It's named what!?! The worst names for restaurants ever

By Sean O'Neill
October 3, 2012
Courtesy <a href="">plusgood/Flickr</a>

The world's worst restaurant names? They're picked every year by Zagat, the famous restaurant review site.

Zagat was bought last week by the search giant Google for its "useful," "eccentric," and "comprehensive in big cities" restaurant reviews by more than 300,000 patrons.

It just so happens that Zagat (pronounced za-GAT with "GAT" like "cat") recently published a list of the world's worst restaurant names.

Here are a few of its picks:

Rat's Restaurant, Hamilton, N.J. Expensive spot, honoring the rodent character in The Wind in the Willows. Surrounded by Seward Johnson’s life-size sculptures imitating French impressionist Claude Monet's beloved Impressionist paintings.

B.A.D. Sushi, L.A.

It's hip to have an acronym in the name of your restaurant, which in this case is "Best And Delicious.” The only problem is that, well, it's BAD.

Captain Poo's, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Say the name and you say everything, right?

Pink Taco, Century City, L.A.

Californians excel at making Mexican food and they excel at marketing everything known to man, so it's no surprise that this Mexican joint with the goofy name is an import from Las Vegas, which tends to get both things wrong.

And here are a few more nominations for bad restaurant names:

Ruth's Chris Steak House, 130-plus locations across the U.S.

Ruth Fertel bought a New Orleans restaurant, Chris Steak House. The contract said she couldn't move the restaurant and keep the name, so when she eventually moved it she added her own name on it.

The Dead Fish, Crockett, Calif.

The owner's grandmother had a standard reply whenever someone asked her what fish she was cooking any given night: "A dead fish." In her honor, he named the restaurant. Which is a great story, but, still.

Blunch, Boston.

Supposedly inspired by a restaurant in France called Flunch. But something got lost in the translation.

Fuddruckers, national chain, about 200 spots.
Love the burgers, hate their name. (Fighting words, I know.) The Fudd is like Häagen-Dazs. It has no meaning, it's merely supposed to catch your attention. Which it does. Like a bad piece of Muzak you can't get out of your head.

Doug Lansky, famous for "The Titanic Awards" and "Signspotting," put out a similar list. Here are some names he found:

Soon Fatt Chinese Food, Ireland

What else is there to add?

My Dung, Calif.

There are several restaurants named My Dung in California, including one in Rosemead. Go figure.

Stomach Clinic Railways Restaurant, Nairobi, Kenya

If you're feeling classy, call this by its likely formal name: Gastrointestinal Examination Bistro.

Have you ever encountered a badly named restaurant? Let us know in the comments. And vote in our poll on the worst of the bunch.


