Restaurant Naming: Jonathan Benno’s Hype Meets Reality

On May 25th the New York Times reported that chef Jonathan Benno’s new restaurant being built at Lincoln Center for the Patina Restaurant Group did not yet have a name.

The next morning I sent a letter to Nick Valenti, head of Patina with a suggestion for a name I thought would be fitting for the new restaurant.  I did not receive a response.  I wasn’t really expecting one.  I knew it was a long shot anyway.  I just came up with the idea and thought it wouldn’t hurt to present it to Mr. Valenti.

Well, today I just read on Grub Street that the name ‘Lincoln’ has been selected for the restaurant.  Fairly straightforward choice I guess.  Not too surprising given some of the other names on Patina’s roster.  But now that the die has been cast I guess I can share with you the name that I had suggested for the restaurant.  Here it is along with my explanation for it that I sent to Mr. Valenti:

Crescere
Crescere is the Italian verb meaning ‘to grow, to increase, to expand’.
This word has several implications –
The musical term ‘crescendo’ comes from ‘crescere’.
‘Crescendo’ means ‘a gradual increase of anything, especially to a dramatic climax’.
This can reference not only the musical performances at Lincoln Center but also could speak to the progression of courses and mounting satisfaction in a dinner at the restaurant.
The growth and expansion implied in the name ‘Crescere’ could also reference the architectural ‘expansion’ of the site.
The way in which the landscape has expanded and been lifted above street level to allow for the increased space of the restaurant below it.
The word ‘crescere’ can also mean ‘to cultivate’.
This idea of cultivation can not only reference the meticulous care given the vegetables and fruits used by the restaurant but it can also be a nod to the growth of the ‘field’ of grass on the roof.
‘Crescere’, when pronounced correctly, has an unmistakable Italian sound to it, thereby reinforcing the Italian concept of chef Benno’s menu.
Another reason that I think ‘Crescere’ is a perfect name for the restaurant is that the word itself is visually pleasing.
Its rounded forms and letter repetition offer great potential in graphically crafting this word into a beautiful identity for your restaurant.

Crescere

Crescere is the Italian verb meaning ‘to grow, to increase, to expand’.

This word has several implications –

The musical term ‘crescendo’ comes from ‘crescere’.

‘Crescendo’ means ‘a gradual increase of anything, especially to a dramatic climax’.

This can reference not only the musical performances at Lincoln Center but also could speak to the progression of courses and mounting satisfaction in a dinner at the restaurant.

The growth and expansion implied in the name ‘Crescere’ could also reference the architectural ‘expansion’ of the site.

The way in which the landscape has expanded and been lifted above street level to allow for the increased space of the restaurant below it.

The word ‘crescere’ can also mean ‘to cultivate’.

This idea of cultivation can not only reference the meticulous care given the vegetables and fruits used by the restaurant but it can also be a nod to the growth of the ‘field’ of grass on the roof.

‘Crescere’, when pronounced correctly, has an unmistakable Italian sound to it, thereby reinforcing the Italian concept of chef Benno’s menu.

Another reason that I think ‘Crescere’ is a perfect name for the restaurant is that the word itself is visually pleasing.

Its rounded forms and letter repetition offer great potential in graphically crafting this word into a beautiful identity for your restaurant.


Sound interesting, thoughtful, catchy or compelling to you?   Or are you not buying it?  Let me know.  I guess I was thinking that a slightly less literal reference to the restaurant’s locational context would be more interesting.  Not to mention that the word ‘Crescere’ has a multiplicity of meaning that would lend

more depth to the referential exploration between the restaurant and it’s context.  ’Crescere’

would serve both to connect the restaurant to the cultural landmark that it will be a part of as well as strengthen its culinary concept.  The name ‘Lincoln’ also does this.  To some extent.

How important is a name?  ’Very’ or ‘not very’ depending on who you ask.  I am sure that Benno’s ‘Lincoln’ Restaurant will be a success.  He has honed his cooking under one of the best in chef Thomas Keller.  And he is joining a solid operation in the Patina Group.  I think, though, that it might have been a great opportunity to ‘add to’ instead of ‘rely on’ the cultural and creative history of Lincoln Center.


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  • I like the name Crescere and idea behind it 1000% percent more than Lincoln. Lincoln is boring and predictable and will subliminally put that in people’s minds before they give it a try. They should’ve used yours.