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  #51  
Old 04-12-2017, 11:56 AM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Running a restaurant successfully is a lot harder than most people think, and requires a very different skill set, with the result that most restaurants fail very quickly.
My father was a "small business agent" with the University of Wisconsin Extension (essentially, a consultant for small businessmen) for several decades. He worked with many people who had dreams of opening their own restaurants, and the vast majority of them had no clue of the level of work and number of skills required to be successful.

What would frequently happen with those few who *were* successful was that the owners (who were also working long hours as managers and / or chefs) would want to step back from the insane workload, not spend 80 hours a week at the restaurant, and enjoy the fruits of their labors. And, almost invariably, the people who they would delegate to weren't as good at their jobs as the owners were, quality and service at the restaurant would decline, loyal customers would stop coming, and the place would eventually go under.
  #52  
Old 04-12-2017, 12:07 PM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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There was a restaurant in my city that was actually kind of genius - you created your own sandwich. They had a checklist of all their breads & ingredients and you checked off what you wanted and they built the sandwich for you. It was very popular and people still miss it (I think the owners sold and the place went to crap.) Anyway, when I was 16 a similar place opened only they put everything on a big huge baked potato. It was called Spuds. Same concept only on a giant potato. It was actually pretty good but the place didn't last long.
  #53  
Old 04-12-2017, 01:44 PM
Mr. Miskatonic Mr. Miskatonic is offline
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In 2004 there was a lot of hype over a University City (part of Philadelphia) restaurant called "Cereality". Their gimmick was selling you breakfast cereal.

Mind you, they did have toppings of all sorts and could give you Soy Milk or hot oatmeal, but at the end of the day they were selling you a serving size portion of cold cereal with milk for $4. It had a shining time with the hipster crowd, then they got bored with the novelty and it closed.
  #54  
Old 04-12-2017, 01:54 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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There is a chain of "roller coaster" restaurants, where your food is delivered to your table through a large network of steel tracks. It all seems so unnecessary to me.
  #55  
Old 04-12-2017, 01:57 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Originally Posted by Soylent Juicy View Post
Anyway, when I was 16 a similar place opened only they put everything on a big huge baked potato. It was called Spuds. Same concept only on a giant potato. It was actually pretty good but the place didn't last long.
I remember that fad. The one on our fast food row (which was two miles long) lasted about two years, then was replaced with a Spaghetti Pot, which was supposed to be the franchise of the 1980s, and lasted about 1,980 minutes.
  #56  
Old 04-12-2017, 02:01 PM
Pleonast Pleonast is offline
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
There was a restaurant in Anchorage that was apparently trying to riff off of Kramer's "make-your-own-pizza" idea. It lasted about 30 seconds.
Yet here in Los Angeles, there's something like three or four chains of "make-your-own-pizza" restaurants. They're doing quite well.
  #57  
Old 04-12-2017, 02:32 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Yet here in Los Angeles, there's something like three or four chains of "make-your-own-pizza" restaurants. They're doing quite well.
There's a few of these in the Chicago area, and I noticed a couple in Phoenix. All rated highly and seem to be doing very well.
  #58  
Old 04-12-2017, 02:38 PM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
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Soon's I saw the date and "Gordon Ramsey" I knew it was Amy's Bakery. Their fifteen minutes of fame over, it closed over a year ago (and good riddance).

And maybe the seafood-in-a-bag isn't so weird. We have a chain called Angry Crab here (six locations in the metro area) that serves up a variety of crustaceans and molluscs (and even salmon) by the pound with a number of sauces and heats in a plastic bag.
  #59  
Old 04-12-2017, 02:43 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Originally Posted by Soylent Juicy View Post
There was a restaurant in my city that was actually kind of genius - you created your own sandwich. They had a checklist of all their breads & ingredients and you checked off what you wanted and they built the sandwich for you. It was very popular and people still miss it
That's exactly how Which Wich operates.
  #60  
Old 04-12-2017, 02:49 PM
psychobunny psychobunny is offline
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The restaurant in the OP sounds like one we have here Hot and Juicy. Nothing wrong with it. You choose your seafood, choose your seasoning, choose your spice level and get it by the pound. Certainly if I'm going for Maryland blue crab I would be disappointed in a place that didn't just dump a pile of crabs on the table and expect you to tear them apart with your hands.
  #61  
Old 04-12-2017, 04:32 PM
running coach running coach is offline
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Originally Posted by Soylent Juicy View Post
There was a restaurant in my city that was actually kind of genius - you created your own sandwich. They had a checklist of all their breads & ingredients and you checked off what you wanted and they built the sandwich for you. It was very popular and people still miss it (I think the owners sold and the place went to crap.) Anyway, when I was 16 a similar place opened only they put everything on a big huge baked potato. It was called Spuds. Same concept only on a giant potato. It was actually pretty good but the place didn't last long.
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
That's exactly how Which Wich operates.
There was a place in Palo Alto maybe 25(?) years ago called Dagwood's. Similar to a salad bar in that you handled all the innards to build your sandwich.. The only employee on the floor was the cashier. You paid by the ounce.

