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Name of Groans: The Distressingly Sexual Bracket

It’s day two of our quest to find America’s Most Truly Awful Restaurant Names

Brittany Holloway-Brown

Welcome back to the second day of Name of Groans, Eater’s weeklong celebration of and search for The Most Truly Awful Restaurant Names. If you missed it, yesterday we kicked things off with a deep dive into the world of puns, as assessed by my colleague Matt Buchanan. Some blood was spilled, some mistakes were (arguably) made, but in the end, one Truly Awful Restaurant Name prevailed: Thelonious Monkfish moves forward to Friday’s final showdown.

As before, I’m Hillary Dixler, your master of ceremonies and judge of the judges. Also as before, this is a bracket-style showdown, with a single judge — today’s judge is editor at large Helen Rosner — deciding the fate of the eight restaurant names in the category. There are two rules: No ties, and no considering anything except the restaurant name as a restaurant name. No context: no websites, no social media, no menus, nothing. (For more details and our full methodology, see the bottom of this post.)

Now insert a terrible eating-out joke here, friends, because today we turn our attention to restaurant names that are sexual in nature, whether accidentally or on purpose. Is anyone else feeling hot? JK. Nobody is. The contenders, in alphabetical order here, and in random order in the bracket, are: the Hairy Lobster (Portland, Oregon), Kamasouptra (Portland and Freeport, Maine), Meat in a Box (Washington, D.C.), MunchBoxx (San Francisco), Pink Taco (Los Angeles), the Slow Bone (Dallas), Tacorgasmico (San Francisco), and Velvet Taco (Dallas, Houston, and Chicago).

Over to you, Helen Rosner!

Round 1


Pink Taco
vs.
The Slow Bone

Arguably none of the unique words in either of these restaurant names is inherently a sex word, like you could plausibly bring your 8-year-old to either of these restaurants without worrying that simply reading the restaurant’s name aloud would be enough to qualify you for a visit from Child Protective Services. And then when your kid turns 13, and understands what it meant that his dad took him to the Slow Bone for his 8th birthday, he will be just paralyzingly mortified! By that standard, Pink Taco is a significantly worse restaurant name. At least the Slow Bone promotes tender, thoughtful lovemaking, an important value to instill in today’s teens.

Winner: Pink Taco


Tacorgasmico
vs.
Kamasouptra

I keep staring at my screen in thrall to both of these. At one point I found myself slowly opening and closing my mouth in awe? Ultimately I am more open to the idea of an orgasmic taco than I am to the idea of a double-jointed bowl of soup with the rutting stamina of a god, which means Kamasouptra is the worse restaurant name, which means it is the winner.

Winner: Kamasouptra


Meat in a Box
vs.
Velvet Taco

Again with the tacos! Where are all the sausage restaurants with sassy phallic names? Much like Pink Taco, there is no other plausible implication for Velvet Taco than a reference to a certain intimate garden of delights. There’s almost something lovely about that, a tentative, if inadvertent, step on the path toward actual yonic respect? In contrast, “Meat in a Box” is a phrase uttered by a third-tier frat chad who snort-laughs at his own crass joke. Get it bro? Get it? Get it?

Winner: Meat in a Box


Munchboxx
vs.
The Hairy Lobster

Munchboxx here is taking the coward’s way out by only using two X’s at the end of its oh-so-edgy oral sex reference. C’mon, everyone knows the minimum number of X’s for comprehensive sexual innuendo is: three. If you’re gonna dive in, Munchboxx, dive in all the way. I’m not entirely sure how exactly “the Hairy Lobster” is a sex reference, but it’s clearly a sex reference. Isn’t it? It must be. It makes me so uncomfortable. It’s so leery. It leers.

Winner: The Hairy Lobster


Round 2


Pink Taco
vs.
Kamasouptra

Kamasouptra is, at the very least, a clever and functional pun. Pink Taco may as well be called “LOL Vaginas.”

