The Arizona Desert Lamp

Election 2008: Battle for the Cellar

Posted in Campus, Culture by Connor Mendenhall on 3 December 2008

Excited to cast a ballot in a nugatory campuswide election between three insipid candidates? If so, you’re in luck—thanks to Arizona Student Unions, you won’t have to wait until student government elections this spring!

In a contest sure to appeal to lovers of local democracy and carbon-neutral organic quinoa, the restaurant formerly known as the “Cellar” is submitting its new name and logo to the will of the people. Formerly a purveyor of bacon cheeseburgers, breakfast burritos, and Oreo milkshakes, the restaurant’s menu has been “infused with more healthy options,” like “organic grass-fed burgers,” “bistro egg burritos,” and “hand spun milkshakes.” (The last because, as any local-foodie worth his salt knows, blood, sweat, toil, and tears are directly proportional to nutrition).

They’ve also added a smorgasbord of stuff white people like: “honey mustard grilled wild salmon, apricot chipotle glazed wild salmon, coconut curry shrimp, Thai red curry grilled chicken, blackened tilapia, prickly pear grilled chicken, turkey and veggie burgers, a grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich, quinoa and potato salads and boba teas.”

Bobo tea might be more appropriate, but I must admit that parts of the new menu are more appealing than the old greasy fare. And though I don’t care much about limiting my radish radix radius, it looks like the changes do give students more meal options, which I can get behind.

So what of the election? In the interest of an informed studentry, here’s a brief analysis of the name contenders:


Green Underground Eats:  With edgy typography, Cthulhic tendrils, and the hip use of “eats” as a noun, this candidate is the most radical departure from “Cellar Restaurant.” The term “underground” recalls not just the restaurant’s physical location, but a certain subversive chic. “Green,” of course, is a catch-all appendage for the environmentally conscious. A clear attempt both to convey a message of change and to appear relevant to young voters.

frescolg_horizFresco Honest Eats: A playful but wholesome font; a name and logo evoking the dappled play of summer sunshine across a jumping castle in the Italian countryside. The word “honest” carries a subtle but powerful implicit value judgement, leading us to wonder: how much do we really know about Green Underground Eats’ radical past? Here we again see “eats” employed as a noun, but recontextualized amid “fresco” and “honest,” the term takes on a folksy flair. Fresco is hardworking and energetic, plain-spoken and good-natured. In short, a hockey mom.


Cellar Bistro: The only candidate to retain a vestige of the old “Cellar Restaurant,” Cellar Bistro pays its respects to tradition, but offers a bold update to an old heritage. The word “restaurant” (from Fr. restaurer, lit. ‘restore to a former state’) was first used in Paris in 1765. The word “bistro” also originated in Paris, but not until the early 1920s. Here, “bistro” is a bridge between the rational scientific-innovative spirit of the Enlightenment and the world of the Modern—crucially, a period of the Modern after the indictment of these very values in the Great War. It is at once a call to return to the rudiments of our shared Western history and, especially as evidenced by its organic, primitive (yet humanist!) script, a repudiation of artificial ideology in favor of a more natural pragmatism.

Now go forth, dear readers, and vote! After all, if you don’t voice your preference for one of these three inspired identities, you can’t complain when our grand Democratic Process spits out a stupid one.