I was only in there once soon after it opened and it only lasted a few months.
  #62  
Old 04-12-2017, 04:44 PM
Rick Kitchen Rick Kitchen is offline
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Christina Tosi, one of the supposed judges on Master Chef USA, runs a "restaurant" called Milk Bar. She serves such delicacies as "cereal milk".
  #63  
Old 04-12-2017, 04:48 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Well it has worked for him, but I think it is a combo of consumer stupidity and ignorance.

Cheesecake Factory. Not that there's anything wrong with the food- except maybe the prices.

But the owner wanted to make his restaurants appear more in demand and exclusive than they really are.

So, customers are forced to wait extra time so there's always a line and a wait.


There's Rustic Burger where you more or less order your burger like Soylent Juicy & The Other Waldo Pepper describe. Great burgers, but I see many customers confused.

All you can eat buffets cant & dont work in San Francisco. There might be a couple (there's one Indian place that does it for lunch) but a common variant is the buffet where you pile your plate with whatever you want and pay for it by the ounce. weird.
  #64  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:00 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Yet here in Los Angeles, there's something like three or four chains of "make-your-own-pizza" restaurants. They're doing quite well.
I don't know if they still exist, but in LA there was a chain called "Mongolian BBQ" where you selected the oriental-style ingredients yourself, put them in a bowl, then gave the bowl to the chef, who stir-fried them on a large, circular grill. He circled the grill, turning the batch continuously and when he arrived back at the starting point, put the now-cooked ingredients back in the bowl and gave it to you. That, plus rice and a beverage, was the entire gimmick.

I liked it.
  #65  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:06 PM
Calatin Calatin is offline
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Tallywacker's in Dallas.

Concept: A male version of Hooters.

The owner (who from what I've heard had little restaurant experience and was a shady character) thought the gimmick was genius and a moneymaker.

The location: Just two blocks north of the "gayborhood."

The staff: A bunch of dancers from local gay clubs, most of whom had little, if any, experience as servers or busboys. There are countless stories of people who waited 30+ minutes to get a drink, and more often than you'd think, the drink would be wrong. One bartender had to ask what was in a Jack and Coke. One waiter, when a customer (my co-worker) complained that their vodka and soda was actually a vodka and Sprite, took a drink of the person's drink from the straw, said "Oh, maybe it's not mixed right" and used his finger to stir it, before setting it back on the table.

And did I mention all the staff was shirtless?

The food, allegedly, was overpriced and sub-par.

And, addressing the fact that "that corner" doesn't exist as a restaurant graveyard, I can tell you that the location where Tallywacker's was has been home to 5 different restaurants in as many years. A parking lot of 12 spots, and they choose to make it valet. If the parking lot is full or you don't want to pay to park, you have to park at least a block away and cross a busy main street.

I think the owner thought that he'd get a bunch of gay clientele, not realizing that they could eat a decent meal somewhere else, and go to the local bars to see those same waiters once they were done with their "day job." It became a spot for bachelorette parties, and had very few repeat customers.

It unceremoniously closed one morning, when the staff came to find a note on the door saying the owner decided to shut down. Nobody had any advance notice.

