First impressions matter; the name of your restaurant matters a lot. The best restaurant names conjure up images of delicious meals, wonderful ambience and perfect service. Just take a look at these 100+ examples of great restaurant names.[toc]
Why are restaurant names important?
Your restaurant name isn’t just a name, but also the name of your brand — and the name of your relationship with your customers. A good restaurant name represents your brand, the dining experience (food, service and ambience) and not only tells new customers what to expect but reminds loyal customers of the good times and good vibes they had before.
Names are important. A memorable and creative name is the first step towards catching your customer’s attention for your new restaurant.
McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts. What do these fast food restaurant names have in common?
Aside from them being instantly recognizable, their memorable food, good customer service and reliable dining experience comes to mind at the mention of their name.
Choosing a good name is important; once you have decided, it is not easy to change it. Plus, over time, the name turns into a brand. These names have turned into brands and become associated with experiences like – golden fries, the smell of coffee, a great space to meet people, and even happy emotions.
What makes a good restaurant name? (and what makes a bad one)
Here are three quick rules for what makes a good restaurant name:
1. Pick A Name That Reflects Your Restaurant’s Personality
To run a successful restaurant, you need a good restaurant name and good food. The main focus of customers is your food, quality of service and ambience. When you have a unique name that reflects your ambience, branding and food, you can easily stand out from your competition.
2. Pick A Name That’s Simple to Spell & Say
While it is easy to choose a creative or funny restaurant name, it is important to make sure that it is one-of-a-kind and easy to pronounce and spell.
3. Pick A Name That You Can Own
Ultimately, you want to ensure the name of your restaurant stands out from others and isn’t too common.
Jon Taffer, of popular TV Series Bar Rescue, believes that having a common bar name is all downside:
- Issues with Trademarking: When it’s been used by many, you can’t trademark a name. If your name is unique, you can trademark it and make it your brand.
- Confusion with Similar Names: When you choose a name that has been used by others, customers may be confused into reviewing the wrong establishment and any negative reviews may be linked erroneously to your restaurant/bar.
- Control of your brand: It is preferable to create your own brand and control it yourself, instead of having other bars affecting your restaurant’s reputation.
And here’s how to avoid bad restaurant names:
4. Avoid Obscure, Weird, too-Fancy Names
Names which are too strange, or abstract (or come out of a restaurant name generator) may sound interesting, but are not advisable.
“If you heard the name Dazoo, would you know how to spell it? Would you think it was a wonderful, casual fine dining restaurant in Hawai’i? Of course not! And I believe it’s one of the reasons it closed after just a short time.”
—Bonnie Friedman, Grapevine Productions
A name like Dazoo has no existing associations (aside from sounding slightly whimsical). That can be a positive or a negative – you can brand it with the qualities you want, but you are starting from scratch with no existing associations.
An example of a good restaurant name is Fruce: a fresh dessert-drink outlet. The name is a combination of fresh and juice – sure, it’s not in the dictionary, but the associations are instantly recognisable.
5. Avoid Inappropriate Sounding and Misspelled Names:
Making misspellings and using inappropriate words may instead turn your customers away from your restaurant or turn you into a joke.
Eg: Fu King Chinese Restaurant, Miso Honi, Soon Fatt Chinese Take Away, Curry Gardenn, Long Wongs.
Sure there’s a chance you’ll gather some attention or go viral for a silly name — but you run the risk of your restaurant turning into a meme and nothing more.
Having suitable restaurant names for the food, service and ambience you have shows you are professional and serious in taking good care of your customers.
114 Best Restaurant, Cafe, Bar and Bakery Names to Inspire you
Great Restaurant Names
The Lady & Sons – named after the owners of the restaurants
Below are some beautiful, wonderful names of restaurants that are known for their good food, not just their memorable names. Check them out for some great ideas for your restaurant name.
- The Lady & Sons – The name was inspired by the owner’s nickname, ‘The Bag Lady’ and includes the owner’s two sons.
- Chez Panisse Cafe – Inspired by the character of Honoré Paniss in Marcel Pagnol’s 1930’s film trilogy, the name reflects the restaurants dedication to fresh, seasonal, sustainable ingredients and attention to detail & generosity.
- Spago – Named after the Italian slang for Spaghetti.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill – Inspired by traditional mission-style burritos and a choice for a simple Mexican restaurant concept.
