Sunday, November 2, 2008

the psychology of the single-word restaurant

I was hanging out with Ashley today, and somehow we got onto the topic of restaurants with one name. "Ever notice," I said, "that restaurants with one name are really pretentious and expensive?" She countered by citing McDonald's, but then I countered her counterexample by saying that it has an apostrophe-S at the end; restaurants whose names have apostrophe-Ss at the end don't count as far as pretention and massive overpricing go, and that includes Applebee's, Bennigan's, and Houlihan's. Those last two especially are all about suggesting that they're run by cheery, ruddy-faced Irish bartenders who want to give you good onion-ring bang for your greasy buck.

"Think about it," I said. "Chili's isn't horrifically expensive, unless you go out on a ledge and get something like fajitas. But if you removed the apostrophe-S, it would become 'Chili,' and then you know it would be all stark and modern and have artisanal chili with pheasant in it in these asymmetrical, hand-made bowls, all very carefully presented." And they'd probably have John Cage on their sound system, or twangy country music if they're being ironic, or music by Mexican bands if they're being ultra-ironic. And the waiters would be wearing white on white, and they'd suggest certain (overpriced) beer pairings with your meal. It would be utterly ridiculous, and a single bowl of chili would cost about $38. Just sayin'.

Obviously, this doesn't apply to gas stations, or else nobody could afford gas. Oh, wait....


  1. AAHHHAHAAHAHA! Dang, you got me. Hm. I wonder which loophole Chipotle fits into?

  2. My personal favorite trend is restaurants that refer to themselves only by initials now. KFC being the most blatant example. Long John Silvers is heading that way.