Seriously, read the reviews on Yelp. They're funny, if not disgusting.
  #66  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:11 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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There's a few of these in the Chicago area, and I noticed a couple in Phoenix. All rated highly and seem to be doing very well.
Actually, now that I re-read Chefguy's quote and notice the Kramer reference, no, it's not the same thing. I was thinking of "build your own" pizzas a la Blaze and MOD Pizza. (Which, when I think about it, really isn't all that much different than a standard pizza place since, really, you "roll your own" pizza at most joints here, too. Looking at menus for local places, the only "prebuilt" pizzas I see are cheese, maybe sausage, and a "special" with mushrooms, sausage, onions, and peppers (or a combination of three of those). Otherwise, it's select your ingredients.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 04-12-2017 at 05:12 PM.
  #67  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:13 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
I don't know if they still exist, but in LA there was a chain called "Mongolian BBQ" where you selected the oriental-style ingredients yourself, put them in a bowl, then gave the bowl to the chef, who stir-fried them on a large, circular grill. He circled the grill, turning the batch continuously and when he arrived back at the starting point, put the now-cooked ingredients back in the bowl and gave it to you. That, plus rice and a beverage, was the entire gimmick.

I liked it.
Yep, still around, but not as many.
  #68  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:20 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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More of a strange experience: I worked in a small town near where I lived and found a new/nouveau Thai/Asian place I liked. It had a spacey, purpose-built building - almost but not quite googie, if you know the style - and was stylish as all hell. Modest pricing, very good food.

Nearly all of the staff were fit younger men in black slacks and white shirts, with small headsets. For no reason I could ever tell; my waitress was usually one of the young women who are like waitresses everywhere.

Anyway, this was the place where I told them to keep making the chicken dish hotter, until my instruction to the (tiny woman) cook was "try to kill me." She had almost succeeded when the place shut down and became some chain thing.

I never have figured out the weird vibe or the guys in secret service dress.
  #69  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:23 PM
NDP NDP is offline
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
I don't know if they still exist, but in LA there was a chain called "Mongolian BBQ" where you selected the oriental-style ingredients yourself, put them in a bowl, then gave the bowl to the chef, who stir-fried them on a large, circular grill. He circled the grill, turning the batch continuously and when he arrived back at the starting point, put the now-cooked ingredients back in the bowl and gave it to you. That, plus rice and a beverage, was the entire gimmick.

I liked it.
Granted my experience is limited but that's what they've done at every Mongolian BBQ I've been to.
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  #70  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:26 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Every restaurant is built on "that one corner". The location isn't special; the business is. Running a restaurant successfully is a lot harder than most people think, and requires a very different skill set, with the result that most restaurants fail very quickly. So you get one place open up somewhere, and unsurprisingly, it fails. It's followed by another, and another, and unsurprisingly, they fail too. Eventually, if the place isn't torn down, you get management in who has the knack for business, and you get a restaurant that sticks around for decades. Until the owner retires, and then the cycle starts again.
I think you are mostly right. But not entirely. In San Jose there seems to be what would be a great location for a casual restaurant- easily visible from the 280. But eatery after eatery has failed there. Having been there, it seems to be a combo of freeway noise and a 'you can't get there from here" situation, it's actually rather difficult to get to the easily visible restaurant.

So, there can be a location which looks good, or even is good for a bit then traffic patterns or demographics shift and no restaurant will do well.

Look at the remnants of Rte 66. Once the freeway bypassed them, many failed.
  #71  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:30 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Granted my experience is limited but that's what they've done at every Mongolian BBQ I've been to.

To my mind that's the definition of Mongolian BBQ.

Last edited by silenus; 04-12-2017 at 05:31 PM.
  #72  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:33 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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So, there can be a location which looks good, or even is good for a bit then traffic patterns or demographics shift and no restaurant will do well.
It can be as subtle as expanding an intersection so that it's just a little more difficult to turn into the parking lot with perceived ease or safety.
  #73  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:36 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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It can be as subtle as expanding an intersection so that it's just a little more difficult to turn into the parking lot with perceived ease or safety.
Yes, in the SJ location I mentioned, you had to do a U turn to get there from the frwy- after driving past several intersections with NO U turns allowed. Then it was super easy to drive past the parking lot entrance- requiring two more U turns.
  #74  
Old 04-12-2017, 06:27 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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My father was a "small business agent" with the University of Wisconsin Extension (essentially, a consultant for small businessmen) for several decades. He worked with many people who had dreams of opening their own restaurants, and the vast majority of them had no clue of the level of work and number of skills required to be successful.
We're already seeing some of that around here with the food truck craze.
  #75  
Old 04-12-2017, 06:42 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Tallywacker's in Dallas.

Concept: A male version of Hooters.

The owner (who from what I've heard had little restaurant experience and was a shady character) thought the gimmick was genius and a moneymaker.

The location: Just two blocks north of the "gayborhood."

