5 Restaurant Names that Baffle Us

Topolobampo. momofuku ssäm bar. DGHGDDUGDUWYVEFDNT.

Bizarrely named -- yet entirely successful -- restaurants abound in every corner of the world. I'm not talking about unintentionally silly names like Hung Far Low, Flavors of Negros or Kum Den. And I'm not talking about intentional double-entendres like Big Red Cock or Twin Peaks. I'm talking about baffling and bizarre restaurant names that defy explanation.

This issue came up recently when I was attempting to tell some friends about Xuco Xicana, which is neither spellable nor pronounceable for a large part of the population. "Wait, it starts with an X?" my friends asked. "Two Xs? Wait, slow down. Spell it again?"

And the part of the population that can pronounce it, and understands the Spanish slang, has the propensity to be mildly offended or put off by it. "Does he know what pachuco means?" I recall one Hispanic coworker asking me after I told her about Chef Jonathan Jones's latest restaurant.

Weird name aside, I love Xuco Xicana. And I do like the fact that its unusual name sets it apart from the herd of Tex-Mex joints in town; you know from the name alone that Xuco Xicana isn't doing your standard cheese enchiladas. I just don't like having to spell and pronounce it for people all the time. And I'm not a big fan of these other bizarre restaurant names either.

5. Fuzzy's Taco Shop: Tacos should never be fuzzy. At least, not the kind of tacos that come with meat and cheese in them. Fuzzy tacos calls to mind a light coating of shag carpet fibers scattered across the top of your tacos in lieu of lettuce.

4. Fuzzy's Pizza: Ditto. Love the pizza, hate the name.

3. Happy Lamp: Although, by all accounts, it's a great restaurant, it's simply bizarre to highlight...light fixtures, of all things...in your restaurant's name.

2. Vida Sexy Tex-Mex: The owner of Vida was none too pleased with the gentle ribbing that I gave his restaurant in a recent Openings & Closings post, so I'll go easy this time. I'm sure the food is great, and I love the no-kids concept. I'm still not sold on the name, though.

1. Todai: I still have never received clarification on whether this is pronounced "today" or "to die." I'm pretty sure it's the latter, though, and it's never fun explaining to people that you're going to get sushi from a place that sounds like death.

Finger-Licking Bukateria is, obviously, in a category all of its own. What are your favorite uniquely bizarre restaurant names in Houston?

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