DISH: Sharper Image…Behind the branding of some of Philly’s fave spots

When you’re dining out, first impressions aren’t everything: If your food’s undercooked or the service is subpar, flashy signage alone won’t have you coming back for seconds. But bars, cafés and restaurants rely on their logos — from the traditional to the subversive and everything in between — to brand themselves and give guests a visual reminder of why they should keep coming back. With this in mind, we talked to restaurant owners throughout the city to trace the origins of some of Philly’s most memorable gastroimagery.

Remedy Tea Bar

Designed by Tierney Communications, Remedy’s logo (1628 Sansom St., 215-557-6688, remedytea.com) is a charmer — a bright green teapot poking out of a circle, with stars escaping the spout like steam and the words “Serving the Hot & the Cool” ringing the outside. “It’s meant to Americanize the concept of tea and make it cool,” says co-owner Kristen Kammerer, who, along with sister Courtney, opened the space in 2005, when there were barely any tea bars around. “We wanted to make sure when people saw the logo that it was a modern tea place, because that’s what we’re about.”

Sidecar Bar & Grille

Adam Ritter says choosing the name for his G-Ho bar (2201 Christian St., 215-732-3429, thesidecarbar.com) was easy. “We wanted to piggyback the idea of the Sidecar the drink, as well as the form of transportation,” says the co-owner, who runs the bar with his wife, Jen. A longtime fan of the scooter (Jen bought him an imported 1960s Italian sidecar as a wedding present), Ritter collaborated with artist Glenn Reed (his artwork can be found in scooter shops) to create the stylish logo as a complement to the bar’s interior, which boasts a slightly industrial retro look. “I was really looking for a very classic, clean representation,” says Ritter. “I wanted something real and right in the middle — right-home-from-the-war Americana.”

Swallow

Yes — for all the reasons you think — Jason and Cindy Caminos named their Northern Liberties restaurant Swallow (Liberties Walk, 1030 N. American St., 215-238-1399). Originally wanting to name the space something reflective of the area’s history as a pre-war red light district, the pair stumbled upon the name after noticing swallow tattoos on two people. They began toying with the word, not initially connecting it to the, ehrm, bodily act. But then it clicked — and the rest is history. “It’s the bird, the final act with the food and the ever-so-subtle sexual reference,” says Jason. Old-school flash tattoo art, the logo’s light blue bird features a hint of a smile — a lighthearted counterpoint to the lush reds and purples of the interior. Sexy.

Pub on Passyunk East (P.O.P.E.)

Designed by Paul Phillips, a former P.O.P.E. cook, the logo of this South Philly bar (1501 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-755-5125) is a logical product of its acronym, says owner Dennis Hewlett. Well, at least the mitre is. The bad-ass bat wings were an addition by Phillips to make it look “more interesting.” So what about that bunny with the bottle on top of il papa’s ceremonial headdress? “That’s a mystery,” says Hewlett.

Xochitl

Chef/co-owner Dionicio Jimenez didn’t name his Headhouse Square restaurant/lounge (408 S. Second St., 215-238-7280, xochitlphilly.com) to torture monolingual foodies. Actually, Xochitl (pronounced “so-cheet”) means “flower” in Nahuatl, an Aztec-derived indigenous tongue spoken by Jimenez, a native of Puebla, Mexico. But they still knew people would mess the thing up. That’s why the pronunciation, in a smaller font, appears under the restaurant’s name on their ribbony logo. “The phonetic pronunciation is a friendly reminder of the closest pronunciation of the word,” explains manager Jill Nonemacher.

The Happy Rooster

When Rose Parrotta bought the Happy Rooster (118 S. 16th St., 215-963-9311, thehappyrooster.com) almost nine years ago, she restored the 40-year-old bistro’s original brass, dark wood and leather interior. She also revamped the logo, changing, what she says, was a much more French look to something Americana-inspired, complete with a bantam bird painted by friend Mary Dewitt (her other work graces the walls inside) and Jasper Johns-esque stamp lettering. But don’t think Parrotta was born with a fowl fixation. It was much more serendipitous: When she took over the eatery, says Parrotta, it just so happened that Dewitt was deep into a rooster-painting phase that rubbed off. “I guess I inherited the rooster obsession,” she laughs.

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