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Perception: Restaurant Names

Perception: Restaurant Names
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  • Perception: Restaurant Names

    Post #1 - January 6th, 2011, 11:20 am
    Post #1 - January 6th, 2011, 11:20 am Post #1 - January 6th, 2011, 11:20 am
    (Moderator Note While the beginning of this thread has been moved from Leopold - Belgium in West Town please direct future "whats in a name" conversation/digression here.Thanks)

    A restaurant deserves to be evaluated on many scales, and perhaps the factor I'm going to mention won't be high on most other readers' lists.

    But I have to tell you just how gross I feel that someone would name a place offering Belgian cuisine for Leopold, the king who pioneered so many of the atrocities that came to define evil in the 20th century. That scene at the beginning of Blood Diamonds where the 8 year old girl has her arm hacked off - that's what I think of when I think of Leopold of Belgium, not rabbit and poutine; that's Leopold's legacy to our world.

    Perhaps in 80 years, when yesterday's horrors are forgotten, someone will think of a great name for a German restaurant ...

    I recognize the scornful internet rule - that disputes inevitably lead to calling someone a Nazi. I'm not calling anyone a Nazi, and I'm sure this restaurant was named with the best and most innocent of intentions by nice people who just want to cook food. But when Leopold's name is invoked, it is appropriate to mention Hitler in the next breath. I just wish a little more thought had been put into this. Someone should have asked "Who was Leopold, and what is he primarily known for?" A simple wiki search would have been sufficient to prevent this sad choice.
  • Post #2 - January 6th, 2011, 12:05 pm
    Post #2 - January 6th, 2011, 12:05 pm Post #2 - January 6th, 2011, 12:05 pm
    Maybe it's named for Leopold I?
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #3 - January 6th, 2011, 12:08 pm
    Post #3 - January 6th, 2011, 12:08 pm Post #3 - January 6th, 2011, 12:08 pm
    ryan,

    Someone more learned on Belgium history than I had the very same reaction when he first heard of this restaurant's name. I am sure many are blissfully unaware.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #4 - January 6th, 2011, 12:10 pm
    Post #4 - January 6th, 2011, 12:10 pm Post #4 - January 6th, 2011, 12:10 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Someone more learned on Belgium history than I had the very same reaction when he first heard of this restaurant's name. I am sure many are blissfully unaware.
    I thought of Leopold and Loeb, which has zero impact on me wanting to the place. I am sure others were reminded of a favorite relative, street where they grew up or even Leopold's Ice Cream in Savannah, Ga, endorsed by Paula Dean no less.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - January 6th, 2011, 12:11 pm
    Post #5 - January 6th, 2011, 12:11 pm Post #5 - January 6th, 2011, 12:11 pm
    HI,

    That Loeb family are neighbors.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - January 6th, 2011, 12:14 pm
    Post #6 - January 6th, 2011, 12:14 pm Post #6 - January 6th, 2011, 12:14 pm
    Unfortunate name choice, for sure. Nathan Leopold, the infamous Chicagoan, was of German Jewish ancestry, so that wouldn't make any sense for a Belgian restaurant. The reality is, Leopold I is a historical nobody compared to his genocidal son. I seriously doubt that the owners meant to stir the pot with this name, but they probably should have thought a bit more about it.
  • Post #7 - January 6th, 2011, 12:17 pm
    Post #7 - January 6th, 2011, 12:17 pm Post #7 - January 6th, 2011, 12:17 pm
    I understand and appreciate ryanwc's point. Frankly, I had exactly the same reaction. It struck me as tone-deaf, at best, though I agree with him, too, that it was undoubtedly named "with the best and most innocent of intentions."

    P.S. Thanks, too, to the OP for calling this restaurant to my attention; sounds like a place well worth a visit and I look forward to hearing others' reactions to the food.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #8 - January 6th, 2011, 12:20 pm
    Post #8 - January 6th, 2011, 12:20 pm Post #8 - January 6th, 2011, 12:20 pm
    ryanwc wrote:I recognize the scornful internet rule - that disputes inevitably lead to calling someone a Nazi. I'm not calling anyone a Nazi, and I'm sure this restaurant was named with the best and most innocent of intentions by nice people who just want to cook food. But when Leopold's name is invoked, it is appropriate to mention Hitler in the next breath.


