What's in a name? History says plenty!

So you want to open a little place of your own. It's something you always wanted to do. Just a cute little place with good food, a few plants and small intimate tables where people like to gather. You've spent months mulling over the name. You could go with the obvious-"Henry's Restaurant". After all, this was the name given to the little stops along a travel route that served food and beverage to "restore" its weary patrons. Nice title, but you're right-it's obvious.

You might consider a name that is a little more down to earth and not quite as formal. "Henry's Deli" has that ring. It's short for delicatessen which means "ready made foods"-so you might have to give up the idea you had about making everything fresh to order.

There's always "Chez Henry". Then you think, "I want to open a restaurant down the block not set it up in my livingroom".

Somehow you like the way "Henry's Brasserie" rolls off your tongue. You may like the way it sounds, but unless you are a brew master, you are going to have trouble living up to the name. The word actually comes from the French "brasser" which means "to brew". These first brew taverns opened in the northeastern parts of France and were attached to local breweries and monasteries. As business grew, these brasseries served local foods free of charge along with the beer. It was no accident that many of the dishes were salty and very savory so that you would be obliged to have more than one beer to quench your thirst.

How about "Henry's Café"? Short, sweet, easy. You guessed it. Unless you consider yourself an expert in coffee and plan to offer many different blends and types, this may not be your cup of tea.

Got it! "Henry's Bistro"-Great name and shared by many great eating establishments. If you are looking for that friendly, relaxed atmosphere, this may not be the answer either. It is said that the name is derived from the word "bystro" or Russian for quickly. After the fall of Napoleon, the occupational Russian soldiers shouted "bystro"in order to obtain faster service in the Parisian cafes. To accommodate, these cafes served simple foods that were easy to prepare and serve. Hence, the American Bistros, which are popping up all over the country, usually pride themselves on using fresh, local ingredients in a home style cuisine with prompt service. Of course, you always liked strolling through those quaint little New England towns and stopping in at the local "The Sign of the Whale" tavern for a nightcap. Maybe, you could borrow this idea-"The Sign of the Lightning Bolt". Loosely translated, "henry or henrie" is the force of an electric volt. Maybe this is the answer! And you didn't even have to get rid of Henry. When you open up a business, you want people to find you. In the days before street numbers, the local postal carrier would locate you because your business address would be The Sign of "something".

Well, you may be a little confused, but Henry isn't. We can see Henry's announcement in the local newspaper now: Opening Soon: The Sign of Chez Henry's Café-Restaurant-Bistro-Brasserie-Delicatessen-serving ready made local cuisine with fresh ingredients accompanied by coffee or beer and served in a hurry-and the United States Postal Service knows exactly where to deliver our mail.