Restaurant owners have access to a rich and varied language when they choose the names of their establishments; they can also delve in to the languages of other cultures for inspiration. In fits of creativity, new words are even invented to give individuality to a fledgling business. So it's always surprising when two unrelated restaurants in the same city wind up with almost identical names -- and it can often be confusing, too. When you're making plans with friends via text messages or attempting to map a location using GPS or Siri, like-named eateries can steer you to another suburb or put you in the parking lot of an old-school Italian joint instead of the trendy New American small-plates place you were hoping for. Here are five pairs of like-named restaurants in the metro area that could easily cause confusion -- and our suggestion for which ones should be required to grab a thesaurus to choose a replacement moniker.
5) Julia Blackbird's New Mexican Cafe and Blackbird The only thing these two restaurants have in common is the word "blackbird." Julia Blackbird's is the original; it was one of the pioneers of the West Highland scene back in 2000. Despite the waning popularity of Southwestern cuisine in general, this bright and colorful cafe has managed to eke out a niche on the ever-changing strip of West 32nd Ave. Blackbird is the new kid: so new, in fact, that it hasn't even served its first dinner in its West Washington Park location that previously held Handle Bar. The Tavern to Table restaurant group that also operates Atticus and Boone's expects this Blackbird to take wing next month.
The winner: Julia Blackbird's. The new Blackbird isn't so much confusing to diners as it is a little redundant. How many restaurants containing this bird word does Denver need? Given the Harper Lee connection with sister restaurant Atticus, we suggest Finch or Mockingbird as aviary alternatives.
4) 3 Sons Italian Restaurant and 3 Sons BBQ The original 3 Sons Italian restaurant served old-school Italian on Denver's Northside (in a spot that's now home to Ernie's Bar & Pizza) for decades before being purchased by the Scarafiotti family in 2004 and moved to its current Arvada location in 2009. Much newer to the scene, 3 Sons BBQ opened just over a year ago in the restaurant-starved Whittier neighborhood.
The winner: 3 Sons Italian, but only by a noodle's breadth, and only because of the longevity of the red-sauce joint. Once you get past the name, there's no confusion; the newer 3 Brothers perfumes the block with wood smoke and serves up legit versions of Carolina-style pulled pork and a mean helping of collard greens kicked up with brisket burnt ends. If you're meeting friends, just be sure to indicate which kind of red sauce you're craving before you set your GPS.
3) Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria and Marco's Pizza When Mark Dym opened Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria in the Ballpark neighborhood more than six years ago, there wasn't much competition on the block, and good Neapolitan pizza in general was was hard to come by in Denver; there's now a second location in Centennial that opened in 2011. But in the meantime, Ohio pizza chain Marco's moved into the metro area. "Our product is so completely different," Dym said at the time. "They're a delivery service."
The winner: Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza. Delivery pizza chains are as common as Peyton Manning touchdown passes. A well-made, tangy, blistered, Neapolitan pie takes precedence.
Keep reading for more like-named establishments.
2) Prost Brewing and Prost Fine Beer and Sausages Prost is one of the most common words spoken in the German language, at least when in the vicinity of German beer. Prost Brewing, a specialist in German lagers, opened in LoHi in 2012, but Prost Fine Beer and Sausages had already been pouring beers since 2010 -- in Frisco. There wasn't much confusion between the two Colorado establishments until the owners of the Frisco Prost decided to open a second sausage and beer bar less than two miles west of Prost Brewing. Since they're almost within foam-sloshing distance of one another and since nobody is likely to say "Let's go to Prost Fine Beers and Sausages," you'll need to take care when making plans to head to either of these lager lairs.
The winner: We'll call it a tie and simply suggest visiting both, toasting "Prost!" at each location.
1) My Brother's Bar and Brothers Bar & Grill My Brother's Bar is one of the oldest continuously operated bars in town. It closes on Sundays despite its proximity to Sports Authority Field, it plays classical music and it doesn't have a single TV in the joint. Brothers Bar & Grill may have over forty years of experience serving beers in Wisconsin, but it has only been in Denver for four years...and immediately fueled a spat with My Brother's. The outcome? Brothers changed the name of the Ballpark neighborhood location to It's Brothers. (A second outlet will be opening soon in Stapleton/Northfield.)
The winner: My Brother's Bar. It's a unique slice of Denver history that captures the spirit of the Beat movement; Neal Cassady hoisted beers here. LoDo and Ballpark are filled with sports bars where you can cheer on your favorite team, but there's only one My Brother's Bar.
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