Toscanini's owner Gus Rancatore writes in to share some thoughts as his fellow Central Square establishment Pu Pu Hot Pot prepares to undergo a transformation, which will result in a different name and concept.
Eater reports that our neighbor Pu Pu Hot Pot is changing its name, ending many years of giggles.
Years ago I wandered into the new restaurant where a very happy owner Patty Chen was singing along to Mandarin karaoke from a television mounted close to the ceiling. First things being first, I asked "Why is the restaurant called Pu Pu Hot Pot?" They never served Mongolian-style hot pots, nor did they feature Polynesian drinks or food. "Pu pu hotpot is very good name," she said. I carefully explained that the term was off-putting to most Americans and if used at all referred to Polynesian restaurants with drinks that evoked the television show Hawaiian Eye. "No," Patty said, "This is great name."
Chinese restaurants often have entirely different names in Chinese. I think the old Royal East's Chinese name was "Spring flower." Patty's eyes widened: "You know about Chinese names?" She looked around the empty restaurant. "Chinese name is 'Number One Scholar Special Eating Place.'" "That," I said emphatically but unconvincingly, "Is a good name!" Number One Scholar was authentic and ironic and would work well in our neighborhood. But I did not convince anyone and Pu Pu lived for many years. Soon it will serve dumplings. It will never have served a hot pot.