, as is true of most trends, is way more evolved and, frankly, over the top in the lovely Rose City than here in our own provincial backwaters.

Your task is to identify which are real and which are made up. There is at least one that I have made up. Or maybe several. The first person to leave a comment correctly identifying all of the fictional names will win a fabulous prize — which will remain a surprise until I can think of what it might be. Stuff like this is way less fun since Google came along, but we’ll try it anyway.

(Yeah, I realize this post isn’t really about bicycles or Eugene, but don’t worry, we’ll get back to both of those things next time.)

Anyway, here are the names, with a brief description of each place. (The descriptions, even of the real places, may be embellished or fabricated outright in order to protect the satirical nature of this blog.)

Beast: As in roast, per the Dr. Seuss story wherein the roast beast is carved lovingly by the Grinch after he turns his hateful heart away from the Whos down in Whoville and rages against the innocent animals slaughtered for their gastronomic pleasure. Meat-heavy and delightful.

Debt: Exquisite prix fixe dining and high-end wines.

Scratch: Fine food for the gluten intolerant and anyone prone to food-induced rashes and hives.

Backspace: A Mac Book embedded into every table, this tech-savvy coffeehouse and music venue touts itself as the “ultimate Third Place” — which means it’s like Facebook, but you can actually touch the other people and look into their eyes. But you don’t because you’re staring into the Mac Book.

Carb: Hole-in-the-wall pasta shack. Fast. Good. Cheap.

Spill: An ultra kid friendly brunch place with great French toast and an indoor playground. Mimosas, microbrews and bloody Marys for Mom and Dad. Basically a Chuck E. Cheese for hipster parents. Packed on weekends!

Gravy: A big-crowd-waiting-on-the-sidewalk kind of breakfast spot noted for merging humble Mom-style breakfast fare with a touch of the exotic: The unexciting sludge known as oatmeal meets the delectable crème brûlée, for example.

Hash: Amsterdam-style establishment serving breakfast and lunch using sustainably harvested greens.

Grub: Hipster atmosphere meets truck stop food. If you are wearing skinny jeans, you can pay extra to have a real trucker beat you up in the parking lot.

Fats: Menu is divided into sections: saturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans.

Crush: Happy hour hotspot with a diverse menu that features both Mac and Cheese and nine varieties of martini.

Cog: Lunch spot with a cycling theme, and sandwiches named for storied bike races. The “Paris-Roubaix,” for example: foie gras, camembert and mud on a baguette.

Toast: This eatery delivers a gourmet twist, with prices to match, on the old standby of a slice of bread, lightly grilled on both sides.

Tube: Serving drinks and bar food, it is named after the London subway. It is dark, smelly and prides itself on being such.

Nib: A restaurant with an emphasizes the bold mixing of sweet and savory flavors, there is a piece of chocolate at the center of every dish.

Rim: Ultra hip coffee shop popular with fixie riders. There’s a drive through for bikes only, but you must be able to squeeze between a permanently parked bus and a lightpost. If your handlebars are wider than the front page of the Oregonian, you won’t be able to fit through. No cars on the premises, please.

9 thoughts on “What’s in a hip name? Preferably just one syllable

  1. Well, I only know the real Portland ones, and they are (drum roll): Beast, Backspace, Gravy, Crush, and Tube.

  2. The fakies:
    Debt, Scratch, Carb, Fats, Rim, Cog, Spill, Grub, and Crush.

    Though there is a Grub in California and a Crush in Baltimore =)
    And I love the idea of Spill!
    Thanks for the head start Jessica.

    Food & Bikes- a sweet combo and my two deep loves =)

  3. Jessica attacks first, but appears to have launched her sprint too early. She is caught and passed by Shane, who is so close … but … but … no he slips back into the peloton.

    Nice tries! Close, but not quite right on either count, however. (Actually, I’m starting to have a hard time remembering which are which myself …)

    There’s still enough road left for someone else to launch an attack and take the win!

  4. Honey, you forgot those darling Pearl District shops Lard and Landfill. Also, that cute place in Alberta—Gentrify.

    1. Indeed. By the way, I should credit my lovely wife for first bringing this trend to my attention and helping to conceptualize this post — which, in layman’s terms, means I stole the idea from her. But this puts her in the good company of the growing and diverse cadre of writers I have stolen from, such as BikeSnobNYC, Garrison Keillor and A.A. Milne.

  5. Beast: Real
    Debt: Fake
    Scratch: Real (Although it’s more Lake Oswego than Portland.)
    Backspace: Real
    Carb: Fake
    Spill: Fake
    Gravy: Real
    Hash: Real
    Grub: Fake
    Fats: Real (Fats Pub)
    Crush: Real
    Cog: Fake
    Toast: Real
    Tube: Real
    Nib: Real
    Rim: Fake

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