What bleu could have been named

In Friday’s paper, I spelled out the marketing campaign behind bleu restaurant & lounge, the new eatery that replaces the former Sole Restaurant & Raw Bar in The Westin Memphis Beale Street, 221 S. Third St.

The concept of the new restaurant was shaped from the ground up by community input, from surveys to focus groups comprised of locals who dined out 50 times a month or more. That’s right, 5-0.

The name, “bleu” was overwhelming chosen, with two-thirds of surveyors selecting it among the eight options provided by the restaurant’s ownership, Senate Hospitality, and local marketing firm Red Rover Co. LLC. bleu touches on everything Memphis – the Grizzlies, the Tigers and the blues.

So what other names could have been adorning the building across from the FedExForum that connects to one of Memphis Grizzlies’ preferred hotels? Here’s the list of the other names that were tested, most of which didn’t make it into print:

  • Moniker – A nickname; implies the Cheers where-everybody-knows-your-name mentality; we know you by name when you walk through the door and we will deliver personalized service.
  • Cara – Italian for dear, beloved friend.
  • The Gin – as in a cotton gin reminiscent of Southern hospitality and nostalgia; also Gin, as in the beverage, to tie in with the “lounge” theme of the restaurant
  • Amuse – as in amuse-bouche, or a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. A big part of Chef Robert Cirillo’s service experience is surprising guests with an amuse.
  • Riff – a distinct variation in music, where a guitar player may go off and play a really fast, impromptu solo; something different and distinct.
  • Celebrities – because of the space’s tendency to attract stars before or after their performances at FedExForum.
  • Trou – a French twist on the word, “true.”