This post is more difficult for me to write than I had imagined it would be. But it has to be done.
Today we bid adieu to our dear friend olallie.
Olallie has been the name associated with my restaurant for well over a year. I registered the name with City Hall during the olallieberry season before last, shortly after discovering a neighbor's blackberry bush hanging over my future restaurant's backyard. Since that time, the name has been publicized frequently on this blog, on other food blogs, and in the print media, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Edible San Francisco and the local Noe Valley Voice.
While the name had its critics, I shall always remember the loyalty that olallie's fans have shown throughout this Name Game process. I heart you, my dear olallistas! Please accept my sincere apologies! Your emails and comments took me by surprise and truly touched my heart. I had no idea how much some of you liked the name.
I have been impressed by your fierce determination to convince me to keep the name olallie. I've made herculean efforts to use your persuasive arguments to reframe my own thinking. There was the existing buzz. The hassle of changing the name. The poetic, feminine sound of the name. The connection to local farms. All true. All are reasons why I chose the name in the first place. I was most impressed when, after suggesting that my restaurant's name should convey a sense of sharing the table with friends, one commenter mentioned that olallieberries, which grow in clusters, could be seen as a symbol of connection. You really had me with that one. I was nearly hooked.
But something just didn't sit right with me. I started this seemingly interminable Name Game for one simple reason. I had fallen out of love with olallie. I knew in my heart that I had to change the name. I am not the same person who selected the name olallie. The circumstances of my life have changed too much these past 6 months. I have changed. I see life differently now. I see my restaurant differently. My restaurant will not be the same as it would have been had I opened it as planned (the doors would have opened this month had I not halted construction in June). Although it's strange to admit, I know in my heart that all these changes have made me a better, happier man. I also know that these changes will result in a far better, more convivial restaurant.
As you will eventually learn, the choice to say goodbye to olallie was mine alone. It was not based on the results of yesterday's poll.
So, dear friends of olallie, I hope you will forgive me and will come to embrace the new name as warmly as you did olallie. After all, we are only talking about some little neighborhood restaurant's name. What's in a name, any way? What really matters is the complete package: the food, service, and ambience. (By the way, no, I won't be asking you to vote on menu items. I vow that after today you will never ever see a poll on this blog again).
Speaking of which, let's not forget our final poll. The Name Game isn't over yet! What on earth are we going to call this little neighborhood restaurant? Please vote and leave comments! And remember, bribes are not only accepted but encouraged.
My restaurant's new name will be announced Monday at 4pm Pacific Standard Time (12 midnight GMT).