We have often been asked how and why we chose EVOO for the name of our restaurant. This post shares with you some of the fun that took place towards the end of 1997 when Colleen and I were trying to figure out the name of our soon to open restaurant, not an easy decision, at least not for us. You have to understand that Colleen and I aren’t the fastest when it comes to naming. Both of our children’s names weren’t decided upon until they were 3 days old and we filling out the exit papers at the maternity hospital. Lot’s of deliberation was going on, for months, but, the final decision was not made until it had to be.
Many chefs use there names, which is great if your name is Jasper or Hammersley. In my case using either Peter or McCarthy conjures up images of an Irish Pub, not a bad thing, just not what we had in mind for our restaurant. Plus I don’t think I would have been comfortable naming the restaurant after myself. The amount of shit that my friends and family would have given me would have been tremendous. Of course there were many inappropriate eponyms that friends suggested.
Using the address was another option. 118 Beacon Street, our original restaurant’s street address. Beacon was seriously considered. In the end using the address seamed a little to uptight for us, we wanted a fun name.
Toward the end our naming time frame, we had to get it done so we could incorporate, a necessary formality that usually takes place many months before a restaurant actually opens. I was doing some consulting, helping some restaurants with menu design and recipes. While writing a recipe for god knows what, instead of writing out extra virgin olive oil, I used the acronym EVOO, not an original idea on my part. I had been and had seen many of my peers use the same acronym for years. Of course, this was all long before Rachel Ray’s claim to have originated the acronym. It dawned on me that EVOO may be a good name candidate. That night I suggested it to Colleen, she didn’t like it, which was not a surprise to me. She often takes time to warm up to my ideas. She thought that no one would know what it means, which they didn’t and many still don’t.
We actually had a list of potential names posted on our refrigerator. We would cross off and add on as we went along. For a long time EVOO was just another option, I really didn’t think that it would end up at the top of the list. I wish I knew where that list was now, I think it would be fun to see the other names, I am curious what I would think of them now. Were there any good alternatives amongst them?
If I remember correctly we had whittled the potential names down to two, EVOO and possibly Beacon. During one of the many meetings we had with our lawyer, who was pressuring us to decide on the name (he needed it, so we could incorporate). He asked us what names we were thinking of. We told him, he immediately said “oh, you have to go with EVOO, it’s fun, it’s different, people would remember it” which were all things that we were looking for in a name. That sealed it for us, EVOO went to and stayed at the top of the list.
The only reason that I have second guessed our choice is that the Food Network crowd who know what the acronym represents think that we are an Italian or Mediterranean restaurant. Which we are not. Describing the style of food we serve and why is the topic for a future post, it’s not a simple answer.
I just had Colleen proof this post to be sure it was factually correct. She agreed with everything except for my suggesting EVOO. Her delusional memory recollects that she saw it on some notes that I was writing for the previously mentioned consulting job. Claiming she suggested it to me. Once again someone taking credit for my idea. Women…