Coming up with the perfect name for a restaurant is only the first part of the process. To ensure your restaurant name belongs to you, you'll need to verify the name is available to use and then register it as your own if it is. Registering your restaurant's name is not a difficult process and offers the advantage of identifying you as the owner of the business, as well as giving you the opportunity to limit the use of your restaurant's name.
Write several choices for a restaurant name. Be as original as possible. When you do a name search to determine if the name of your restaurant is in use, you want to have other name options you can use. Names like Bistro are likely to be taken. This doesn't mean you can't use the name, as long as it isn't a trademark, but you will want to add something to the name to distinguish it from others. This might be the addition of your name or the area in which your restaurant is located.
Verify the name you've chosen isn't a trademark by visiting the United States Trademark website and running a search for the name and any marks that may be associated with the name. This is essential before naming your business. If you try to name your business the same as a registered trademark name, you run the risk of getting a cease and desist order.
Visit the appropriate website for business name registration for your state (see Resources). This varies by state. In some states it is the Secretary of State website and in others it is the county clerk's office of your region. It also varies depending upon whether you want to form a "doing business as" or a Limited Liability. Search for your name again using your state's business name search function.
Fill out the online form for registering your L.L.C. or your DBA. Since the rules vary by state, these forms give you instructions regarding your particular state laws and fees for registering your business name. Submit the forms with the appropriate fee, which varies by state.