Chipotle is actually named after the species of chilli on their logo
- Burgrill – Great memorable name combination of the words ‘Burger’ and ‘Grill’.
- Wasabi by Morimoto – Named after the Japanese ingredient, Wasabi and the Iron Chef Morimoto.
- The Gourmet Kitchen – Inspired by the concept of providing good, well-packaged food.
- The Saffron Boutique – Combining the words ‘Saffron’ and ‘Boutique’ to reflect the Indian cuisine and classy unique ambience of the restaurant.
- Pine & Dine – Pun on ‘wine and dine’ with Pine making it unique and memorable.
- Vintage Machine – A memorable name for an Italian restaurant cafe.
- Pink Sugar – Cute and memorable name with ‘sugar’ for a patisserie.
- Indulge – Name with a ‘call to action’ for its fresh desserts.
- Banana Leaf – Using the ingredient, banana leaf to reflect the restaurant’s Asian Cuisine.
- Yum Yum Tree – A nice sounding name similar to ‘Yummy’.
Restaurant names with Puns
Having a witty pun as your restaurant’s name is one of the many ways to make your restaurant memorable. Check out these punny restaurant names below:
- A Salt & Battery – Pun on battered fish and salted chips.
- Juan in a Million – Pun on the phrase ‘One in a million’ and the Owner’s name.
- Thaitanic Restaurant – Funny and memorable play on the boat, Titanic with ‘Thaitanic’.
- The Codfather – Based on a pun on ‘The Godfather’ and its cinematic logo.
- Cheesy Does It – Play on the phrase “easy does it”. Memorable funny name for cheesy sandwiches that are the signature dish.
- The Dairy Godmother – Combining ‘The Fairy Godmother’ with ‘Dairy’, linking it with their magical Frozen custard treat.
- Lord of the Fries – Pun on the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’. Memorable name for its popular fries.
- Thai Me Up Restaurant & Brewery – Using the word ‘Thai’ instead of ‘Tie me up’.
- Tempt Asian Restaurant – Pun on ‘temptation’ with ‘asian’.
- The Great Impasta – Play on the word ‘imposter’ with ‘pasta’, making it memorable.
- The Notorious P.I.G BBQ – Linking the idea of notoriety of rapper, The Notorious B.I.G to their popular BBQ meals.
- Pho Shizzle – Pun on the hip-hop slang ‘fo shizzle’ with ‘pho’, indicative of its vietnamese cuisine.
- Party Fowl – Pun on ‘Foul’ with ‘Fowl’ for its tasty chickens and adding ‘Party’ for its fun party atmosphere.
- Basic Kneads Pizza – Play on the words ‘Basic needs’ with ‘Kneads’.
Juan in a Million, once in a lifetime…
Thematic Restaurant Names
Some restaurants aim to give customers a unique dining experience they will never forget.
- Dinner in the Sky – A dining experience that is over 160 feet in the air with locations worldwide.
- Ninja Akasaka – Restaurant waiters are dressed as ninjas to deliver food in a warrior themed restaurant.
- Rogo’s – A roller coaster-themed restaurant where diners place orders on a tablet and receive their meals through a 12-meter tornado spiral.
- Steam Plant – The restaurant has a massive steam boiler for diners to experience the ambience of an industrial revolution steam plant.
- Chill Out – A unique cold-themed restaurant in Dubai where patrons can enjoy their drinks in an Inuit-inspired refrigerator lounge, while dressed in thermal wear.
- A380 In-Flight Kitchen – Named after the world’s largest passenger airliner, diners can enjoy their meals served by waitstaff dressed as stewards and air stewardesses in a restaurant that resembles an airbus.
- The Labasin Waterfall Restaurant – Meals are served to diners seated at the foot of a waterfall with their feet submerged in water.
The Labasin Waterfall isn’t just in the name, but in the restaurant as well
- Beetle House NYC – Inspired by ‘all things dark and lovely’, diners can enjoy Salvador Dali and Tim Burton themed food and drinks.
- The Lockhart – Named and designed with references to the book series Harry Potter, diners experience food, drinks and an ambience inspired by the series.
- Terry Bison Ranch – Experience the prairies with their famous bison burgers and even ride with bison for a unique dining experience.
- Kayabuki Izakaya – This restaurant, which is Animal Welfare approved, serves diners with adorable monkey butlers.
