Over the next week or so, we (that's right, you and I) are going to work together to come up with a name for my future restaurant. Exciting, no? To help bring you up to speed so that we're all on the same page, this post is my quick pitch describing what my restaurant will be all about. Use this summary to help guide you in your evaluations of the name candidates I will soon present and to help you suggest your own names.
Before we get started, I'd like to provide y'all with a little INCENTIVE to help stimulate your creativity. It is, after all, Monday. So here's the incentive: meet me at the cafe downstairs and I'll buy you a cup of coffee.
No, actually it's this: PRIZES! There will be at least one and possibly two WINNERS. Winner Number One will be selected at random from all the people who leave comments on any of the Name Game posts. Each comment equals one raffle ticket. Should I choose to go with a name that you came up with and were the first to suggest, you will become Winner Number Two.
The prizes? I will treat Winner Number One to dinner for two at my restaurant. You'll also be guaranteed an invitation to one of the pre-opening fun-raising dinners and the opening party. Not a local? No problem. Know that you will have a complimentary dinner waiting for you on your next visit to San Francisco. And, really, who amongst you isn't planning or at least dreaming of a trip to our beautiful city by the Bay? Winning will give you one more reason to start saving.
In the event that there is a Winner Number Two, he or she will win dinner for four at my restaurant plus the same pre-opening invites as above. Not only that, you'll get bragging rights. How many people can boast that they named a hip new neighborhood restaurant in America's food lovers' paradise? Imagine the smug satisfaction. If that's not enough, know you'll have this chef's eternal gratitude. Muchos gracias!
Time to put on your thinking caps. Let's get down to work!
Quick Elevator Pitch: seasonal, sustainable California fare with Spanish flair
Longer Previously Unreleased Extended Dance Remix:
Concept: Sustainable neighborhood joint
Sustainable? "Field to fork." My team and I will commit ourselves to working with local producers to bring our guests delicious seasonal food raised, harvested, and foraged in an ecologically sound way. It's what my friends at Ethicurean call SOLE food: sustainable, organic, local, ethical.
Neighborhood? Reflecting the hip, progressive, family-friendly vibe that characterizes Noe Valley and the surrounding neighborhoods, like the Castro, the Mission, Bernal Heights, Diamond Heights and Twin Peaks.
Joint??? Emphasis on fun and conviviality! It's the best American term I can think of for what my friends in Madrid and San Sebastián might call a bar de tapas or bar de pintxos, in London a gastro pub, in Paris a bar au vin or perhaps a bistro. It's not quite a white table cloth restaurant, but more than a wine bar. It's a place to gather with your friends to celebrate food, wine, and life.
Food: seasonal, sustainable California fare with Spanish flair
Food cooked with love: lovingly prepared, simply presented, boldly flavored. The menu of mostly small plates will draw its inspiration from the various distinct regional cuisines of Spain, especially Catalonia, with occasional forays into neighboring Morocco, southern France, and Italy. I place emphasis on Spanish flair, because I hope my restaurant's food and atmosphere will evoke the jubilant alegría I've so often experienced dining in casual restaurants throughout Spain. My kitchen and I will dance to the beat of the seasons, changing our menu frequently, according to the songs (fruits) and poems (vegetables) of the Garden Muse.
Beverages: beer, wine, and (possibly) cocktails
Well-edited wine list chosen to complement the lusty, rustic flavors of the food. Sourced primarily from California, Spain, and France. If cocktails are served, the bar will draw from the same inspirations as the kitchen.
Service: casual, proficient hospitality
You'll be treated like a guest coming to my home for dinner. Casual meaning not stiff and formal. Proficient meaning quick and efficient, yet correct. You won't learn your server's name unless you ask. Your plates won't be cleared until everyone is finished. You won't be asked "are you're still working on that?"
Reservations? Seating will be split more or less evenly between reservations and walk-ins. It's a win-win for both planners and procrastinators.
Ambience: convivial, energetic, green design
The overall look and feel will be barn meets loft (aka "urban farmhouse"). There will be, as my architects are fond of saying, conversations between the indoor restaurant space and the outdoor garden spaces, and between the open kitchen and the dining room. The spaces will flow into each other. The materials will be primarily salvaged wood, stainless steel, and white tile. Walls will be white with accents of verdant spring green. Drawing inspiration from my favorite restaurants in Barcelona, New York City, and here in San Francisco, the first thing you will see, hear, smell, and feel when you step through the door will be the open kitchen with counter seating.
Nuff said. Hopefully I've dished up enough here to stimulate your creative juices. I'm looking for an effect similar to that of the aroma of cooking bacon on the stomach.
IF YOU WANT TO SUGGEST A NAME TODAY OR LATER IN THE WEEK, PLEASE LEAVE YOUR SUGGESTION IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS POST. If you already suggested a name on the previous Name Game post, that's fine too. No need to repeat it here.
Please return tomorrow to read my thoughts (pros and cons) and leave your opinions on name candidate number one: Olallie.