Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Why would anyone in Stratford eat at a corporate restaurant?
Not meaning to trash talk specifically, but in a city so blessed with independent operators in just about every category of dining, WHY?
Corporations like Kelsey's & Boston Pizza offer little more than mediocrity, they are the BIG BOX stores of restaurants. Yet, despite our aversion to Walmart, the dining rooms of the corporate places are sometimes bustling while the independent restaurants such as The Annex, Foster's, Bentley's, Pazzo, Simple Fish & Chips etc. have quiet nights through the winter. Where is our support for community on a larger scale? There is a nice tidy little group of people who support the independent operators but what about the 34,847 other people in this town!?
Your average corporation employs cooks who don't care so much about quality food as they do about food cost bonuses, and the servers are usually just passing through - not truly in tune with the needs of a guest. Why waste your money on a frozen pizza, or vegetables microwaved from frozen in a bag and dumped onto your plate beside your over salted (hence the intense savoury flavour) sauce (also from a bag) slathered on your chicken breast (raised ethically? I think not). That cheap T-bone advertised on the Crabby Joe's sign - where do you think they get that meat from? Perhaps the steak at Foster's is a little more expensive but at least they know the supplier!
The average person tends to default to the corporations, grandma prefers the festive special at Swiss Chalet because she has been conditioned to feel this way. Birthday parties are booked at Boston Pizza because there's a free dessert and they sing and clap and there's a great deal of hooplah. These are not valid reasons!
Some people cite "price point" as their reason for choosing corporate, let's do a comparison shall we?
Boston Pizza dinner for 2 sharing a pizza, water to drink:
- Caesar salad $5.49 (starter size) be careful though, the bacon costs extra
- Rustic Italian Pizza $16.49 (10" serves 1-2)
TOTAL = $21.98
Pazzo Pizzeria dinner for 2 sharing a pizza, water to drink:
- Caesar salad with Italian bacon $9
- Za Za Gabor $15.00 (approx. 12" serves 1-2)
TOTAL = $24.00
The bacon alone is worth the extra $2.02, not to mention the atmosphere, service, quality & the fact that you are supporting a local independent restauranteur.
My dear Local-Come-Lately, where's Chew? I can tell you where I'm not!