- Sur un Arbre Perché – A unique restaurant named ‘perched on a tree’ focused on relaxation and tree themes, allows diners to dine while seated on swings and even enjoy a Shiatsu massage.
- Tommy Guns Garage – In this gangster speakeasy-themed restaurant, diners can feel transported back to 1920s Chicago.
- Tongabezi Lodge – Meals are served on candlelit treehouse chalet decks over the Zambezi river.
Unique Restaurant Names
These names slip into other categories, but they stuck out in our memory.
- Fruce – A combination of ‘fruit’ and ‘juice’ makes a great health food brand.
- Garden of Eat’n – Combination ‘Garden of Eden’ pun and memorable name for their salads.
- Turnip the Beet – Unique name playing off ‘Turn up the beat’ with ‘Turnip’ and ‘Beet’.
- Nacho Daddy – Playing off the song title “I’m Not Yo Daddy, I’m Yo Grandpa”, with their signature dish, Nachos and Mexican cuisine.
- Three Guys Restaurant – A unique catchy name for customers (not to be confused with Five Guys)
- Burma Burma – A unique name that reflects the Burmese roots of the owner and an amalgamation of his parents’ influence on him.
- Santa’s Fantasea – Combining the Seafood theme with ‘Santa’s Fantasy’ to make it a unique memorable name.
- Momo Jojo – Very unique play on ‘momo’ (dumplings) and Mojo Jojo the popular Powerpuff Girls cartoon villain.
- Pies n’ Thighs – An interesting name with a rhyme that will attract curious diners to try their food.
- Dough Doughnuts – Unique name based on their specialty in doughnuts.
- The Glass Onion – Memorable unique name for its fresh creative menus and chic dining experience.
- Pita Pan – Pun on ‘Peter Pan’ with ‘Pita’ for its fresh and tasty Greek food.
- Jajaja – Meaning ‘hahaha’, this unique name reflects the playful theme of the restaurant.
- Leaping Lizard Cafe – Play on ‘Leaping lizards’ which is an exclamation of surprise or excitement and linking this to the restaurant’s food, service and ambience, making it memorable.
Fancy Restaurant Names
What makes a name fancy? A dash of French or Italian words, and some allusions to high society.
- Pot Au Feu – Named after a famous French dish and a popular dish served at the restaurant, a french name makes the restaurant sound fancy.
- Cibo Matto – Despite its name literally meaning ‘Crazy Food’, this restaurant serves really good modern Italian comfort food and pizzas.
- The Dorrance – Taking its name from its location, Dorrance Street, it is known for great drinks and beautiful decor.
- Siena – Named after the famous city in Tuscany, diners can enjoy great Tuscan cuisine in a casual, fine dining restaurant.
- The French Laundry – This restaurant is named after its past history as a 1920’s french steam laundry.
- Bankers Hill – A catchy restaurant name with a rustic-chic atmosphere.
- Cloak & Petal – A classy name inspired by the words ‘cloak’ and ‘petal’ which allude to the Japanese tradition of ‘hanami’ of kinship and friendship under blooming cherry blossoms.
- Duke’s Seafood – Named after the owner Duke Moscrip, diners enjoy returning for its delicious seafood and casual atmosphere.
- Rich Table Restaurant – Known for their beautiful (and likely expensive) ceramics and tables, diners are served lovely food in a relaxed, modern restaurant.
- Smyth – Named after Symth, Virginia and influenced by Midwestern flavours and fresh produce.
- Spinasse – A classy name for its authentic, rustic cuisine from Piedmont, Italy.
- The French Gourmet – Named after the owner’s French roots and its specialities in French catering, fine dining and pastries.
- The Polo Bar – Chic and exquisite restaurant with the signature Ralph Lauren Polo theme.
- The View Lounge – Named after the restaurant’s beautiful rooftop view of San Francisco.
Cool Restaurant Names
Here are some cool and creative restaurant names to help you brainstorm your restaurant name:
- Backyard Bowls – A cute alliteration of their unique meal bowls.
- The Little Easy – Inspired by the chic and hip, easy going New Orleans atmosphere.
- Park Bench Deli – Inspired by the American deli with ‘park bench’ giving a down-to-earth community vibe.
- Little Pleasures – Name alluding to the delicious flavours of its signature French desserts.
- The Four Horsemen – Cool name from the Bible’s ‘The Four Horsemen and the Apocalypse’.