    Have you tried the sauerbraten at Adolph's? :roll:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #9 - January 6th, 2011, 12:34 pm
    Post #9 - January 6th, 2011, 12:34 pm Post #9 - January 6th, 2011, 12:34 pm
    I'm not interested in boycotting restaurants that choose stupid names, but I do enjoy making fun of them. That said, this one is way down on the list in a city that's seen the likes of The Money Shot, ñ, and EATT
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #10 - January 6th, 2011, 12:35 pm
    Post #10 - January 6th, 2011, 12:35 pm Post #10 - January 6th, 2011, 12:35 pm
    A Google search of the name Leopold turns up 11,300,000 results - none on the first page refer to King Leopold II of Belgium. In fact, most of them are links to various articles about Leopold & Loeb.

    How do you know the restaurant wasn't named after Leopold I, who was nominated to the throne by the Belgian National Congress, signed the Treaty of London cementing Belgium's independence from the Netherlands, fought (unsuccessfully) to pass child labor laws, and was uncle to England's Queen Victoria?

    Or maybe it was named after Leopold III, who fought in WWI, tried (unsuccessfully) to maintain Belgium's independence in WWII rather than joining the Allies, then refused to cooperate with Hitler after Belgium was taken over, resulting in Leopold III & his family being taken as POWs to Germany and then Austria, and who was eventually tried for (and cleared of) treason for how terribly things went for Belgium during WWII.

    Perhaps it was named after Leopold III, Patron Saint of Austria, candidate for Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire and founder of many monasteries?

    What about Rudolf Leopold, doctor, holocaust survivor, art collector, and museum director?

    Or Aldo Leopold, University of Wisconsin professor, ecologist, wilderness preservationist, author, and father of modern environmental ethics?

    Maybe the owners are fans of James Joyce's Ulysses.
  • Post #11 - January 6th, 2011, 12:39 pm
    Post #11 - January 6th, 2011, 12:39 pm Post #11 - January 6th, 2011, 12:39 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:Maybe the owners are fans of James Joyce's Ulysses.


    Poldy was the first person I thought of when I heard the restaurant name.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #12 - January 6th, 2011, 12:44 pm
    Post #12 - January 6th, 2011, 12:44 pm Post #12 - January 6th, 2011, 12:44 pm
    For the record, when asked, the Chef said it was because during their research trip the name showed up regularly during such as a street they dined on frequently, a hotel they stayed at and maybe even a restaurant itself, I don't remember exactly. I asked about the 3 different Leopold kings and he said coincidence, though the sources for their favorite places might have been more likely for the Leo III, let's hope.
  • Post #13 - January 6th, 2011, 12:45 pm
    Post #13 - January 6th, 2011, 12:45 pm Post #13 - January 6th, 2011, 12:45 pm
    Kennyz wrote:I'm not interested in boycotting restaurants that choose stupid names, but I do enjoy making fun of them. That said, this one is way down on the list in a city that's seen the likes of The Money Shot, ñ, and EATT


    Please let's not forget Browntrout.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #14 - January 6th, 2011, 12:47 pm
    Post #14 - January 6th, 2011, 12:47 pm Post #14 - January 6th, 2011, 12:47 pm
    jesteinf wrote:
    Kennyz wrote:I'm not interested in boycotting restaurants that choose stupid names, but I do enjoy making fun of them. That said, this one is way down on the list in a city that's seen the likes of The Money Shot, ñ, and EATT


    Please let's not forget Browntrout.


    TimeOut reports that Homaro Cantu is opening something called "ING". Put it on the list.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #15 - January 6th, 2011, 12:48 pm
    Post #15 - January 6th, 2011, 12:48 pm Post #15 - January 6th, 2011, 12:48 pm
    Let me clarify any misunderstanding. I work with Leopold, when the owners & chef went over to Belgium to conduct research, they saw the name Leopold everywhere. They stayed in the Hotel Leopold in Antwerp. Like the previous poster wrote, it's a very popular name, a wiki search brings up the Leopold Quarter for example. Nothing more than it's a popular name throughout Belgium, nothing sinister and no offense meant!
  • Post #16 - January 6th, 2011, 12:52 pm
    Post #16 - January 6th, 2011, 12:52 pm Post #16 - January 6th, 2011, 12:52 pm
    jenn37 wrote:Let me clarify any misunderstanding. I work with Leopold, when the owners & chef went over to Belgium to conduct research, they saw the name Leopold everywhere. They stayed in the Hotel Leopold in Antwerp. Like the previous poster wrote, it's a very popular name, a wiki search brings up the Leopold Quarter for example. Nothing more than it's a popular name throughout Belgium, nothing sinister and no offense meant!

