27 July, 2005

West End Grills

Kay West laments the influx of chain dining on West End. I can't say that I'm too surprised; nor can I pretend to be aggrieved.

I don't understand the demonization of chain restaurants, and I find the bemoaning of their influx to be somewhat class-ist. Corporate restaurants thrive precisely because of their size. A chain can afford to take a bad appetizer off your bill. They can afford to keep the restrooms clean and offer larger portions of both food and beverages.

Most importantly, and key to the survival of any business on West End Avenue, a chain can afford decent parking. Nashville is a car culture, and becoming moreso every day. Restaurants like Houston's simply can't draw customers because the parking is a nightmare. That's precisely why we don't eat there, and why we've stopped going to Tin Angel. Chains pave lots (sorry, Joni) and build garages. They have the money, and on West End, that's the main issue.

12 Comments:

At 10:40 AM, July 28, 2005, Anonymous Jackson said...

They are able to do this because they save money on food costs by using more industrialized products. You can have mash potatos that started the day as whole potatos or you can have mashed potatos that started the day as poweder in a 5 gallon bag.

 
At 11:11 AM, July 28, 2005, Anonymous brittney said...

Exactly. If our palette is not very refined, you might not know that your soup came from a commisary. But I can tell the difference between fresh ingredients that are thoughtfully prepared. Why do you think so many chains are quick to take shit off the bill. They know their food sucks.

Besides, supporting local businesses is important to me. And I don't mind the walk to a restaurant that doesn't offer a lot. If more people walked to dinner perhaps there wouldn't be som many fat asses around.

 
At 11:25 AM, July 28, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

My palette is very refined, thanks. And my ass is also very fat. Probably because of the refined nature of my palette and my Welsh fat-hording ancestors.

Regardless of the enormous girth of my body, I still will not walk from Hermitage to Houston's.

In addition, a chain is still a local business. They do not import all of the staff from Planet Corporatia. If you are wanting to patronise mom and pop eateries, you can happily walk to Brentwood (for Torino's, formerly Provino's), to Donelson (for Ellendale's and Phat Bites) and any of the other dreaded suburbs where the land is still affordable for a startup restauranteur.

 
At 11:37 AM, July 28, 2005, Anonymous Jackson said...

If you can't taste the difference between chain restaurants and restaurants where the meals are prepared from scratch, then you do not have a very refined pallete (IMNSHO). When I was in college I worked in may restaurants (chain and private). I worked as a pastry chef, a line cook, a grill cook, and a server. I have an intimate knowledge of the food that is prepared in these places. The simple truth is that you are wrong.

I guess there is some truth to the saying "ignorance is bliss". Enjoy your meal.

Oh, BTW, processed food is probably why you are fat ;)

 
At 11:55 AM, July 28, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Whoa! I didn't say I couldn't tell the difference....

I can. I vastly prefer other foods, but if it's a matter of time, price and what I'm hungry for, I'll eat at a chain. Trust me. I'm fat in part because I like all types of food. I am NOT fat simply because I don't always walk 3 blocks to the restaurant. To say so is to stereotype and reveal a grossly prejudiced misunderstanding.

 
At 12:03 PM, July 28, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever even gone to Houston's? The wait on average is an hour - even during the week. Houston's has a huge fan base, and is always packed. The reason it can't survive is because they can no longer afford their rental space there in a community (West End) that continues to escalate in cost and popularity. Having more customers dine there won't get them any closer to affording the cost of the retail space - there is a capacity at which they can serve their customers.

 
At 12:14 PM, July 28, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

That's the larger point I'm trying to make, which has gotten sidetracked by my ire at Brittney's oh-so-sensitive fat asses comment.

You can either have soaring property values or down home charm.

 
At 1:16 PM, July 28, 2005, Blogger melusina said...

My family used to be a big fan of Houston's. The last time I ate there (oh, about three and a half years ago now) the food was really subpar.

Generally, in Nashville, I ate at places that were in walking distance from my apartment (Belmont and Blair) which meant Tabouli's, Bongo Java, and anything in the Hillsboro Village area.

Here in Greece you aren't going to get many chain restaurants. Well, there are a couple of Applebees and there is a rumor that there is a Ruby Tuesday in Thessaloniki. Now, those are fun to go to for "down home" flavor. There are so many locally owned tavernas here it is impossible to try them all, but then when you find one your really like you stick with it. I just wonder if the restaurant business is as deadly here in Greece as it seemed to be in Nashville

 
At 5:41 PM, July 28, 2005, Anonymous Kevin Newman said...

"I don't understand the demonization of chain restaurants, and I find the bemoaning of their influx to be somewhat class-ist"

Which class of people prefers unique local experiences, small local business owners, and better food? I'm not sure how I'm being labeled.

 
At 8:34 PM, July 28, 2005, Anonymous tom said...

I live in the Midwest. My hometown has let it's urban downtown decay to the point of hollowness. While chain restaurants and retailers do tend to squeeze out the independents, there's a lot to be said for how much they can really reinvigorate a dying downtown.

 
At 11:35 PM, July 28, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think Houston's is really leaving because of rent, you are sorely mistaken.

 
At 11:45 PM, July 28, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Now I'm curious. What other reasons are there?

 

Post a Comment

<< Home