Restaurant Makeover [moved from Ontario board]
I was watching this show tonight. The feature restaurant was Stoney's Bar and Grill.
Of course the show featured the usual contrived nonsense with going over budget and deadlines, and bickering between the designer and the workers, but what really stood out on this episode is that these guys are treating other peoples' money like their own play money.
What they created was no where close to what the owners wanted.
The worst part was David Adjey.
He trashed the entire menu. Guaranteed to alienate dedicate clientele.
Why would you want to push out your regulars when business is already on the downslide?
So Adjey scraps the menu on which every item was in the $5-$20 range and makes a menu with things like a lobster stuffed baked potato that would have to be sold for at least $12. An appetizer more expensive than most of the main courses on the previous menu.
He also added center cut veal chop and center cut pork loin and other things that would be crazy expensive to put on a bar menu.
I thought to myself, this is a joke. There is no way the old clientele will put up with the massive increase in prices and the new menu was nothing spectacular that it would draw clientele. So I decided to have a look at their current menu. Sure enough, not a single item that Adjey put on the menu was still there, and pretty much all of the old menu items had returned.
I wonder if RM will ever have the guts to do a series of follow up shows on all of the restaurants they did?
I was a long time patron of Stoney's and almost cried watching the show. Aside from the menu which was damned good for bar fare they also trashed the decor of the place. One of the things that made the place so special was the layout and how you were rather personal with people. The bar in the front meant that going in, you had no choice but to say "Hi" to people. The seats by the front window were great for being in the action up front yet you could still people watch. To see them lambaste some of the seats and this or that, that I have fond memories of was totally out of line to me.
Now, I've been to Stoney's once and it was like being in the twilight zone. I recognized the faces but the place had changed. I really feel sorry for Nick because he really tried to make a friendly "Cheers" like bar and he gets saddled with this rather cold place. It seems like you could go in, sit down at a table near the front and be forgotten about.
One big challenge Stoney's has faced is that their clientele has, for lack of a better term, grown up and moved away. It's exactly what I did. I got married and now don't live anywhere near there.
One other thing that really rubbed me the wrong way. So stupidly contrived it was sickening. Alex "The cook" is actually Alex "The manager/head bartender." The real cook, Peter, would've taken the arms off David Adjey one inch at a time if he'd been there.
I was also uninspired by the job they did at Phil's Original BBQ. Since they were there Phil's has seemed to go down hill.
i heard the owner from stoney requested the bar be moved to the back so the joint wouldn't give the impression of being a hang out for booze hounds. apparently the after work crowd would walk by looking for a place to spend happy hour and consistently passed his place up for the nearby firkin due to the somewhat seedy appearance through the window.
Yah I'd love to see them do followup stories. They don't even post before and after photos on the food network website. My other pet peeve after visiting Via Oliveto in the Annex post makeover is that they rarely save extra cash to also update the bathrooms. I went to the bathroom and then returned - my husband commented I'd love to have come here before to see what it was like - I told him to make a trip down to the bathroom, the peach walls, eighties flowered wallpaper and all the old decor was still down there. I'm not saying they need all new fixtures but at least use some of the left over paint etc so there is somewhat of a flow.
I liked the one at a Thai restaurant - the chef (blond guy, not sure if Adjey or someone else) was horrified because she put ketchup in her Pad Thai. Canadian Ketchup! When there exists Thai ketchup! How inauthentic.
No Thai ketchup in real Pad Thai either, dude. I don't expect a Western chef to be an expert on Asian food, but if you're going to pull the authenticity card...