Those of us in the business; restaurant, hospitality, you name it, often have a hard time eating out. We tend to find a place we like and stick to it. The atmosphere is to our liking, the food is great, or if not great then very good. But more than anything else it is sense of comfort. I think of the television show Cheers...."a place where everybody knows your name."
But. We are professionals. We need to go out. We need to find out what's out there. Who is pushing the envelope. Who is challenging and who is the next "big" thing on the horizon.
When I lived in New York that was always fun. Trying new places was what I lived for. So and so has a new restaurant....let's go. He's opening a what? Gotta go. She's doing the new what?? Check it out.
But in L.A..... hmmm, not so much. I think this city is evolving into a food town. We just need to get all of these people INTO food. We have a handful of restaurants that seem to go on forever (or at least chefs and restauranteurs that seem to have a stranglehold on the business). But for the most part Los Angeles is a place to be seen. Checking out the latest is de rigeur as long as you're there the first month. Because after that it's on to the next new thing. If you're lucky your food is good enough and you develop a following. But usually the following is so small it is hard to sustain the business and down goes the Open For Business sign.
Unless you have that name. How do you get that name? Why is a name more important than what that name is selling? It seems there are more people who like restaurants and food because A Name made it, not because it's good. It's strange because in a city like this you'd think just because you have a name doesn't mean the product your pushing will be good. Look at all the turkeys the movie/entertainment industry cranks out.
Overheard by a server: "Have you been to "so-and-so's" restaurant? I can't believe he's opening another one." "Did you check out her bakery? There were lines out the door."
I went...not so awesome. And waiting in the line had little to no payoff. And weird, the "name" was nowhere to be seen.
So, I go back to my neighborhood haunt. Get there early because it fills up nicely by 9 o'clock. Pasta, pizza, and a great roast chicken. And the best beer selection I have found anywhere. And ice cold.
And, no, I'm not telling you the name of the place. It's mine. It's not owned by a some big name chef who's never there. It's neighborly. Okay, so they don't know my name. But they know me.
I think I'll go there now!