Opening a local business is hard enough without having to come up with a good name, but as you probably already know, names have power. If you’re trying to meaningfully enter a community with your business and want to signify your commitment with its name, it’s a popular choice to go with something that includes the name of the street you’re on or the neighborhood you’re in — for instance, even though they’re both local businesses, a name like “Cherrywood Coffeehouse” has slightly more of a sense of place than “Monkey Nest Coffee.”
The name isn’t everything, of course — “Hopdoddy” is just about the stupidest possible name for a burger joint, and it’s become wildly successful in spite of it — but locally-minded naming conventions become slightly awkward once a successful business owner has a mind to open another location outside of their original neighborhood. For the sake of brand recognition, you’ve got to hold onto the original name no matter where you go, but doing so doesn’t really make sense sometimes.
The names of many of the businesses on this list, exported from their actual physical locations, could be considered as a promotional opportunity for the original streets and neighborhoods that gave them the names in the first place — but it’s also kind of odd if you don’t know Austin very well. Here are some examples of this amusing, confusing phenomenon:
Kerbey Lane Cafe
The O.G. of Austin restaurants named for streets, I’ll bet you a stack of disappointing pancakes that at least half the people packing the seven of Kerbey Lane Cafe’s eight locations spread around Austin that aren’t on the actual Kerbey Lane have no idea where to find it, or even that the original cafe is located there. I’m serious.
It’s rather fitting that Westlake Dermatology, West Austin’s premier cosmetic surgery clinic and billboard outfit resembling something like a luxury spa more than a medical practice, would keep the original Westlake name for its other locations around town — for Austinites, Westlake is basically shorthand for “where the money is.”
Castle Hill Fitness
Castle Hill Fitness, the gym and spa located near Clarksville a stone’s throw from the actual castle on the actual hill from which the name of the area originates, now has a second location off Loop 360, roughly a 10-mile drive from Castle Hill itself. This one isn’t very confusing for people since Castle Hill is kind of a minor Austin thing, but it’s still kind of funny.
Second Bar + Kitchen
Named, as you probably already guessed, for its original location in the Second Street District of downtown Austin, Second Bar + Kitchen now has locations at the Domain and the airport, neither of which have anything to do with the name. You might think of it as an advertisement for the Second Street District in restaurant form.
East Side Pies
Cardinal directions can also cause some trouble once you try to expand — East Side Pies originally opened in 2006 on Rosewood Avenue in East Austin, but now the successful pizza joint has locations in North Loop and the Crestview/Wooten areas of north central Austin. I guess everything is technically on the east side of something — Southside Flying Pizza also has this directional problem, with a location now open in East Austin north of the river.
Hyde Park Bar and Grill
Originally opened in Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood in 1982, Hyde Park Bar and Grill now has a second location open south of the river near Sunset Valley, about 10 miles from the actual Hyde Park neighborhood. Of course, there are so many Hyde Parks all over the world, generally named for the fancy-pants park in London, that this one probably doesn’t cause much confusion — “Hyde Park,” for people who don’t know about the specific Austin neighborhood, just sounds like something fancy.
Lavaca Street Bar
This one is easily my favorite, and the most confusing by far: Lavaca Street Bar has served drinks on Lavaca Street — as you would expect — in downtown Austin’s Warehouse District for more than 20 years, and the bar’s done so well it’s recently opened two additional locations, one at the Domain, and the other on South Lamar Boulevard. This means you can very easily hear this sentence from someone: “I’m at Lavaca Street Bar on South Lamar.”
Header image caption: The Second Street District location of Second Bar + Kitchen — you know, the one that actually makes sense. Image: Second Bar + Kitchen / Facebook