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What’s in a restaurant name?

How Stake, West Pac Noodle Bar, Moo-Time, Leroy's, Lil Piggy's Bar-B-Q came into being

Mock up of West Pac Noodle Bar
Mock up of West Pac Noodle Bar
Place

MooTime Creamery

1025 Orange Avenue, Coronado

David Spatafore, the “visionary” and “primary owner” at Blue Bridge Hospitality, goofed with the name of his first restaurant. “We called it MooTown Creamery, and the concept was that we were going to make homemade ice cream and play Motown music.” Six months in, he was sick of nonstop Motown and unable to trademark the name, thanks to a cheese snack out of Wisconsin. “We came with MooTime — it was a small change, and people could say, ‘It’s time for MooTime.’ We put it out to the public as part of a contest, and it ended up winning.”

That was 1998. Today, there are two MooTime Creamery locations on Coronado, plus seven other Blue Bridge establishments ranging from pizza to coffee to steak. Soon, he’ll open an eighth: West Pac Noodle Bar. West Pac refers to the region visited by so many sailors departing from Coronado’s shores.

Place

Stake Chophouse & Bar

1309 Orange Avenue, Coronado

These days, there’s no set process, no committee, and no market testing. “Usually, it’s just conversation over a beer or two or three with friends, family, or associates. When it hits you, it hits you. The name for Stake [Chophouse & Bar] came to me in my sleep; I remember waking up and writing it down. You’re putting your stake down, saying, ‘This is the place.’ Each name has a specific ‘How we came up with it’ — we want it to mean something, even if it’s an in-joke. Leroy’s [Kitchen & Lounge] is a perfect example of that. It’s a fun story to tell, a talking point instead of something with a specific definition.”

Place

Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge

1015 Orange Avenue, Coronado

The fun story starts with Spatafore’s cousin Leroy, “who works with me. People do a double-take when we say we’re cousins, because Leroy, by his heritage, is Dutch Indonesian. He’s the most bizarre, cool cousin: a man of the world. Besides English, he speaks Spanish, French, and Dutch. He lived in Suriname for years; most people can’t find Suriname on a map. Everybody seems to love him; he’s this great equalizer, always laughing. But nobody can figure out what he is. Is he black, is he Hispanic, is he Asian? That spoke to what Leroy’s was supposed to be — it’s not just one thing. If you know Leroy, you understand that.”

It continues with the hungover aftermath of “some charity event at the Del. We were sitting in a room talking about the name ‘Leroy’ — how it means ‘the king’ in French, how there’s a Grand Cru champagne named Leroy. That’s not the association it has in America; I’ve heard people walk by Leroy’s and say things based on some crude assumptions. The name made sense to me because you don’t know what Leroy’s is until you’ve been there.”

Place

Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q

1201 First Street, Coronado

Once Spatafore has his name, “that’s when the organization gets involved, asking, ‘What can we do with it?’” (Lil Piggy’s Bar-B-Q put out shirts with the slogan “Smoke ’Em If You Got ’Em,” referring to the joint’s smoked meat but also winking at legalized weed.) “With West Pac, we’re looking at the patches from the different squadrons — which are like pieces of art — and asking how we can incorporate those into the business.”

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Mock up of West Pac Noodle Bar
Mock up of West Pac Noodle Bar
Place

MooTime Creamery

1025 Orange Avenue, Coronado

David Spatafore, the “visionary” and “primary owner” at Blue Bridge Hospitality, goofed with the name of his first restaurant. “We called it MooTown Creamery, and the concept was that we were going to make homemade ice cream and play Motown music.” Six months in, he was sick of nonstop Motown and unable to trademark the name, thanks to a cheese snack out of Wisconsin. “We came with MooTime — it was a small change, and people could say, ‘It’s time for MooTime.’ We put it out to the public as part of a contest, and it ended up winning.”

That was 1998. Today, there are two MooTime Creamery locations on Coronado, plus seven other Blue Bridge establishments ranging from pizza to coffee to steak. Soon, he’ll open an eighth: West Pac Noodle Bar. West Pac refers to the region visited by so many sailors departing from Coronado’s shores.

Place

Stake Chophouse & Bar

1309 Orange Avenue, Coronado

These days, there’s no set process, no committee, and no market testing. “Usually, it’s just conversation over a beer or two or three with friends, family, or associates. When it hits you, it hits you. The name for Stake [Chophouse & Bar] came to me in my sleep; I remember waking up and writing it down. You’re putting your stake down, saying, ‘This is the place.’ Each name has a specific ‘How we came up with it’ — we want it to mean something, even if it’s an in-joke. Leroy’s [Kitchen & Lounge] is a perfect example of that. It’s a fun story to tell, a talking point instead of something with a specific definition.”

Place

Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge

1015 Orange Avenue, Coronado

The fun story starts with Spatafore’s cousin Leroy, “who works with me. People do a double-take when we say we’re cousins, because Leroy, by his heritage, is Dutch Indonesian. He’s the most bizarre, cool cousin: a man of the world. Besides English, he speaks Spanish, French, and Dutch. He lived in Suriname for years; most people can’t find Suriname on a map. Everybody seems to love him; he’s this great equalizer, always laughing. But nobody can figure out what he is. Is he black, is he Hispanic, is he Asian? That spoke to what Leroy’s was supposed to be — it’s not just one thing. If you know Leroy, you understand that.”

It continues with the hungover aftermath of “some charity event at the Del. We were sitting in a room talking about the name ‘Leroy’ — how it means ‘the king’ in French, how there’s a Grand Cru champagne named Leroy. That’s not the association it has in America; I’ve heard people walk by Leroy’s and say things based on some crude assumptions. The name made sense to me because you don’t know what Leroy’s is until you’ve been there.”

Place

Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q

1201 First Street, Coronado

Once Spatafore has his name, “that’s when the organization gets involved, asking, ‘What can we do with it?’” (Lil Piggy’s Bar-B-Q put out shirts with the slogan “Smoke ’Em If You Got ’Em,” referring to the joint’s smoked meat but also winking at legalized weed.) “With West Pac, we’re looking at the patches from the different squadrons — which are like pieces of art — and asking how we can incorporate those into the business.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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