Winner: Pink Taco


Meat in a Box
vs.
The Hairy Lobster

It’s really hard not to sing “Meat in a Box” to the tune of, well, the song whose title is the exact same phrase, but with a different word for “meat.” The box in the song is literally a box, though here, now, to me, and maybe also to you, having spent some time marinating in the most pruriently sexual restaurant names in our fair nation, the word “box” has a less family-friendly connotation. Meanwhile the Hairy Lobster continues to be so nonspecifically, almost ominously sexual that I can’t believe it’s real. Apparently in 2006 some scientists found a new type of lobster in a remote part of the Pacific ocean, which they describe as “hairy.” Instead of eyes, it had “a vestige of a membrane,” which is also nonspecifically, almost ominously sexual.

Winner: The Hairy Lobster


Round 3


Pink Taco
vs.
The Hairy Lobster

Pink Taco vs. The Hairy Lobster is a John Waters movie I would really, really like to watch. I still, despite tremendous effort, for the love of god, can’t figure out what sexual thing, specifically, the Hairy Lobster refers to, so despite the fact that I think it just barely edges out Pink Taco as a truly horrible restaurant name, on a technicality I don’t think I can put it forward to the final four.

Bracket Winner: Pink Taco


Hello! Hillary here again, with your post-bracket analysis and judgment of the judges. Today’s bracket opens with the Slow Bone, a contender I’d initially thought was strong enough to go all the way (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?): But no. “At least the Slow Bone promotes tender, thoughtful lovemaking,” says Rosner, and because losers are winners in the Name of Groans, Pink Taco continues on.

Although Tacorgasmico comes close to being an objectively terrible name, I agree with Rosner that Kamasouptra is, in fact, worse. Maybe somewhere there is a taco so good it will make you come… to the restaurant (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?), but there is no bowl so fulfilling as to make typing “Kamasouptra” into your GPS worth it.

And onto the next round, where, for the first time in history, the dicks win. Even though Velvet Taco is not too different a name from Pink Taco, Meat in a Box makes it (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?). This phrase is just not an appealing way to describe food. Neither is the Hairy Lobster, which beats out Munchboxx, which Rosner rightfully points out should’ve put a third “x” on the end and been done with it.

And so in Round 2 we're back to dealing with Pink Taco, which maybe shouldn't even still be in this contest, paired against one of the worst in the bracket, Kamasouptra. Even though the Slow Bone wasn't allowed to finish (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?), Pink Taco — as a direct reference to genitalia — is way worse than a bad pun about a sexy book.

Meat in a Box and the Hairy Lobster are pretty evenly matched when it comes to triggering the gag reflex (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?), though Rosner aptly points out that the latter is “ominously sexual,” and thus triumphant.

In the final showdown, Pink Taco wins on a technicality: Namely, that hairy lobsters just aren't obviously sexual enough. This is a fine and good assessment. But the way I see it, not only did Pink Taco maybe inappropriately advance instead of the Slow Bone, any winner would have got off easy (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) because it didn't have to face off against Roister, a restaurant not even in this competition but whose name — and look, I'm not a medical doctor — is surely a reference to a risk of unprotected sex? Anyway, Pink Taco advances to the final four. Be sure to tune in tomorrow, when Eater’s long-suffering managing editor Sonia Chopra is forced to face her worst punctuational fears: Our next bracket is Crimes Against Language.


ICYMI: Day 1: PUNS | Day 3: Crimes Against Language | Day 4: Just Really Bad Names | Day 5: The Winner!

Editor (and person you should yell at if you’re mad): Helen Rosner
Contributors: Matt Buchanan, Sonia Chopra, Hillary Dixler, Greg Morabito, Helen Rosner
Graphics: Brittany Holloway Brown
Copy editor: Emma Alpern
Special thanks to Erin DeJesus, Mary Hough, Kristine Hsu, Milly McGuinness, Adam Moussa, and all the Eater readers and fans who submitted their favorite so-bad-they’re-good restaurant names.

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