The staff: A bunch of dancers from local gay clubs, most of whom had little, if any, experience as servers or busboys. There are countless stories of people who waited 30+ minutes to get a drink, and more often than you'd think, the drink would be wrong. One bartender had to ask what was in a Jack and Coke. One waiter, when a customer (my co-worker) complained that their vodka and soda was actually a vodka and Sprite, took a drink of the person's drink from the straw, said "Oh, maybe it's not mixed right" and used his finger to stir it, before setting it back on the table.

And did I mention all the staff was shirtless?

The food, allegedly, was overpriced and sub-par.

And, addressing the fact that "that corner" doesn't exist as a restaurant graveyard, I can tell you that the location where Tallywacker's was has been home to 5 different restaurants in as many years. A parking lot of 12 spots, and they choose to make it valet. If the parking lot is full or you don't want to pay to park, you have to park at least a block away and cross a busy main street.

I think the owner thought that he'd get a bunch of gay clientele, not realizing that they could eat a decent meal somewhere else, and go to the local bars to see those same waiters once they were done with their "day job." It became a spot for bachelorette parties, and had very few repeat customers.

It unceremoniously closed one morning, when the staff came to find a note on the door saying the owner decided to shut down. Nobody had any advance notice.

Seriously, read the reviews on Yelp. They're funny, if not disgusting.
This story reminded me, oddly enough, of the volunteer-run coffee shop at a hospital where I used to work. We got 30 minutes for lunch, and it wouldn't be unusual to be handed your lunch as you were getting ready to return to work, even if it wasn't busy. And that's if you were lucky. I actually thought of this when I heard about the recent Pixar movie with the sloths working at the DMV. I found out that a woman at my church volunteered there, and she told me, "We promote a relaxed atmosphere." I told her, in no uncertain terms, that there is a difference between a relaxed atmosphere, and wasting people's time.

The only reason employees patronized it was because it had longer hours than the cafeteria, and they could pay for their meal there by swiping their badge, unlike the vending machines which did require cash and/or change.
  #76  
Old 04-12-2017, 07:36 PM
4d3fect 4d3fect is offline
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Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
We Want Plates. There's a particular item that made me somewhat queasy just looking at it.

I've eaten at a few restaurants like this. Usually it's runny food on tiny edgeless cutting boards but occasionally they get creative. The latest one just brought us our food on a tray. One tray for all the food. No plates. Drippy burgers. WHY
That's great for a few laughs, some really nauseating "ideas" though. Luckily (for me I mean) most of the offenders seem to be located across the pond.
  #77  
Old 04-12-2017, 08:03 PM
Johnny Q Johnny Q is offline
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Obligatory themesong
  #78  
Old 04-12-2017, 09:03 PM
Isamu Isamu is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
There's a few of these in the Chicago area, and I noticed a couple in Phoenix. All rated highly and seem to be doing very well.
Do customers put the ingredients on the pizza themselves or do they just select the ingredients and the staff put it on?
  #79  
Old 04-12-2017, 09:35 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
When we lived in Jacksonville, my inlaws loved taking visitors to this place where you cooked your own pancakes. They would drive over an hour each way for breakfast.

Apparently the place was really popular, but to this day, I don't get the appeal.
Holy Crap! I remember eating there once on a family trip to Florida. Thanks for the link.

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Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
Do customers put the ingredients on the pizza themselves or do they just select the ingredients and the staff put it on?
I imagine the customers put them on the pizza the pizza themselves; otherwise what would be the point? Every pizzeria that makes made-to-order pizza allows customers to select the ingredients then have the staff put it on.
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  #80  
Old 04-12-2017, 10:25 PM
Isamu Isamu is offline
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Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post

I imagine the customers put them on the pizza the pizza themselves; otherwise what would be the point? Every pizzeria that makes made-to-order pizza allows customers to select the ingredients then have the staff put it on.
Yeah, I guess so... but back when I was working customers always put too much on their own pizzas - especially cheeze, which caused excessive oil-runnoff and it was messy. I am heartened to think that people have become wiser.
  #81  
Old 04-13-2017, 10:00 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Do customers put the ingredients on the pizza themselves or do they just select the ingredients and the staff put it on?
You know, I've never been in one, so I don't know, but I don't think the customers dress it themselves. I think the schtick is more that they have a lot of toppings and sauces to choose from (moreso than the usual pizza place), and that you get to put whatever toppings you want on it based on the size of the pizza (that is, not a per-topping surcharge). Oh, and they all look to be wood-fired pizzas that are cooked up in 2-3 minutes. They do also have "prebuilt" pizzas, looking at the menus of Mod and Blaze.

