Posted by: thescoundrel | March 3, 2007

Here’s the Beef!

The big news in Quad City restaurants seems to be the coming addition of Sonics. I have never eaten at one, so I am unsure what to expect. I went to their website and looked up the information but it just did not excite me. But that is not new, regional and national chains often do not excite me. Many chains are fast food joints. And most all of the big chain companies’ foods are prefab items and the food routinely lacks personality local or otherwise. Chains often substitute grease, salt and sugar for cooking skill, quality ingredients and bodacious flavor in order to fabricate a product that is featureless but easily marketable and recognizable as consumable to the foragers grazing in their plastic pastures. The web explanation kind of reminded me of the former “A&W” & early “Steak and Shake” chains that were around the town when I was a kid. They were the few local survivors of the old 50’s and 60’s carhop drive-in fad. I suppose I will have to wait until they open and try the place to see if they impress me. I wish them success and hope it helps with the growth of the QC tourist destination plans. But….

Personally I would like to see the QC also work on promoting the independent restaurants that they have. Unlike local chains and independents: National and Regional Chains come with a ready made cast of promotions and advertising gimmicks that often make them into turnkey operations. But they are also the same wherever you go. Non-Local Chains do not help give the QC a unique identity. Local chains and independent restaurants are what create an identity that says you are special. Part of that problem is that local people habitually walk past independents and frequent Regional/National chains because chains are a safe bet ordering from and where they are familiar with the type of nutrition and taste injected prefab foods they offer. The media and the local blogs have been discussing the uniqueness of the QC for sometime and ways to promote the region. I propose that the QC leadership needs to reintroduce and reeducate the local citizens to just how unique this area is. We have a lot of individuality and culture to offer and not just to tourists but to our own citizens as well. They could start by reintroducing our citizens to the local restaurant scene. One way to educate locals and visitors to our food cultures would be for them to organize rotating neighborhood food crawls with the various restaurants (maybe presale tickets) offering up sampler platter events that are specifically designed to attract new and unfamiliar people to leave their comfort zones for new experiences. There are far too many people who think that a restaurant is a fast food/chain location. Fast food and Chains have their place in the restaurant industry and the QC region. But the truth is – a fast food place is just a subcategory of restaurants. And the QC has a plethora of local chains and independent restaurants that will help give them a special identity. Our fearless leaders just need find ways to start introducing the locals and visitors to our local hospitality and cuisines. Leadership and education creates increased self-awareness and enhances personal growth and success.



  1. I’m not so sure about local. Mr. Paladin and I both like to eat “healthy”. You know what I mean—low fat, low sodium, lots of veggies and fruit. But dangit, we’re both midwesterners and so crave an occasional big ‘ol hunk o’ beef.

    Last night we were having the hunk o’ beef craving, but didn’t feel like driving down to the cities. So we opted for the closer Restaurant With Ties Hanging From The Rafters. You know what I mean. We hadn’t been there in a while, and what we experienced was a shock. I ordered the T-Bone and Mr. ordered some sirloin cut (don’t remember which one). Both reeked of lighter fluid, and mine was cut paper-thin. Not impressive.

    In addition, we sat in the back where I noticed that the “facilities” were marked “Braves” and “Squaws”. How on earth did this elude the PC Police? Chief Illiniwik would be outraged. It was like seeing “whites only”—or something like that.

    Just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s good.

  2. Mrs. Paladin,
    Why are you sitting back and waiting the the PC Police to do something about that offensive label “Squaws” on the door to the ladies room in that restaurant? We PC Police can’t do everything! Why don’t YOU organize a boycott of that restaurant until they change that sign? Or start a letter writing campaign? You are not Sleeping Beauty waiting for your prince to come! If the wrongs you see are going to get righted you will have to do it yourself. You go girl!

  3. Because Barrett, I don’t really give a hoot. The PC thing is out of control as far as I’m concerned, and I certainly wouldn’t add to the hysteria by making a big deal out of two restroom signs in an out of the way restaurant—which I guess is the reason nobody has made stink about it—yet.

  4. and just what is wrong with that term braves or squaws? If I go to england will i be offended with birds? in France with femmes? Or in the armpit of the earth, Texas, will I be offended with Dudettes? Just call it character and accept it as thier restaurant, thier rules. In my house I call my kids “lil people”, and I have yet to get kicked in the shins by a midget, because its my house!

  5. Paladin,
    Give the keyboard back to your wife. I preferred what she had to say.

  6. I agree Paladin, just because it is local does not make it good. Independent locals offer uniqueness but that does not mean they offer up a quality product or a product that meets the customers expectations. That is why chains are very successful, (around ten-percent of new restaurants succeed, however many chains are different in that they are a turnkey operation), very much so over an independent. A chains product has been carefully planned at a home base to taste the same North, South, East or West and so as not to challenge the majority of individual’s taste preconceptions. But your case sounds more like a bad job of cooking. Any trip to any business offers up the chance for failure to meet guests/customer satisfaction standards. Generally if an Independent has a long period of being successful they are doing something right. I hope you brought up your dissatisfaction with your meal to the restaurant management and gave them a chance to make it right with you. That is the only way to find out if you caught them on a bad-hair day or if the place is a spot to be avoided. A quality place understands that sometimes their people make mistakes or sometimes people’s palates are predispositioned towards a about how an item should taste that does not match their preparation techniques. They should have made it right for you.

  7. scoundrel, normally we would have done what you suggested—bring it up with the management.

    But in this case, it was just the final nail in the coffin of Restaurant X.

    As I’m sure you know, X has been a local landmark for decades. It was the place we always took family and friends who were visiting from out of town. It was also the one place that returning guests requested to visit. It was not just the “atmosphere” (i.e. ties on the rafters), the food was good too—-if big ol’ hunks o’ beef was your thing.

    A while back we noticed that the quality of food was falling. Even though X could be considered one of our “neighborhood” restaurants, we rarely ate there—and not just because of the limited menu. This last incident was the last straw. I say that with no pleasure, because at one time X was a truly unique local treasure.

    But no more.

  8. Yeah, I missed that Rolls Royce picture! The post is updated now. Yes, I am that Zero is infinity in Flickr. Who else could come up with such a name? But I am using flickr only to host images so that I can link to them from here. Otherwise, I am not participating there much. All the images hosted there will be here annayw.Destiyation Infinity

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