Ask Trip Coach: Top tips for traveling with your pet

Slideshow: Readers' cutest pet photos

Pet Travel News: A handy app, a Disney resort, and more

Keep reading
Travel Tips

Beware of fake "direct" flights

Major airlines sell two types of flights: nonstops, which fly straight to your destination, and direct flights, which have connections. So-called "direct" flights come in two flavors. On an ordinary direct flight, you stay on the same plane during the layover and fly to your final destination. On a "fake" direct flight, you have to get off the plane, go to a new gate, and board a new plane. This can be an unpleasant surprise for travelers. It's been a long-standing practice to operate the US leg of an international flight, such as Denver to Dulles to London, with a switch to a larger plane to cross the ocean. Fine. But for domestic flights, switching planes is a pain, and it's deceptive for travelers when they're booking their tickets. For example, United has many flights between Chicago to Denver. Some are nonstops. Others are "direct." Here's an example of a "direct" one: The first "leg" of flight 817 stops in Minneapolis at gate E6. You then have to get out, and get on a new plane at gate E10 to continue to Denver. Why is this a problem? If the first "leg" is delayed, the airline won't hold the second "leg" until you arrive because, according to its computers, these are two separate flights. The computers are being honest. Upgrades are tricky to book on fake "direct" flights, too, because the computers think the flights are separate, requiring two awards&mdash;not one. How do you spot a fake "direct" flight? Remember: Just because the flight number stays the same doesn't mean you remain on the same plane. Read the details of your itinerary before you purchase a ticket. Are there gate changes at the connecting airport? If so, it's a fake direct flight. Read what your departure and arrival times are&mdash;lengthy delays are a signal. Of course, once you book one of these flights, another signal is if you have to select your seat twice on the way to your destination. United has recently increased the number of fake direct domestic flights, according to journalist Nicholas Kralev. Delta has a high number of these "fake" flights, too. But American Airlines and Southwest Airlines honorably make sure all of their "direct" flights are one-plane, no-change trips. In another twist, airlines can take a nonstop flight you booked and turn it into a direct or fake direct one. If you receive an e-mail from your airline or online travel agency saying that you're nonstop has become a multistep, you have a right to ask to be rebooked on a different nonstop option or to have your money refunded without any fees. SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: The End of Summer is Nigh, But Isn't Fall Travel Better Anyway? One-Tank Escapes for Seven Cities Poll: Are quick trips abroad worth the travel time?

Travel Tips

When pigs fly: traveling with pets

This week, a 49-pound miniature potbellied pig named Bosley flew from Florida to New York on Pet Airways. (I’ll wait while you giggle and get those “when pigs fly” jokes out.) The two-year-old company currently serves nine locations across the country and prides itself on being the only airline that always flies pets in the main cabin and not in cargo. Cats, dogs, rats, birds, and even a hermit crab have counted among their so-called Pawsengers, but this is the airline’s first pig. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('d1568dbd-0571-4cde-8568-1a5439d6724f');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)Weird, sure. But pet travel isn’t just a novelty. According to a study by, 14-18% of American adults have traveled with a pet in the past three years. And the Department of Transportation reports that over 500,000 pets fly in the U.S. annually. Earlier this year, our blogger Brad Tuttle spoke with Maggie Espinosa, author of The Privileged Pooch: Luxury Travel With Your Pet in Southern California, about traveling with a pet. She gave us some great things to do to prepare for a trip with a pet: Check for blackout dates—there are times of the year when it’s either too hot or too cold for pets to fly safely in the cargo area. Check the breed—short-nosed breeds like Boston Terriers and bulldogs can have respiratory problems that are made worse by the stress of air travel. Bring along your pet’s favorite food—any deviation from its usual diet can cause stomach problems. Make sure your pet’s ID tag includes your current cell phone number, in case it gets loose at the airport. Have you ever flown with a pet? Sound off below with your best pet travel tips! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: Ask Trip Coach: Top tips for traveling with your pet Slideshow: Readers' cutest pet photos Pet Travel News: A handy app, a Disney resort, and more

Travel Tips

Green Day incident spurs question: Should airlines enforce dress codes?

