When Jed Davis, Rob Downey and Paul Sayler decided to open a gastropub in the old McDonald’s building on Burlington’s Bank Street, they had a winning concept in mind — localvore burgers, cheese, charcuterie and craft-brewed beer. They just didn’t know what to call it.
Davis decided a naming contest was in order, and he asked Seven Days to handle the details. “I thought we’d get 50 or 100 [entries],” he recalls.
To Davis’ surprise, our readers submitted 798 potential monikers, ranging from silly suggestions to thought-provoking meditations on sustainable agriculture. “We each looked at them and came up with a short list,” Davis says.
Some of the goofier names tickled the entrepreneurs’ fancies — Davis cites Burlington Bovine Beauties With Beer; Burp & Slurp; Coolio-Bon-Boolio and Fat Fatty’s McFatFats in particular. But they decided to opt for something a little more demure.
The finalists included Harvest Public House, The Catamount’s Den and the oft-suggested Old McDonald’s. “We wanted to be sensitive, because there was already some local use of words like Harvest and Catamount,” Davis says. “We were really liking Catamount.”
But when they went back to the list, Davis continues, another possibility “jumped off the page.” The final selection: Farmhouse Tap & Grill. It’s now scheduled to open in May or June. And the winner? Deana Novembrino of Williston, who will get a $150 gift certificate to the restaurant.
Davis notes that the name is appropriate “because we want to build a menu based on what we can get locally, rather than build a menu and season it with local products.” Besides using local meat and dairy, he says, the eatery will bake bread in-house daily and serve preserves such as dilly beans and pickled beets to keep local veggies on the menu year round.
His final thought: “It’s hard to name a business. That’s what we learned.”