Punning Linguists: Chicago Restaurateurs

An acquaintance of ours who draws cartoons for The New Yorker once told us that the major hard-and-fast rule of that publication’s cartoon editor is NO PUNS. None. Zero. Which is sort of tragic to us, because we love puns so much that we considered becoming a locksmith just so we could open a storefront called Sure-Locked Homes.

Thank heaven for restaurants, then — the Tribune reports that according to Lynn Westley, a reference librarian at UIC, Chicago has the best, punniest, most rib-tickling restaurant names around.

Of course, right at the top, there’s Lettuce Entertain You, the behemoth responsible for restaurants ranging from Nacional 27 to Mity Nice, whose name makes it into the title of Westney’s paper — “Dew Drop Inn and Lettuce Entertain You: Onomastic Sobriquets in the Food and Beverage Industry.”

She says Chicago-area folks demonstrate the most creativity, as evidenced by their dominance of the hot dog category, with spots such as Franks for the Memories in Mundelein, The Weiner’s Circle on Chicago’s North Side and Mustard’s Last Stand in Evanston.

It’s the strength of those encased-meat puns that puts Chicago-area restaurants over the top, Westney says. “It seems like there’s a hot dog stand on every corner, and so many of them are cleverly named,” she said.

Chicago restaurants pun it up [Tribune]

[The Weiner’s Circle, via pinaki_wv’s Flickr]


Punning Linguists: Chicago Restaurateurs