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland last week because he was wearing saggy pants. A flight attendant reportedly asked the alt rock singer, 39, to pull up his trousers. He refused. Armstrong tweeted "Just got kicked off a Southwest flight because my pants sagged too low! What the f---? No joke!" He was allowed to board the next flight to Burbank, and Southwest has since apologized. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('4579cee7-95d3-4a4e-94a4-397ca7a31d39');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info) But why would the Southwest flight attendant think it was her right to comment on a rock star's dress? Because Southwest's Contract of Carriage, listed on the carrier's website, includes a dress code. In its passenger rules, the carrier states it can refuse to transport "Persons whose conduct is or has been known to be disorderly, abusive, offensive, threatening, intimidating, violent, or whose clothing is lewd, obscene, or patently offensive." Armstrong is not the first to be kicked off a Southwest flight based on dress. Southwest also famously booted a college student who worked as a Hooters waitress in 2007, reportedly because her skirt was too short and tank top too revealing. She was allowed to stay on the flight when she readjusted her clothing. While there was a time when carriers required those in First Class to dress up, most airlines have relaxed those standards. Except, two years ago a top executive of Best Buy was denied a First Class seat on a United Airlines flight, reportedly because his Puma tracksuit was deemed too casual for the front of the plane. Like Green Day's Armstrong, a University of New Mexico football player was kicked off a US Airways flight in June for wearing low-riding pants. In the case of Deshon Marman, he was arrested when he allegedly resisted. The charges didn't stick. US Airways' passenger contract, like that of Southwest, makes for an interesting read, stating that those who are "barefoot, or otherwise inappropriately clothed, unless required for medical reasons" can be denied boarding. But the whole concept of proper clothing is subjective. US Airways had no problem with allowing an older man dressed in skimpy women's lingerie to fly last June. A surprised fellow passenger on the Fort Lauderdale to Phoenix flight snapped a photo. American Airlines is among other carriers clearly stating in its rules it can refuse transport to a passenger "clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offence to other passengers." We welcome your comments on airline dress codes. More from Budget Travel: The Ultimate Packing Guide Airline Dress: A Flight Attendant's Perspective A Flight Attendant Sounds Off

Travel Tips

Commonly mispronounced places around the world

I have a distinct memory of the moment when, after moving from the West Coast to the East Coast for college, I heard someone say something about “Or-e-gone"—and then continue on with their story as if they hadn't just invented a 51st state. Never in my life had I heard the place pronounced in any way except "Or-ih-gun" (rhyming with Morgan). I'd soon discover that this was a matter of debate on this side of the country. Maybe I shouldn't have rushed to judgment—it didn't take long before I was schooled on the correct way to say "Worcester," (woos-ter, for the uninitiated). We all know that picking up a foreign language can be tough, but sometimes, even mastering the name of a place you're visiting can be a challenge. From countries (the Maldives, Qatar, Papua New Guinea) to cities and towns (Beijing, Gloucester, Cairns), and even streets (New Yorkers will scoff at tourists looking for Hue-ston Street rather than How-ston Street, for example), it seems that for every place there is to visit, there are two or three ways to butcher its name. We've started a list of places with hotly debated or commonly botched pronunciations below&mdash;do us Budget Travelers a favor and chime in: is there a country, city, or town with a name you hear mispronounced more often than not? How about a place whose name you’re stumped on? Beijing, China &ndash; Americans usually pronounce the name of the Chinese capital city something like beige·ing, but the correct pronunciation is in fact bay·jing. Cairns, Australia &ndash; this one is hotly debated, but a representative from Australia's Local Tourism Network, which represents the city, assures us that the correct pronunciation is can. (same goes for Cannes, France). Edinburgh, Scotland &ndash; ed·in·burr·ah, or ed·in·bra, in the local style. Gloucester, England &ndash; glos·ter. Also goes for the city of the same name in Mass. Iraq &ndash; let's clear this one up once and for all. ir·ock (not eye·rack). The Maldives &ndash; mall·deeves Papua New Guinea &ndash; pa·pew·a noo gi·nee, with emphasis on the first syllable in Papua. Qatar &ndash; kah·tar, with emphasis on the second syllable. "&gt;This report from NPR breaks down the controversy over the pronunciation. For the record, the U.S. Embassy of Qatar is still using this pronunciation. São Paulo, Brazil &ndash; sa·ow pow·low Spokane, Wash. &ndash; spo·can (not spo·cane) Versailles, KY &ndash; ver·sails (on the other hand, Versailles, France is pronounced ver·sigh; best not to confuse the two). Wilkes-Barre, Penn. &ndash; wilkes ber·ry or wilkes bear (not wilkes bar). The city even has a "&gt;web page dedicated to the pronunciation and history of the name. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: What’s your biggest language gaffe? The tackiest tourist photos on the web 10 Coolest Small Towns in America 2011