As you may know, I've been planning to open a restaurant. It's been a long road. You can read more about what I'm doing and why in this entry
. Back then, I was thinking of a bakery. That's now morphed into a restaurant.
The idea is not just to make money, but to try to make the world a better place while I'm at it. We'll be reaching out to homeless shelters, veterans groups, and disability services to send us job applicants. We'll use locally sourced and fair trade ingredients as much as we can. We'll compost our waste and, if we can get permission from the landlord, use the resulting soil to grow herbs in a roof garden.
We still need to develop the menu. We had some ideas, but a lot depended on knowing the crowd we were serving. Now that we have a location (pending final contract details, landlord approval, etc.) we can start working on that. For the most part, we'll be focusing on simple food. Hamburgers and comfort food and the like. But we're going to try to make it interesting. That's one of the things I need your advice about. I'll get to that in a bit.
But we're not just going to be a cafe/pub/bar. We're also going to be an art gallery. The decorations on the walls will be from local artists. There's an art school not far from us, so we'll take some pieces from students there. There's no shortage of artists who live in Brooklyn, so we'll reach out to them. We'll encourage our employees to contribute, too. And we might just find some ways for our customers to make some things, if only by drawing on the placemats. If you see something you like on the wall, you can buy it. If, after a week or two, no one buys a piece, we'll return it to the artist and put something else in its place.
We've got a lot to organize and decide. We're still in the early stages. But there are a couple of things I'd like your help with.
First of all, we need a name. We've been racking our brains, tossing names back and forth, but haven't settled on something we really like. I'd thought of "Tikkun" (as in "Tikkun Aulam," Hebrew for "fix the world"), but I'm told the area is too aggressively secular. The best I've got right now is "Fair's Fare." I tried to think of what we wanted to convey, and the word "fair" just kept coming up. Fair wages, fair treatment, reaching out to people to whom the world has been unfair, fair trade, etc. And, as it happens, the homophone "fare" means food. But I feel like there's a better name waiting out there. Suggestions would be appreciated.
The other thing is that I've backed a Kickstarter for an illustrated geek cookbook
. (Still ongoing, and heading for its first stretch goal! We're not far from unlocking a "Carbs Against Humanity" deck. Check it out!) It's from Kitchen Overlord
, which already has some pretty cool books and recipes. The recipes are all for interesting and unique fandom-inspired foods which are simple to make and require no special tools. I was already thinking of incorporating some of her recipes into our menu. I don't think the neighborhood will support full-on geek theme, but a few geek items on the menu would probably go over well.
The Kickstarter, though, gives me a rare opportunity. My reward includes a custom recipe from the book, TV show, or movie of my choice. Which means I need to choose one. I need help.
I want it to be something with broad and lasting appeal. Something that non-geeks might relate to.
We're located in Brooklyn. So if it takes place in a recognizable city, it needs to be New York. Robocop would feel terribly out of place, for example. On the other hand, just about everything New York takes place in Manhattan, which tends to overshadow the outer boros (as you can tell by the term "outer boros"). So it's better if anything New York based includes the wider city, at the least.
Of course, it would also be cool if it was something that didn't have a White male lead. Who wasn't a sex symbol or a stereotype. (She once did a cake of Wonder Woman's one-piece uniform. Which looked cool. But I couldn't help but think of edible panties...)
Also: She's already done recipes from a whole range of fandoms. Which isn't to say we can't go back to those places. But the idea is to create a new recipe, and the obvious choice may already have been done.
Oh, and I'd rather it not be from a fandom that I personally don't like. (Sorry, Captain Janeway.)
Some ideas I've had:
Ghostbusters (takes place in NYC, includes trips outside Manhattan, has broad appeal)
The Fifth Element (takes place in greater NYC, is fun and quirky)
Klingon cuisine (Star Trek DS9 included a Klingon restaurant. The food would definitely be unique and memorable, and Chris-Rachel can likely find a way to make it actually taste good.)
Star Wars (very broad appeal, plenty of planets to choose from, a new crop of movies due out soon)
Metroid (strong female lead character, a first in action gaming, and still exceptional)
Portal (reasonably popular, features a female lead. Of course, the only obvious food choices are a very specific cake which has been made by others or a baked potato)
Galaxy Quest (fun and quirky, with a variety of possible food inspirations)
Jules Verne (still popular after more than a century, quite possibly the founder of steampunk)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (I admit I've never seen it, but it's clearly got a lasting following and some unique possibilities)
Girl Genius (strong female lead, great sense of humor, some interesting food possibilities, and steampunk should go over well in the neighborhood I hope)
Wonder Woman (strong female lead, popular character... just have to find something that doesn't involve eating her clothing or body)
Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers is strong female superhero who is not a sidekick or a knockoff. I'm hoping she'll work her way into the Avengers movies one of these days. But not sure about food possibilities.)
The Avengers (Very popular geek franchise. Takes place in New York. We'll be seeing blockbusters from them for years to come.)
Superman (Metropolis is kind of New York. And Lois & Clark is dear to me.)
Batman (Gotham is another name for New York. And Batman is awesome.)
X-Men (takes place in New York state, has a wide variety of characters)
Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt is a highly skilled and intelligent Black superhero who does not have the word "Black" in his name and has the motto "Fair Play" on his costume. Unfortunately, very few people have heard of him. Also, I'm not sure about food possibilities. I'm not sure floating metal nannite spheres seem very edible. And I'm already planning to include the Kitchen Overlord recipe for Firefly Ice Moon in our menu rotation, so that fills our floating grey sphere quota.)
Any votes out of that? Other suggestions? Chris-Rachel has offered to make a poll for me on her website, but I'd like to narrow things down from this list before we do that. Also, I'd like your considered input.