    Thanks for the response, and no need to apologize. Folks determined to find offense will do so against all odds.
  • Post #17 - January 6th, 2011, 1:06 pm
    Post #17 - January 6th, 2011, 1:06 pm Post #17 - January 6th, 2011, 1:06 pm
    Website for Leopold, the Chicago restaurant/bar, is here: http://leopoldchicago.com/

    I can't decide if this thread wins the record for the fastest sprint away from topic or not. Highly entertaining. :lol:
    -Mary
  • Post #18 - January 6th, 2011, 1:09 pm
    Post #18 - January 6th, 2011, 1:09 pm Post #18 - January 6th, 2011, 1:09 pm
    Khaopaat, no one said they were offended. No need to start putting words into people's mouths. The SP (second poster - do I get credit for making that up?) simply said that the name reminded him of something very bad. I'm pretty sure a lot of people know nothing about this demonic individual. Perhaps the owners of the restaurant knew nothing either.
  • Post #19 - January 6th, 2011, 1:25 pm
    Post #19 - January 6th, 2011, 1:25 pm Post #19 - January 6th, 2011, 1:25 pm
    Darren72 wrote:Khaopaat, no one said they were offended. No need to start putting words into people's mouths. The SP (second poster - do I get credit for making that up?) simply said that the name reminded him of something very bad. I'm pretty sure a lot of people know nothing about this demonic individual. Perhaps the owners of the restaurant knew nothing either.

    Since Belgium isn't part of everyone's core knowledge, I am pretty sure this history lesson was unknown to many. I will go one step further to comment I never associated the name Leopold with Belgium. My frame of reference is more obtuse: a cat in a Russian cartoon.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #20 - January 6th, 2011, 1:34 pm
    Post #20 - January 6th, 2011, 1:34 pm Post #20 - January 6th, 2011, 1:34 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:
    Darren72 wrote:I will go one step further to comment I never associated the name Leopold with Belgium. My frame of reference is more obtuse: a cat in a Russian cartoon.
    Regards,


    First thing I thought if was the orchestra conductor in the Buggs Bunny cartoons - go figure.
  • Post #21 - January 6th, 2011, 1:38 pm
    Post #21 - January 6th, 2011, 1:38 pm Post #21 - January 6th, 2011, 1:38 pm
    Darren72 wrote:Khaopaat, no one said they were offended. No need to start putting words into people's mouths. The SP (second poster - do I get credit for making that up?) simply said that the name reminded him of something very bad. I'm pretty sure a lot of people know nothing about this demonic individual. Perhaps the owners of the restaurant knew nothing either.

    Maybe I do not understand the definition of offended, but when someone says they feel gross because of a restaurant's name, my admittedly limited linguistics education tells me that it qualifies.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #22 - January 6th, 2011, 3:44 pm
    Post #22 - January 6th, 2011, 3:44 pm Post #22 - January 6th, 2011, 3:44 pm
    I seriously doubt that the owners meant to stir the pot with this name, but they probably should have thought a bit more about it.

    I think that same thing every time I see a mention of Prairie Fire, but apparently it's just me.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #23 - January 6th, 2011, 4:51 pm
    Post #23 - January 6th, 2011, 4:51 pm Post #23 - January 6th, 2011, 4:51 pm
    ryanwc wrote:A restaurant deserves to be evaluated on many scales, and perhaps the factor I'm going to mention won't be high on most other readers' lists.

    But I have to tell you just how gross I feel that someone would name a place offering Belgian cuisine for Leopold, the king who pioneered so many of the atrocities that came to define evil in the 20th century. That scene at the beginning of Blood Diamonds where the 8 year old girl has her arm hacked off - that's what I think of when I think of Leopold of Belgium, not rabbit and poutine; that's Leopold's legacy to our world.

    Perhaps in 80 years, when yesterday's horrors are forgotten, someone will think of a great name for a German restaurant ...

    I recognize the scornful internet rule - that disputes inevitably lead to calling someone a Nazi. I'm not calling anyone a Nazi, and I'm sure this restaurant was named with the best and most innocent of intentions by nice people who just want to cook food. But when Leopold's name is invoked, it is appropriate to mention Hitler in the next breath. I just wish a little more thought had been put into this. Someone should have asked "Who was Leopold, and what is he primarily known for?" A simple wiki search would have been sufficient to prevent this sad choice.

    Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the restaurant was named after this particular Leopald?
  • Post #24 - January 6th, 2011, 4:53 pm
    Post #24 - January 6th, 2011, 4:53 pm Post #24 - January 6th, 2011, 4:53 pm
    Drover wrote:Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the restaurant was named after this particular Leopald?

    jenn37 wrote:Let me clarify any misunderstanding. I work with Leopold, when the owners & chef went over to Belgium to conduct research, they saw the name Leopold everywhere. They stayed in the Hotel Leopold in Antwerp. Like the previous poster wrote, it's a very popular name, a wiki search brings up the Leopold Quarter for example. Nothing more than it's a popular name throughout Belgium, nothing sinister and no offense meant!
    -Mary
  • Post #25 - January 6th, 2011, 5:00 pm
    Post #25 - January 6th, 2011, 5:00 pm Post #25 - January 6th, 2011, 5:00 pm
    I'm just glad we've forgiven King George for plundering our seas, ravaging our Coasts, burning our towns, and destroying the lives of our people. He sells good sausages out of a shop on Lawrence Ave now.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #26 - January 6th, 2011, 5:29 pm
    Post #26 - January 6th, 2011, 5:29 pm Post #26 - January 6th, 2011, 5:29 pm
    Do you have any evidence -- ANY WHATSOEVER? -- that the deli was named after this particular Garge? What's your evidence, man?
  • Post #27 - January 6th, 2011, 5:32 pm
    Post #27 - January 6th, 2011, 5:32 pm Post #27 - January 6th, 2011, 5:32 pm
    We may be on the way to setting a record: 28 posts out of 32 (so far) have nothing to do with the food/menu.

    :roll:
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #28 - January 6th, 2011, 5:32 pm
    Post #28 - January 6th, 2011, 5:32 pm Post #28 - January 6th, 2011, 5:32 pm
    Folks, this is off the wall even by LTHForum standards. Back to matters culinary please.

    Gary for the moderators
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #29 - January 6th, 2011, 5:40 pm
    Post #29 - January 6th, 2011, 5:40 pm Post #29 - January 6th, 2011, 5:40 pm
    Apparently this thread was so interesting, it was part of a weekly email I receieved from The Reader's Food and Drink Section linking this LTH thread to a bit about Leopold.

    If I was at all computer savvy, I'd know how to attach a link, but I'm not. :?
    Models Eat too!!!
    www.bellaventresca.com
  • Post #30 - January 6th, 2011, 10:36 pm
    Post #30 - January 6th, 2011, 10:36 pm Post #30 - January 6th, 2011, 10:36 pm
    Drover wrote:Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the restaurant was named after this particular Leopald?


    Look, when you name your Belgian restaurant Leopold, you get credit for the prominent genocidal maniac from Belgium, not the naturalist from Wisconsin nor the cipher of a king who fathered said maniac and made no other impression on history whatsoever. Even if you didn't know.

    I'm not offended by the name. I said it was gross and disgusting. It is. The rape of the Congo happened in my grandparents' lifetime. It's not ancient history. 10 million died. There is just no question that the name is gross. If you named your Chicago-style pizzeria in Rio de Janeiro Gacy's for your friend Ellen Gacy, the name would still be gross. Not offensive if you meant no offense by it. But gross nonetheless - through an unhappy accident.

    The posts making a joke out of the rape of the Congo and suggesting maybe the owners meant to name their Belgian restaurant for the fictional Mr. Bloom from Dublin, or that a restaurant whose name relates to a genocidal maniac is on a par with browntrout and enye - those are offensive. I wouldn't even have returned to the subject if it weren't for them. I was quite respectful and mindful of the likelihood that the owners were simply naive in my earlier post; it should not have provoked the comments it did.

    But whatever. I wish the owners well. If I were them and I stumbled into this predicament, I'd probably press control-alt-delete and proclaim that it was a Walloon or Flemish restaurant or something, to avoid being an unintentional monument to the only Belgian Leopold that matters. Even if only 1 in a 100 made the connection. But as I said, restaurants deserve to be judged for many things, and this is only one of them. I hope some people will keep this in mind and spare a thought for the victims of Leopold while eating there for other reasons.

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