- Agent Jack’s Bidding Bar – Named after the virtual bartender, Agent Jack, customers may negotiate the prices of their drinks using an app. Agent Jack either agrees or disagrees with the customer and each offer of rejection is accompanied by a witty yet humorous reply to challenge customers to try again.
- Three Good Guys – The name was inspired by the three co-owners of the business.
- Whispering Bamboo Restaurant – Named after the restaurant’s Chinese cuisine and Bamboo theme.
- 16 Handles – Play on the movie title ’16 Candles’.
- Planet of the Crepes – Pun on the film ‘Planet of the Apes’ with ‘crepes’.
- Jekyll & Hyde Club – A themed restaurant based on the novel ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.
- He’s Not Here Bar – The name has a variety of backstories that keeps this bar interesting.
- Girl and the Goat – Cool name inspired by the idea that the Goat is tireless, with the restaurant open 7 days a week.
- The Daily Cut – Play on ‘The Daily Scoop’ with ‘Cut’ for its fresh ingredients and dishes.
Best Bar Names
So named because you used to be able to see the atomic bomb testing site
Like the best cocktails, a great bar needs a great, memorable name. We have a list of great bar names for you to be inspired.
- Tequila Mockingbird – Cool Bar pun on the popular novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
- 95 Slide – Using an iconic sports team moment in the Seattle Mariners history.
- Burgatory – They serve one ‘helluva’ burger
- Wish You Were Beer – Using ‘Beer’ for the phrase ‘Wish you were here’.
- The Big Legrowlski – Pun on ‘The Big Lebowski’ using the word ‘growler’.
- Polka Dots Bistro & Bar – Cute and catchy name for a popular family restaurant known for consistently good food.
- Hot Bird – Inspired by local significance of the ‘Hot Bird’ mural near the bar.
- Robert’s Western World – Name was kept for the long history, owner and unique origin of the bar.
- Fat Angel – The choice of name after seeing a sign in China that said ‘fat angel’.
- The Fainting Goat – A nickname for one of the owners who was so nervous around girls, he was thought of as a fainting goat.
- Tin ‘n’ Lint – A name that came up during a weed session with the previous owners.
- Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar – Combination of the original ‘Ray’s Bar’ with the previous owner’s unusual habit of singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to greet customers.
- Atomic Liquors – A combination of past visitors viewing the atomic testing from the roof and the establishment previously being a bar and packaged liquor store.
- The Tipsy Cow – A joking discussion on ‘cow tipping’ that led to the idea of ‘tipsy cow’.
- The Monkey Farm Cafe – The previous establishment was previously known for being poorly run, as though it was a ‘monkey farm’ and the owner used it as it was catchy.
Best Cafe Names
Below is a list of good, unique and cute cafe names that can help you have some unique ideas:
- Sconehenge – Play on the word ‘stonehenge’ and a compliment to their traditional English tea scones.
- Café Godot – Using the word ‘godot’ from the famous play ‘Waiting for Godot’.
- The Barn Roastery – A leading coffee roaster in Europe, promoting fresh coffee and supporting farmers’ sustainability.
- Mel Coffee Roasters – Japanese specialty coffee roasting shop with a unique Melbourne style.
- Bob Coffee Lab – A Romanian coffee roaster with an interesting backstory.
- Wild Thyme Cafe – Using ‘Thyme’ instead of ‘Wild Time’.
- 3fe – 3fe, short for Third Floor Espresso refers to Colin Harmon’s previous apartment on the third floor.
- The Grind Coffee Company – A South African cafe known for their great brews & unique coffee waffle cone.
- Simple Kaffa – Using the word ‘kaffa’ instead of ‘coffee’.
- Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus – Their name says it all about the strength of their coffees.
- Lettuce B. Frank – Clever pun on the phrase ‘let us be frank’ with the word ‘lettuce’.
- Garden of Eat’n – Combination ‘Garden of Eden’ pun and memorable name for their salads.
- Kale Me Crazy – Crazy for some Kale from this cafe
- Egglectic Cafe – Cute pun on the word ‘eclectic’.
- 73@Lowercase / Lowercase Cafe – Lowercase Cafe is perfect for a literary, artsy cafe in a College of the Arts.
Discover the mystery of the Bob Coffee Lab
How to come up with restaurant names
Let’s look at some ways you can start coming up with your restaurant name.