ETA: Yeah, looking at the videos, it does seem to be the workers putting on the ingredients, not the customer.

Last edited by pulykamell; 04-13-2017 at 10:01 AM.
  #82  
Old 04-13-2017, 10:36 AM
enalzi enalzi is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
You know, I've never been in one, so I don't know, but I don't think the customers dress it themselves. I think the schtick is more that they have a lot of toppings and sauces to choose from (moreso than the usual pizza place), and that you get to put whatever toppings you want on it based on the size of the pizza (that is, not a per-topping surcharge). Oh, and they all look to be wood-fired pizzas that are cooked up in 2-3 minutes. They do also have "prebuilt" pizzas, looking at the menus of Mod and Blaze.

ETA: Yeah, looking at the videos, it does seem to be the workers putting on the ingredients, not the customer.
Yes, Blaze is basically Chipotle/Subway-style pizza, in that you go down the line and have them add toppings. It's actually pretty good. Never been to MOD.
  #83  
Old 04-13-2017, 11:36 AM
SmellMyWort SmellMyWort is offline
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Originally Posted by Calatin View Post
Tallywacker's in Dallas.

Concept: A male version of Hooters.

The owner (who from what I've heard had little restaurant experience and was a shady character) thought the gimmick was genius and a moneymaker.

The location: Just two blocks north of the "gayborhood."

The staff: A bunch of dancers from local gay clubs, most of whom had little, if any, experience as servers or busboys. There are countless stories of people who waited 30+ minutes to get a drink, and more often than you'd think, the drink would be wrong. One bartender had to ask what was in a Jack and Coke. One waiter, when a customer (my co-worker) complained that their vodka and soda was actually a vodka and Sprite, took a drink of the person's drink from the straw, said "Oh, maybe it's not mixed right" and used his finger to stir it, before setting it back on the table.

And did I mention all the staff was shirtless?

The food, allegedly, was overpriced and sub-par.

And, addressing the fact that "that corner" doesn't exist as a restaurant graveyard, I can tell you that the location where Tallywacker's was has been home to 5 different restaurants in as many years. A parking lot of 12 spots, and they choose to make it valet. If the parking lot is full or you don't want to pay to park, you have to park at least a block away and cross a busy main street.

I think the owner thought that he'd get a bunch of gay clientele, not realizing that they could eat a decent meal somewhere else, and go to the local bars to see those same waiters once they were done with their "day job." It became a spot for bachelorette parties, and had very few repeat customers.

It unceremoniously closed one morning, when the staff came to find a note on the door saying the owner decided to shut down. Nobody had any advance notice.

Seriously, read the reviews on Yelp. They're funny, if not disgusting.
Given the theme, at least he used his finger to stir it
  #84  
Old 04-13-2017, 12:21 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
I don't know if they still exist, but in LA there was a chain called "Mongolian BBQ" where you selected the oriental-style ingredients yourself, put them in a bowl, then gave the bowl to the chef, who stir-fried them on a large, circular grill. He circled the grill, turning the batch continuously and when he arrived back at the starting point, put the now-cooked ingredients back in the bowl and gave it to you. That, plus rice and a beverage, was the entire gimmick.
I ate at one of those once.

The food was pretty good. But I like the concept where you get a table, sit down and let the staff do all the work.
  #85  
Old 04-13-2017, 12:29 PM
running coach running coach is offline
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I ate at one of those once.

The food was pretty good. But I like the concept where you get a table, sit down and let the staff do all the work.
That'll never work.
  #86  
Old 04-13-2017, 12:38 PM
enalzi enalzi is offline
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Reminds me of That 70's Show, where Red's favorite restaurant had been replaced by a Bennigan's-esque restautrant featuring something called a "salad bar."

