Lots of restaurants use ingredient names – like Salt or Branzino, in Philadelphia or Butter, Aquivit or Drink in NYC. I thought about that but I don’t feel connected to any one ingredient. Lots of restaurants use a location – like Ouest, on the Upper West Side, 333 Belrose or Alison at Blue Bell. I thought people would want to know where we are. I thought about that but “Ft. Washington” just doesn’t sing. Don’t get me wrong – Ft. Washington is a lovely neighborhood but I couldn’t see incorporating the name into the name of the restaurant.
We picked Alison two. And, like any good name, once we decided, it just felt right. The name reflects our ideal that the second restaurant be part of the same family as Alison at Blue Bell, yet have its own distinct personality too. Likewise, the logo is an extension of the original brand – Alison at Blue Bell.
I know there is no “ta da” but I think the name makes sense. The colors work, the graphics work. I think the names work well together as a family. It works for us. We weren’t looking for a cutesy and trendy name– because we’re not cutesy and trendy. It’s my food – which you’ve come to know – at my second place. We’re happy with the first restaurant. It is working. We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re opening the second restaurant because we want to grow and do more. The name reflects that.
Some people like the name. Some don’t. Some bloggers think I’m egotistical. (Check out opinions at foobooz, chowhound, shallowcenter and foodandrinq.) But, no matter how much you dislike the name, you can’t be as disappointed as Tom Pittakas, our manager. He felt strongly about it and launched a whole campaign to name the restaurant “Tom.” He had customers rallying for him and everything. I think he was disappointed – but not surprised.
One of the beauties of a name like Alison (unlike Tom) is that the name of the restaurant comes up near the top of every alphabetical listing. I don’t think my folks planned it that way – but it was a good move. Perhaps if Mr. and Mrs. Pittakas had named him Alvin we’d have considered it. I like being an “A” and I just love our “A” logo.
My friend, Ellen Diamant, designed the logo. She also designed the logo for Alison Café, the tiny restaurant I opened in Skippack when I returned to Philadelphia, and Alison at Blue Bell. Since developing those logos, Ellen’s business, Skip*Hop, has really taken off. She designs and sells hip accessories for new parents. Check it out. I was worried that she wouldn’t have time to design our new logo and was relieved that she agreed to do it. I’m so happy with the final logo. It feels classy and upscale to me.
Ellen also introduced me to our web designer extraordinaire, Elizabeth Kilroy. My cool website design has attracted national attention, thanks to her. She designs my email newsletters too. If you’re not getting the email newsletter and want to sign up, click here and hit “sign up for newsletter.” Pretty soon she’ll start working on the site for Alison two. We’ve acquired alisontwo.com, alison2.com and alisonII.com.
Don’t bother to go to the new website yet – there’s nothing to see. Designing that website is on the “to do” list, along with picking out furniture, creating our Beer Week menu and preparing for Valentine’s Day. I’ll keep you posted….