What's in a name? Plenty of ampersands these days

Denver is about to get several restaurants whose names each link two words. Partners Delores Tronco, Tony Maciag and Dana Rodriguez will open Work & Class at 2500 Larimer Street on January 29, right across the street from Troy Guard's new Los Chingones. And Guard has another new restaurant opening in February: Guard and Grace, a steakhouse at 1801 California Street. Chef/entrepreneur Frank Bonanno plans to open Salt & Grinder, at 2609 West 32nd Avenue before the end of winter; on promotional materials, he's calling it S&G for short.

That affected the plans of Jen Jasinski and Beth Gruitch, the partners behind Rioja, Bistro Vendôme and Euclid Hall, who are putting a fishhouse in Union Station. Initially they were going to call it S&G, but to avoid any confusion with Bonanno's new place, they moved the tagline up to become the name: Stoic & Genuine. See also: Denver's thirteen biggest culinary stories of 2013

"It's an attempt to say this fishhouse is not going to be tricky, not going to be trendy," explains restaurant consultant John Imbergamo, who's working with Gruitch and Jasinski on the restaurant, which will open along with the rest of the Union Station project in July.

But really, does the name matter that much? "There's way too much importance put on the name of a restaurant," Imbergamo insists. "Owners spend hours debating the difference between a plus sign and an ampersand. But as long as it's searchable on the web and relatively easy to pronounce, the name isn't that significant."

The food is, and there will be plenty of new things to taste in Denver in 2014 -- whether the restaurants that serves them have an "and" or an ampersand in their names.

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