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Friday, November 02, 2007



I like the sound of the word "bocarte," but I think the logic is a little too clever. Even if I were fluent in Spanish, I doubt I'd make the "boca + arte" connection without having it pointed out to me. Also, I suspect that anyone who doesn't speak Spanish and isn't prompted will pronounce it as "bo-kart."

Ken H

First reaction is that it looks too much like bogart (which is how most people will pronounce it), as in "dude, quit bogarting my sardines and olallieberries!"


But then, the best pintxo I had in San Sebastian was just two olives on a toothpick with an anchovy threaded behind them.

Mmm, salty.


I second the "Bogart" connection....


I also think people will say 'bo-cart', which does sound an awful lot like bogart.

How about bocata? As in bocata de sardinas, mmm...


I'd say ditto on thinking it was pronounced bo-cart, and also the mental conntection with bogart. Clever backstory, but I don't think it comes across in the name. Doesn't have the feeling of warmth that I would associate with any restaurant of yours. A little flat.


It looks like it rhymes with Go-Cart :)


I think it links you in with those other simular sounding restos too much. I like Olallie. It sounds distinctive and personal and more regional. Also, it's abstract enough to endure trends.


I am still diggin' the original name myself. =)

Dan Lyke

I got the "Bocart-eh" pronunciation right off, I had to have the explanation on the meaning. I like your reasoning, I even like the name, but it doesn't sound terribly local to SF. It's Spanish in a way that doesn't happen in California spanish.

And it's more serious than Ollalie, less whimsical. Don't know how that vibe floats with your wants.

Dan Lyke

Okay, so here's a wacky thought: You're in an English speaking area (okay, largely... *I* get along fine speaking English in this area), why name it in Spanish? Why not just call it "Sardines"?

Anita D

I, too, immediately saw bogart, even though I got the bo-CAR-tay pronunciation. However, I am drawn to the boca and arte concept. The hard question, is will others get that? Maybe not....


I really like it, and I immediately pronounced it "Bo-cart-eh." I think the boca + arte thing is a little far fetched, but there's nothing wrong with having a fancy word for anchovy as the name! (I too say 'feh' to those who would scoff at a delicious little anchovy.) A restaurant called Cinghiale (means wild boar) just opened in Baltimore and that's way harder to pronounce, yet still popular.


I have some affection for this name, since I found your blog while searching for "anchovies" online. I love the things. The name's interesting, especially when broken up the way it is on the can -Bocarte. I had the same initial response with Bogard, but that's not really a bad thing; it at least sparks interest. And while we're on the subject - where can I get that brand? I think I've gone through every brand easily found in Silicon Valley, so these would be next on the quest for the optimum anchovy.


It justs seem to me that if any name has to be overly explained, as is the case here, then perhaps you're over thinking it? Does your average customer know so much about Spain and the nuances of the regions? It is just a thought. With that sid, I ADORE Spain and the cuisine.

Morton the Mousse

This is my favorite name so far. I had no trouble pronouncing it the first time, and I have no training or background in the Spanish language. It rolls off the tongue well, is memorable, and is easy enough to spell. Although I didn't "get" the meaning at first, once I read the meaning I loved it. Meanings don't have to be instantly obvious; I think they are more interesting and memorable when they require a bit of explanation.

The anchovy has an important connection to the slow foods movement. It's a "peasant" fish, once disregarded as bait by the nobility. If salmon is the filet mignon, than an anchovy is the beef cheek - tastier, more affordable, and more sustainable, if you just drop your preconceived notions and learn how to work with it. The anchovy thrives as a condiment, it's the garlic of the ocean, with all sorts of applications in salad dressings, braises, sauces, etc. It's truly one of the most versatile, ubiquitous, and delicious animals that we eat.

Perhaps I'm biased because I adore anchovies, but I think this name is fantastic.


I think Bocarte is superior to choices 2 and 3.

"Olive oil-packed Cantabrian anchovies are one of Spain's finest products, on par with acorn fed jamón ibérico de bellota."

On par with? (Giving you the "Are you serious look?") Well, I certainly need to try them then...not sure if I have before...no olive has gotten a 5 from me on the 1-5 scale.


I'm amazed how many commenters mentioned the "Bogart" problem; that was the first thing I thought.
I studied Spanish (a million years ago, but for a long time) and still found myself pronouncing it "boKart." Y'know, kinda frenchy.
I think you're doing a great job with this naming process, Brett. You just gotta work out the overthinkiness.
(I have a suggestion for you but I'm too embarrassed to write it. Later, maybe.)


I think this one is easy enough to pronounce. Easier than Ollalie (which has always seemed like a bit of a tongue twister -it's a running joke with my sister and me since childhood.)


I'm loving all your comments on Catalina yesterday and Bocarte today. You all make an amazing focus group!

I want to point out that a lot can be done by to help aid pronunciation. I edited the name to read like it does on the Don Bocarte can, so that the arte is italicized. Similarly, olallie could be manipulated to read olallie or olallie. Or different colors could be used.

As for the Bogart connection, is that really a bad thing? When I think of Bogart, I think of classic movies like Casablanca, Maltese Falcon, etc. And I think of joints, which isn't so negative. ;-) Maybe if it were all lower case it would be less of an issue? bocarte


One more thing. For those who are concerned about pronunciation issues (which I think is something serious to contend with), you'll love tomorrow's (no. 5) and no. 7. You'll hate no. 6, though (which is in Catalan).

Nicola Cairncross

Olallie sounds like mayonaisse and we all know what that looks like after 5 mins in a warm kitchen. You sealed the name of your new restaurant with this phrase "Food and wine are "art for the mouth."
Conversation (a much underrated yet crucial component of dining) could be called the "art of (or from) the mouth."
And, of course, the final variety of "mouth art" — passionate kissing and other fun activities, um, related to the mouth — reminds us how tightly interwoven dining is with love, romance, and sex."

Phew, nuff said. I'll be there if I ever go to the good ole USA again babe.

Mouth art indeed. Who can make love to someone who does not love to eat?



I saw the highlighted "arte" and still pronounced it "Bo-Kart". And cannot now make the shift in my head. Not that it's bad to do that necessarily. Just that lots and lots of people will do so. Half your base will be saying "bo-cart" and half "boc-artay". A bit confusing.

Here's a challenge for you - try a day or two with just one syllable names and see where that takes you (just as an exercise). I feel like you are trying too hard to cram too much into the name. You want it to do everything. iI just need's to be evocative. Not explain everything about the restaurant.

Nicola Cairncross

anchovies....bit like marmite. you either love them or hate them....I love them. cor.


I like this the best so far. Growing up in east San Jose, bocarte came out as bocarte but I did notice the Bogart connection.

I like your boca-arte explanation. I like the anchovy-sardine connection. You don't really need to explain the boca-arte connection to everyone. Writers don't spill their entire backstory on paper. You'll know the second layer meaning, and you can explain it in a little note on the menu.

I would rather the boc-arte font didn't change in the middle to set off the "arte" I like it just fine the way it is. Lower-case "b" maybe.

I really don't think pronunciation will be a problem. Look what David Kinch has done with Manresa. (Is it man-ree-sah or man-ray-sah or ...?)

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