"My wife didn't get all dressed up for a special night out so that she could make her own salad. See, she could do that at home. For free."
  #87  
Old 04-13-2017, 12:58 PM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
I don't know if they still exist, but in LA there was a chain called "Mongolian BBQ" where you selected the oriental-style ingredients yourself, put them in a bowl, then gave the bowl to the chef, who stir-fried them on a large, circular grill.
We had one in my town (central Ontario) many years ago but it was called "Mongolian Grill". It didn't last very long.
  #88  
Old 04-13-2017, 01:01 PM
nightshadea nightshadea is offline
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we had a Mongolian bbq place in the mall food court here but the all you can eat places had them first

so in everyones mind if its not all you can eat why bother ?
  #89  
Old 04-13-2017, 01:03 PM
RikWriter RikWriter is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
OK, so jokes aside, how does a restaurant themed around Sophie's Choice actually work?
You have to choose the steak or the chicken and if you choose the chicken they shoot the cow in front of you?
  #90  
Old 04-13-2017, 01:35 PM
Azeotrope Azeotrope is offline
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There's a nearby restaurant that used to be a good mid-range place, and they did fairly steady business. It also had kind of a monopoly, because the only other restaurants in town are fast food, pizza, and a couple of sandwich places. They also did a lot of business with graduation parties, rehearsal dinners etc.

So of course, last year, the owner decided the only sensible thing to do was scrap the whole works and turn it into an overpriced chopped salad place instead. This was after the chopped salad fad had been over for years and hadn't really caught on around here anyway; folks around here picture "restaurant salad" as a few scraps of iceberg lettuce, a dome of calorie-licious fixings, and several ladlefulls of dressing.

Somehow it's still open but I never see any cars in the lot anymore.
  #91  
Old 04-13-2017, 02:28 PM
BeeGee BeeGee is offline
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There was a restaurant in Austin near UT called Big Bites. They made it a few years. They sold sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and wings. The gimmick was that the sandwiches were HUGE. The Phat Buffalo had chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, bacon, french fries, buffalo sauce and ranch dressing. the Phat Bastard had chicken tenders, gyro meat, mozzarella sticks, french fries, and tzasiki. Phat Sheriff cheesesteak, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, canadian bacon, onion rings, french fries, mayo & ketchup. They were open til 4am and delivered. They were aimed at the drunk/stoned/after the club crowd.
The food wasn't that great, but it was super-sized, fried, and cheap. But it turned the freshman 15 into the freshman 45 and eating with a bunch of loud drunks wears pretty thin.
  #92  
Old 04-13-2017, 02:37 PM
Shoeless Shoeless is offline
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Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian View Post
More of a strange experience: I worked in a small town near where I lived and found a new/nouveau Thai/Asian place I liked. It had a spacey, purpose-built building - almost but not quite googie, if you know the style - and was stylish as all hell. Modest pricing, very good food.

Nearly all of the staff were fit younger men in black slacks and white shirts, with small headsets. For no reason I could ever tell; my waitress was usually one of the young women who are like waitresses everywhere.

Anyway, this was the place where I told them to keep making the chicken dish hotter, until my instruction to the (tiny woman) cook was "try to kill me." She had almost succeeded when the place shut down and became some chain thing.

I never have figured out the weird vibe or the guys in secret service dress.
A guy I used to work with had the same problem. He never could get the local Chinese place to make his food spicy enough, even when he said to make it as hot as they could. It's like they were afraid they were going to hurt him.

So one day when he asked them to make it as hot as possible, he added "Nuclear." It was like the light bulb finally came on.

So they brought his lunch, and as he was eating it his nose was running and sweat was pouring down his forehead. The waitress timidly walked up and asked "Is it OK?" And he grinned and gave her a big thumbs-up.
  #93  
Old 04-14-2017, 02:12 PM
Ann Hedonia Ann Hedonia is offline
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I'm surpised that no one has mentioned "Dick's Last Resort" yet. It's a theme chain-restaurant where the actual theme/attraction is the obnoxious and rude waitstaff and lack of amenities - if you want napkins they'll throw them at you, I don't remember if you can actually get silverware. I think I remember them calling us a bunch of pussies and throwing some on the table. And the food sucks (they think it's good though even though they give every dish a stupid crude name). I think the drinks are really strong, though - they have to be

http://www.dickslastresort.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick%27s_Last_Resort

And if it's your birthday the waitstaff will gather 'round you and yell " we don't care!".

And the big attraction is the hat - every patron gets a condom style paper hat with a personalized insult on it. When I went my friend's husband got a hat with "my balls are in my wife's purse" written on it -- his 5 year old got a hat that said "Mommy, why do I look like the milkman". I think mine said "No wonder I'm single".