Step One: Start With Some Questions about your Customers:
- What cuisine will your restaurant be offering? Eg: Chinese, Indian, Fusion, etc
- What is the ambience of your restaurant? Eg: Bar, Cafe, Food truck, Restaurant, etc.
- Which neighbourhood, state or place is your restaurant located? Eg: Soho, New York City, Manchester, etc.
- What type of customers are you attracting? Eg: Couples, Family, teenagers, etc.
Step Two: Pull Inspiration from Your Values and Experiences
You may also like to think about your restaurant’s values first. What are you offering your customers? What story will you tell with your name? Words like Tasty, Food, Diner, Eat reach out to customers by letting them know your business values. Eg: Excellent Experience, Dine Fine, Finest Dining.
Personal experience may also serve as an inspiration. You may be inspired by the unique concept used by another restaurant and choose a unique name based on the ambience you desire for your restaurant.
Drawing inspiration from within gives more authentic ideas, before you search outwards.
Step Three: Look at other Restaurant Names for Inspiration
A great place to start is Eater list of James Beard Award winners. These aren’t just names of restaurants – but successful restaurants. Their name isn’t the only reason they succeeded, but it’s a great place to start looking.
Alternatively, you can use lists of restaurant names to spot patterns and trends for inspiration:
How to use lists of restaurant names as ideas for inspiration
You can look at names of existing restaurants to see how they stand out from competitors and stand out to customers. These restaurants survived the brutal F&B industry, and their names reflect a little of the values, food, service and ambience of the restaurant. This may give you some ideas of what works and what doesn’t for your restaurant name.
According to Maggie Aland from Fitsmallbusiness.com, the two most common themes that stand out in restaurant names are names that include the Chef’s name, or an actual food item. Turns out the names work because customers know what to expect.
Depending on how you want to present your restaurant to customers, you may consider using the following:
- Using Names: Consider using names of locations, food ingredients, even your name or those of a friend or family member. Eg: Romano’s, Olive Bistro, Brooklyn Central.
- Adding numbers, animals, colours & location: Combinations of numbers, animals, colours and location are great ways in making your restaurant name unique. Eg: Bistro 37, The Tipsy Cow, The Yellow Chilli, Kebabsville, PitaBurg.
- Puns and twists: Giving your name a dark edge, twist, cute or punny name makes it memorable.
Eg: Indulge, Bar of The Gods, Oh Dough, Rehab Gastropub, Phobidden Fruit, Pig ‘N Pancake, Love & Cheesecake, The Back Room.
Name Generators: You can also use a Restaurant Names Generator to generate ideas. Some generators use a combination of your name, cuisine type and location to formulate restaurant name ideas for you. We should warn you that name generators can give you nonsensical or unusable words, but they are great ways to start brainstorming. Here are three we would recommend:
How to check if your restaurant name works
- Simple Online search Put the name into Google and see if there are any hits. Check Facebook or Instagram. Alternatively, you can use a service like NameCheckr or NameChk to check if your restaurant name is available on all social media platforms as well.
- Survey Potential Customers: You may consider getting comments and feedback from your potential customers about your restaurant name ideas, or holding public events to vote on the best restaurant name for your restaurant. Tools like SurveyMonkey can help
- Is it Simple to Spell? Making sure that customers think that your restaurant’s name is spelled in an intuitive way helps to ensure that your restaurant name is easy to google. On that note, it’s worth seeing if the domain name is bought.
- Is there someone else nearby? It’s more important to make sure your your restaurant’s name is not similar to other restaurants nearby to avoid confusion. If the other location is on a different continent, it’s less of a problem (but worth reconsidering). A smart way to check is to search on your local food review or food delivery website to see if anyone else local has your name!
- Is there such a legal entity? Restaurants are businesses; once you have come up with your restaurant name, ensure that it has not been legally registered by others. You can use an online legal service provider to conduct a search and reserve the name you want.
As you narrow down your list of restaurant names, don’t forget to check its availability and use your potential customers’ and public feedback as receptivity towards your restaurant name. If it is not available or well-received, you can always play around with keywords for your restaurant name until a good restaurant name comes along.
Having a good restaurant name can help to boost your business significantly. This comes at the expense of you putting in effort to generate a good name based on qualities and relevant attributes of your restaurant. If done well, you can expect your customers to have a memorable dining experience and remember your restaurant.
With contributions from Darren Foong.