Locally Grown

Arrrg, It’s Restaurant Week!

(witty caption)

Here we are as the true culinary event of the year, the Iowa State Fair, is drawing nearer to a close, poised at the starting line of the “dining treasure hunt” called Restaurant Week.  When the starting pistol fires today at about 11 a.m. diners, ‘foodies’, bargain hunters, and pleasure seekers of the foodular kind will ‘get down on it.’ with it being…food finding.  Hmmm…. Yes, you hungry thrill seekers will have the opportunity to search out new and exciting places to get yo food-freak on, and with special menus and special fixed prices.  I will spare you all of the details as you can probably find them on the  DSM Register web site or just look here.  The event is put on by DSM Magazine, the Business Record (Hi Todd), and 39 local restaurants who would love to see some new happy faces walking through their doors (coming or going, they want you smiling).

What we here at Locally Grown have for you today are a few special dining tips for those of you venturing forth into this taste bud adventure with reckless abandon.  As you may know, I have on occasion vented the customer complaints (about the customer)  heard while hanging out with local Restaurant Professionals.  Here are some tips to keep you from being the target of an A-hole rant  or worse, cause some hurt feelings on both sides.

Locally Grown’s Special Guide to Prefered Restaurant Week Behavior

  • Obey The Menu – This is a fixed price, fixed menu event designed to give you an affordable means to experience a multi-course meal.  Order from the Restaurant Week menu and enjoy the choices that have been specially selected.  These are items that the owners and chefs want you to try.  DO NOT pull some crap like “if I don’t want desert can I get the steak for my main entree?” If the steak is not an option you should  automatically assume that you can’t order the steak in conjunction with RW.  If you would like to order from the regular menu, then do just that.  Restaurant Week doesn’t give you license to order anything in your restaurant of choice for the RW price.  Seriously.
  • Be Understanding – in many restaurants, a sudden spike in business can cause either the kitchen to get a little behind or the speed of service to lag a little (especially if your server is running to the kitchen asking about the possibility of substitutions because guests aren’t following Rule #1).  Yes, that is one reason for the streamlined menu…to keep the flow going, but sometimes stuff happens.
  • Don’t be a F!@king Drama Queen – This isn’t only for our special week together, abide by it always.  Don’t tell your server that they ruined your night (unless they slashed your tires or stole your man) because of some small dining mishap.  Don’t start freaking out because you aren’t being allowed to make your own menu.  Come in to your restaurant of choice with a smile, and enjoy yourself.  If you have really just had the worst dining experience of your life, talk to someone in charge about it, and do it discreetly.
  • Compliments – If you are impressed with your experience, tell them.  We like positive feedback.  A few kind words go a long way.
  • Don’t Forget To Tip – according to legend, there are some people who come out for RW who may not normally dine out in a “sit down” environment.  For those of you who aren’t sure of what or how to tip, use this rule:  Tip your server at least 20% during RW. Don’t be a “Mr. Pink.”

"I don't tip just because society says I have to!" Then do it because I say you have to! t

  • Enjoy Yourselves – Restaurant Week (I hear) was designed to be enjoyed, so do just that.

So there you have it, a few easy tips to follow that should help make the next week more enjoyable for diners and restaurant staff alike.

See you on the road to Prix Fixe glory…

The Cook


Restaurant Weak Is Coming
2010/07/08, 12:53 am
Filed under: Local Food Commentary | Tags: ,

(Whistling sounds)

*tumbleweeds blow by*

Uh…*clears throat* ummmm…. *thunk thunk thunk*

“Is this thing on?”

Oh…ok. it’s working.

So I was trolling the Mighty And Infallible Information Super-duper Highway for information regarding Our Fair City’s foodular news and happenings and TO NO AVAIL. A trusted source dropped the dime on the Datebook Diner. Seems she has been talking about Star Bar again (not that there is anything wrong with that). I could not find the article.

Well, WTF ever, here is some news and other (censored) stuff.

This weekend we (you) will see the debut of the new Cafe Di Scala Summer Menu, designed and executed by myself and Nicest motherflippin Chef in DMI, The Phil Shires. I think you will motherflippin uh…flip when you stick it in your face.

More news…

I will still be NOT reporting on that one thing.



Here is the deal with Restaurant Week from (maybe) the restaurant’s standpoint:

“Thank you for taking advantage of the special savings and sampling a little (or big) taste of what we have cooking. We hope that the small percentage of you that aren’t doing this as an excuse to get out of the house become valued return customers.”

This is a “mash-up” of opinionz that have been spouted towards mine ears the past few years this event has been held, and as a restaurant employee/employer I hold this opinionz to be true and self-evident.

We love the fact that people get out of the house for a little sump-sumpin different. There are some sacrifices made to make these specials happen. There are, IMHO and experience, not enough diners who take it seriously. I have seen the event, which in other cities is a REALLY BIG DEAL involving chef demos and cooking classes, do practically nothing for restaurateurs. Most people treat it as they would the Sunday Newspaper coupon flier for TGI Fridays or freaking Applebees.

What I am saying here is that THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE EDUCATION AND INTERACTIVENESS INVOLVED IN THIS EVENT. People will skirt the edges of good local cuisine as long as they are allowed. Why on Earth would they go take a chance on an actual local spot if they are guaranteed the super-consistancy of chain filth? (There are even chain filth-dealers participating) Why would you go to Sbrocco, Azalea, Centro, Proof, or any other participating legitimate locally owned business at a discounted price…if you weren’t already inclined to do so on a special night…and be a return customer?

Motherflippin Discuss.

The Cook.

BTW… I DO support the event. It needs a little *Ooomph+