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 04-14-2017 at 02:14 PM.
  #94  
Old 04-14-2017, 02:44 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
I don't know if they still exist, but in LA there was a chain called "Mongolian BBQ" where you selected the oriental-style ingredients yourself, put them in a bowl, then gave the bowl to the chef, who stir-fried them on a large, circular grill. He circled the grill, turning the batch continuously and when he arrived back at the starting point, put the now-cooked ingredients back in the bowl and gave it to you. That, plus rice and a beverage, was the entire gimmick.

I liked it.
I've eaten at Mongolian Barbecue places in several cities. There used to be one in Salt Lake City when I lived there. It still seems to be operating in Sandy, UT There used to be one in New Brunswick NJ near Robert Wood Johnson hospital that went through at least two owners, but it's apparently gone now. There are others listed in the area. There's one inside another Chinese restaurant in East Brunswick.

typing in "Mongolian barbecue" in search engine brings up lots of hits in various places
  #95  
Old 04-14-2017, 06:34 PM
Jeep's Phoenix Jeep's Phoenix is offline
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I ate at a Genghis Grill at Charlotte-Douglas once. It was the same concept described here for a Mongolian Grill, except you just ordered and they put pre-portioned food on the rotating grill. It was pretty decent...Yelp tells me it's closed now though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian View Post
There was a very popular and trendy place that was basically a fondue house, except that it had entree courses where you cooked small bites in boiling broth.
The Melting Pot? That place was super trendy when I was in college. I never saw the appeal (especially with the icky cheese).

Quote:
Originally Posted by filmore View Post
There used to be a steak restaurant called "U-R Cooks". Their gimmick was that you cooked your own steaks at open grills in the middle of the restaurant.
I have no idea what the name of the restaurant was, but my dad and a bunch of his coworkers ate at a restaurant like that on a trip once. (He was probably traveling in Wisconsin or Illinois.) Once word got around that he had worked at and managed a steakhouse, he ended up cooking all the steaks himself.
  #96  
Old 04-14-2017, 06:40 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Originally Posted by Jeep's Phoenix View Post
The Melting Pot? That place was super trendy when I was in college.
I think that was it. This would have been in Sacramento, around... 2005?
  #97  
Old 04-14-2017, 07:16 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Noting that this is just my opinion and not an objective judgment, I find the whole molecular gastronomy and "deconstructed" meals trends to be ridiculous. Just give me FOOD, not some kind of flavored foam, or a plate full of ingredients that aren't actually making up a whole thing.
  #98  
Old 04-14-2017, 08:13 PM
Haldurson Haldurson is offline
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Not exactly a concept, but it's how Dim Sum restaurants typically operate -- people walk around the restaurant pushing carts, and you can grab dishes off of them. Frequently, if you aren't eating with someone who can read or speak Mandarin and can thus communicate with the waiters, or is very familiar with the cuisine, you can play a guessing game as to what exactly is in each dish. At the end of the meal, they simply count the number of plates of each color that you have, and charge you accordingly (kind of like how those Sushi bars work with the conveyor belts).

Last edited by Haldurson; 04-14-2017 at 08:14 PM.
  #99  
Old 04-14-2017, 08:46 PM
Ann Hedonia Ann Hedonia is offline
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Originally Posted by Jeep's Phoenix View Post
I ate at a Genghis Grill at Charlotte-Douglas once. It was the same concept described here for a Mongolian Grill, except you just ordered and they put pre-portioned food on the rotating grill. It was pretty decent...Yelp tells me it's closed now though.


The Melting Pot? That place was super trendy when I was in college. I never saw the appeal (especially with the icky cheese).
Oh, I love The Melting Pot as an occasional thing, I've been maybe twice in the past 6 years. I mostly like the cheese fondue.

You have to come with a large enough group or at a slow enough time to get a table with 2 burners. You want two different cheese things. But for the "cook at the table" main course (each person orders their own little assortment of uncooked stuff) you should go with the oil. The broths are more health conscious but it doesn't really work right. And if anyone has ordered anything hot and spicy, you need two pots of oil or else everyone's food will be hot and spicy.

And it's really expensive. It takes me by surprise every time.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 04-14-2017 at 08:47 PM.
  #100  
Old 04-14-2017, 08:51 PM
manson1972 manson1972 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
I'm surpised that no one has mentioned "Dick's Last Resort" yet.
Because it's not inexplicably stupid, it's awesome!
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