See, the words silence, heart, and nest in conjunction can cause misunderstandings when placed together. Such as this. This photo of a young couple quarrelling is not what the owners of Silence-Heart-Nest restaurant in Fremont mean. But it is what comes up in stock photography under the terms.
  • auremar/Shutterstock
  • See, the words "silence," "heart," and "nest" in conjunction can cause misunderstandings when placed together. Such as this. This photo of a young couple quarrelling is not what the owners of Silence-Heart-Nest restaurant in Fremont mean. But it is what comes up in stock photography under the terms.

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In private, I have not been charitable in my comments while passing by the Fremont restaurant Silence-Heart-Nest. "Who the hell would name a restaurant Silence-Heart-Nest?" has been the spirit of my comments, which are followed by light remorse, because perhaps the restaurant has been named after the dying words of a small and unfortunate child or something.

In my defense, I will simply say that stringing together three nouns and calling them a restaurant is idiosyncratic at best.

However, I would like to point out a few things Silence-Heart-Nest has going for it.

First and foremost, the hearty vegetarian food seems to be widely liked, if not loved. Eat it: Silence-Heart-Nest is open today, regular hours: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Maybe I will see you there; I have never been, and clearly ought to go. I am told the servers wear saris.

Second, Paul Bobby Constant tells me that Karen Finneyfrock’s novel Starbird Murphy and the World Outside "is about a thinly veiled version of that restaurant. I enjoyed it." Sherman Alexie feels the book is "hilarious, exciting, and as painful as anybody’s teenage years. Read it, please."

Now back to the goofy name. The reason for it is the same reason the servers wear saris: Silence-Heart-Nest is "inspired by" the teachings of Sri Chinmoy, the web site says. "All of us who work here are students of meditation, and study with the Indian Spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy." Sri Chinmoy died in 2007, so presumably they now study his studies rather than with the man himself.

Silence-Heart-Nest is one of a network of Sri Chinmoy-inspired restaurants throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

And some of them have terrible names, too!

See, with Consciousness-Blossoms in Tampa and Lotus-Heart-Blossoms in Kingston, at least you might think that something is happening, as in blossoming, because "blossoms," if you ignore the dash, can be taken as a verb. If you are a literalist when it comes to punctuation, however, you must face the fact that you have been left again with nothing but a multiple-noun string.

The Oneness Fountain-Heart is in New York. Ecstasy's Heart-Garden is in Reykjavik. Ottowa is home to Perfection-Satisfaction-Promise (as in you promise these things will occur through the eating, or as in there is promise that these things might occur while you are eating?). I think my favorite is Victory's Banner in Chicago. It seems Chicagoan, muscular, yet still New Age. There's also My Rainbow-Dream in Canberra: such big talk for food. But maybe more goes on at these places, more than just eating, something more like communing with the universe and people in saris. I am open to that.

Even if I have to take with it a very strange love for dashes.