One afternoon in Lawrence, Kansas, I came across a coffeehouse named Aimee’s. I have never seen anything else in the world named after an Aimee. I can’t even find souvenir keychains with my name on them. I’d hoped that Aimee’s was founded by another Aimee who just wanted to see her name somewhere, but this was not the case. According to an article in The University Daily Kansan, the student newspaper of the University of Kansas, Aimee was the fiancee of Cary Strong, who named the cafe after her and kept the name after they broke up.
Aimee’s is 20 years old, but even now men are still naming restaurants after women. Rachel Levin was puzzled by this phenomenon and, for Eater, talked to a number of historians and marketing experts, as well as the restaurateurs themselves. Women’s names inspire a sense of coziness, she was told. They remind diners of their mothers and grandmothers and other women who taught them how to cook. “No one is criticizing men, or anyone, for honoring the people who raised them, cared for them, and cooked for them,” Levin writes. “Even if we wonder, as ever: Why did those responsibilities always fall on the women? (Answer: patriarchy.)”
The branding experts have some other ideas. One, Joseph Szala of Vigor Branding in Atlanta, suggests that it’s time for restaurant names to get more interesting. “Band names for restaurants — why not?” he said. “Angry Grandma. That’d be a good one.”
In that spirit, what would you name your restaurant?