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Creative Business Names. Or Lack Thereof.

If you were to open a restaurant, say, that made organic caramelized turnips in a spicy pecan sauce, wouldn’t you want to give that place a name to conjure up something in the brain and make everybody want to eat there?

Maybe some of you out there have spent your lives dreaming of opening a business since you were twelve and already had a name in mind for it, right?

Other would-be entrepreneurs agonize and ruminate for months on end creating just the right name.

And then there are those guys who probably discovered themselves at the Articles of Incorporation Office hungover from the night before, not paying attention, filling the form out all wrong mixing up the name with the address and you end up with this: R15. Because it’s at the corner of….yep…R and 15th Streets.

Bar R15, Sacramento

Bar R15 in Sacramento, located at....wait for it.....15th and R Streets.

Or maybe they just stumbled out of the building onto the street corner and prayed for a sign. Or two signs.

Ah, but you see. That’s just it. This is Sacramento. In and around “The Grid”, so named because way back during the Gold Rush days,  John Sutter or some such nut designed our downtown streets in a waffle-like grid. And all the east-west running streets are named A through Z. In alphabetical order, no less. You know, so we lame-ass sense-of-direction-deprived Sacramentans would be able to find a street without getting lost, as long as we knew our ABCs.

Can you guess what all the north-south running streets in the Grid are named after? That’s right. Our good old friends, the numbers. Who knows what John Sutter was thinking? Maybe he was just showing off the fact that he had the alphabet DOWN, man! That, or he was hungover.

And so that insulting tradition carries on today, that lack of faith in the people who live here that we will be able to find our way around town, so they name restaurants and other venues after the intersection at which they reside.

Take Cafeteria 15L, for example. It’s a nice place and all, but guess where that is.

cafeteria 15L, sacramento

Cafeteria 15L in Sacramento, located and L Streets.


And need I tell you where F65 is ?


F65, Sacramento

F65 strip mall in Sacramento


Actually, yes I do, because some nincompoop stole the intersection naming method, took it outside The Grid, and like the devil himself, twisted it to suit his own purposes. Because the F in F65 stands for Folsom Blvd.

I mean, this strip mall has a decapitated head, fer Chirissakes! Couldn’t they call it “The Big Ass Decaptiated Head Plaza” or something?


F65, Dos Coyotes, statue of head

decapitated head fronting Dos Coyotes at F65


I don’t want to hear any excuses about how they named this stuff so that people could remember it, no matter how plausible or true that even is. Especially for the likes of me because if I can get lost, I will get lost.

Creative laziness. That’s what it is.

Having said that however, I can understand why our Capitol is on Capitol Ave. I mean, you throw up a building on a street called Capitol Ave., what else are you gonna call it? Plus, there’s lots of important stuff that goes on there and all the important legislators and the governor have to be able to find the place. And they have to be able to locate much needed nearby services in a short period of time. So of course you name everything in the vicinity Capitol This or Capitol That. Like Capitol Garage. Or Capitol Car Wash. Or Capitol Fried Turkey Neck Waffles & Shoe Emporium.

So, if I were to start up my own restaurant, say, and be forced to conform to such naming silliness, here’s what I would call them:

Under The Bridge: A little soup joint tucked away under the Tower Bridge that would become a full-on disco dance club at night. The great thing about this location is it comes with its own “bouncer” that we’d use to allow entry. This bouncer isn’t a huge guy in big black suit and lots of bling checking IDs. No, our bouncer is craggly, has one eye, schleps around barefoot and requires you to solve a riddle to get in.

Random Curbs: A food truck that serves the best tuna melt sandwiches in town. Follow us on Twitter to keep up on our current location at @random_curbs.

Gutters: A competing food truck. Obviously.

Anyway, you get the idea. As you can see you have to be the first one at an intersection to have that name of H6 or B12 or anything else that sounds like something you’d overhear at a Bingo game. Otherwise, you lose out and actually have to use your creative mind to come up with a good name. And then good luck with anybody ever finding you because it’s not like the people of Sacramento are capable of using maps or anything.


