Recently, while I was out reviewing a new restaurant for my local magazine with a friend, we began to award the restaurant points for its level of hipster-dom. It started innocently enough, when we noticed the music playing as we took our seats at a table made of butcher block (+1). It was The Postal Service (+1), followed by MGMT (+1), followed by Imagine Dragons (-2).
We ordered coffee, a custom roast (+2) from a local purveyor (+1) which came on a black cutting board in a French Press accompanied by sugar, stevia, cream, and a dish of shaved dark chocolate (+5).
The menu was grouped into “things” and “bigger things.” At the top of the “things” menu was bacon fat popcorn (+2). I glanced up from the menu and looked around, taking in the ceiling made of pallets (+2) and exposed rock wall (+1).
“It’s pretty hipster in here, isn’t it?” I asked my friend. She looked down at our appetizer, I mean, “thing,” served in small silver dish on a cutting board, accompanied by cayenne syrup and a black and white striped kitchen towel.
“I’d say so,” she said.
Everything on the menu was sourced from a local farm, listed by name (+3) with your choice of eggs from ducks or chickens with personal names attached (+5). Your Spam and Eggs can be served with Mabel the duck’s eggs, or, if you prefer, Catherine the chicken’s. Everything is garnished with kale, though it’s never listed on the menu.
If you’re drinking milk, or putting it in your coffee, you’ll be happy to know that your cow has a name as well (choose between several depending on fat content). If you’re not into cows (named or otherwise) you can opt for soy, hemp, coconut, rice, almond, cashew, or the milk of a named goat (+5).
In this restaurant, you have to ask for water, because they are very green (+3). I discovered this by reading the small print at the bottom of the menu, after sorting through entree options with ingredients like rhubarb jam (+1), kumquat aioli (+2), black walnut butter (+2), smoked salt (+2) and candied bacon (+3). Before choosing a ground lamb burger, I googled mache (+2), which is also known as lamb’s lettuce and is very similar to spinach in every way (with the possible exception of familiarity to the average restaurant-goer). You might remember the NPR story about it from 2003 (+3).
When we got our meals, I worried that we hadn’t ordered anything containing bacon (a blank space on our hipster bingo card for sure). However, it turned out that the fish was bedded down with bacon-fried rice (+1). A close call indeed.
The restaurant’s logo was everywhere, from the glasses and mugs to the reclaimed boards they used to deliver the check (+2). I began to wonder what merchandise was available for purchase. T-shirts? Aprons? Growlers?
As I wandered to the bathroom (where the trough-like sink was in the shape of a beer bottle, +2), I noticed a locked cabinet filled with various types of whiskey (+5). Near the cabinet was a sign advertising the pint club (+3), which allows a patron to store a personal pint glass in a series of reclaimed wood shelves (which is, hopefully, washed between uses).
It should also be noted that this restaurant serves brunch, the most hipster of all meals (+2). At brunch, you can order bottomless mimosas, which will arrive at your table in pitchers.
Still, as I noted the waiter flipping his hair (+1), and the patron at the bar with a man bun (+2), I knew something was missing from my hipster identification rubric, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. We were close: the restaurant was named after a bird (+2), everything could be made gluten free, vegetarian or vegan (+3), the menus were printed on recycled paper and fastened to clipboards (+2). I was halfway to the car, walking past the patio (+1) with the string of Edison bulbs (+2) hanging over it, when it hit me. Sriracha had been completely snubbed (-5).
Total Hipster Scorecard Points: 70