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Restaurant Tattoos: A Beginners Guide

Restaurant Tattoos
Restaurant Tattoos

Thinking of getting some ink? Here’s some ideas to consider for your restaurant tattoo.

In most restaurants, tattoos are not only accepted they are pretty damn common, and many represent the industry itself. Maybe you already have a few industry tattoos and are itching for another, or perhaps you’re just starting out and fishing around for some ideas that speak to you. Whatever the cause, here is a list of some restaurant tattoo ideas to help get those creative juices flowing.

Tools of the Trade
A well thought out utensil tattoo can be classy, clean, and honestly, what represents your trade more than a tool you use daily? Some common items for this type of tattoo include:

Knives: This is probably one of the more common industry tattoos you will see, but only because a knife holds a lot of meaning to cooks passionate about their trade. It can also represent a milestone of climbing the ranks of a kitchen… and surviving.

Jigger: For bartenders, a jigger serves as an important tool for accuracy and may perfectly represent your love for craft cocktails… or your opinion on free pouring.

Wine key: This is one tool most servers feel naked without. Steal someone else’s wine-key and you’ve got (yet again) more drama on the floor.

In the Garden
The garden is a great place to inspire an amazing meal, and it can also provide some creative tattoo ideas. Here are some common restaurant tattoos with a botanical vibe:

Herbs: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme is not just a killer oldie… it’s also a list of essential herbs in the kitchen. A bundle of these tells the world you know how to stuff a chicken.

Veggies: carrots, asparagus, artichoke, really whatever you want in this category. Maybe a mirepoix combo, or something you love growing in your yard and use seasonally.

Fruit: This is another category where the sky’s the limit. For bartenders, maybe some citrus peels? Or perhaps you’re an olive oil aficionado, declare it with an olive branch full of olives!

A tattoo that represents a cuisine you are passionate about is a great way to represent your life in this industry. Here are some ways to express it:

Specific dishes: There may be a specific dish associated with a cuisine that has some significance in your life. Ramen? Pizza?

Calligraphy: Phrases associated to a certain cuisine, or even just a name of the region of a cuisine can express your passion in a meaningful way, and hopefully you won’t regret it 10 years later.

Animal: In New England you got your lobster, in the Pacific Northwest there’s salmon, in the south you got BBQ so there’s a lot of pork and beef going around. An animal is a great way to represent a cuisine you love.


These are just a few ideas of common restaurant tattoos, but there is a lot more to consider. Once you pick something that represents your love (or complicated relationship) to this industry, you should consider the style that best fits you. You should also shop around for different artists who specialize in what you are looking for – look over their books and play to their strengths. If you can get an artist excited about your idea, the odds of you getting a cool tattoo rise considerably.

Ashley McNally

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.

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