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By the way, someone just told me about this cool-ass smartphone app called HeyTell. Have you heard of it? It’s just like text messaging only it’s a voice message and it’s free and it supposedly only uses data like an email, so no sudden big cell phone bills. It’s kinda like a delayed walkie-talkie. And those of you breaking the law while driving and texting can at least lessen your chances of killing someone else. Have you guys heard of this?

HeyTell logo


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  1. generic commenter whose url was removed for spamming says:

    What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & aid different users like its helped me. Great job.

  2. Well I’ve been ruminating over clever names for my resume business for weeks now and I’m sure glad I stumbled upon your snarkalicious blog. I have a snarkalicious blog myself (or so I’ve been told) so the self-inflicted pressure to come up with a witty resume business name is uncalled for. Although I am of the opinion that one should not put themselves through such rigorous self-checking and re-examination, I feel hopeful that I will do better than Mr. Sutter and his yawnolicious Sacramento grid decision. Thank you for your article… you have a new fan!

    1.  Awww, thanks, Steph! I like you blog name. And now I’m going to try and track you down on Twitter!

  3. Suebob says:

    My favorite bad restaurant name was a Korean place in Simi Valley (home of the Reagan Library). It was called TOFU TOFU. I was so excited! At last, Simi had a vegetarian place! I went in and the staff informed me, not only did they not specialize in veg food, there was not a single veg item on the menu. They specialized in the meat-heavy cuisine typical of Korea. And there they were, in Reagan country, with a restaurant named after what Americans still think of as weird vegetarian food. They lasted about 3 months. (They should have called themselves STEAK STEAK or MEAT MEAT).

    1.  At least that story makes sense, Suebob. I see so many restaurants and wonder how the hell they are still in business, and they’ll hang on mysteriously for YEARS!

  4. SerIouskayla says:

    I’ve never been to Sacramento, but this post reassured me that I could navigate the city via restaurant.

    Can’t say the same for LA

  5. “Especially for the likes of me because if I can get lost, I will get lost.”  ME TOO.

    And yes, those are some SADLY uncreative names for places/restaurants. Yikes.

  6. Nicky says:

    To me, the ultimate name for an eatery was one George Carlin came up with. Picture a restaurant where the kitchens are on an upper level mezzanine encircling the entire establishment, with diners seated below. The name of the restaurant? Bombs Away.

  7. While they might choose their names to make the restaurant easier to remember, I have to admit, I am pretty good at remember the names of restaurants I enjoy.  Even if they aren’t named after their address.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So funny!!

  9. Sparky says:

    Gainesville, Florida is laid out in grid pattern but I think they where just waffling.
    Sparky 🙂

  10. Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) says:

    ‘Guess they thought nobody would ever have trouble findin’ the joint’ .  I sure does lack any creativity.

    We do have a beauty salon here in Tiny Town I wish were a little less creative.  I crack up every time I pass by.  It’s named ‘Bushwhackers’.  I mean really, do you want to say, “Bushwhackers styled my hair.”    Heeehehehhee!!!

    God bless ya and enjoy your week sweetie!!! :o)

    1.  Bushwhackers??? I love that!

      1. Jayne says:

        Do they also do bikini waxes?   😉

    2. Marc says:

      We have one called “Curl Up and Dye”.  I love the name.  My wife hates it.

      1.  I love that name. I’d go there. 🙂

  11. Slommler says:

    That is totally bizarre on the name thingy!!  AT least I will say it is unique.    Ha
    And I haven’t heard of Hey Tell.  I will have to check it out.  Thanks

  12. Pricilla says:

    I am thinking that they might have partaken in their alcoholic libations before they tried to come up with a name and their brains were just plain fried.

    They were not sensible like the person who came up with “Nanny Goats in Panties.” No, THAT person was not under the influence of ANYTHING

    1.  Ha! Good point, Pricilla. But I am off of those now. Ever since my recovery program.

  13. HA! The Big Ass Decapitated Head Plaza FTW!

    1.  Thanks, BrownThumbMama! I’m glad you appreciate my humor if at times somewhat juvenile.

  14. Tattytiara says:

    Well they’ve kind of screwed themselves on the franchising possibilities, haven’t they?

    1.  That’s an excellent point!