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Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party

This was pretty much a disaster. Spent close to $100 and sampled hardly any food. Over sold and not enough vendors. Email sent to PG CEO and his response below:

Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2007 8:49 PM
To: dave@phantomgourmet.com
Subject: BBQ Beach party?

The party was anything but.
Parties conjur up fun & good times.
From the dozens of people I talked to at the event on Saturday, there was none of that.
Family of six spent $60 to get in, lines of TWO HOURS for food. Only got to eat Fireflies because no line (which we can do any day of the week) and ONE other vendor. Who can wait that long for food?
Ridiculous. Limit the amount of tickets sold and increase vendors.
I feel used, ripped off & abused.
Total waste of a day.
Not a lot of happy people there.
You should be ashamed of this event and what the admission fee bought: a 10 cent chain of beads, access to long lines, and a rickety, nasty, dirty ferris wheel.
Will not be coming back.

Digruntled former Phantom viewer.

His response:

From: Dave Andelman <dave@phantomgourmet.com>
Reply-To: <dave@phantomgourmet.com>

I'm sorry you did not enjoy the event, we did our best.

Gee, that was heartfelt. Thanks for really reaching out.

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  1. It just goes to prove how l-o-w the bar for The Purple Gang's "best" is actually set.

    1. I can't agree more with your review. I went with 4 friends, we each took a line for an hour and a half and sampled 4 of the vendors. 3 of them were sub par. I would say the local places were better from eating at their resteraunts There was one standout, which was REALLY good:


      The rest of the food was expensive and not too good. $8 for 4 ribs, $5 for a sandwitch. These prices were on top of the $10 to get in. Small cups of bud light for $5. I felt like I was at Fenway park. The other major problem was that I couldn't drink while waiting in line for over an hour. Happy I went i guess, but will not go back. At least I found a good BBQ place in Phili next time I am down there.

      1. I went on Friday and after 20 minutes I was fuming. Long lines, no tables on Friday, no discount for kids. I brought all three of my boys, which meant I couldn't get a beer since no children were allowed in the beer Garden. BBQ without beer!? Uffa! Sand blowing into your food while you were huddled where ever you could cop a squat to eat. SO then I see Dan Andelman doing a promo "shot" I waited till he was done and gave him an ear-full. The whole time he and his crew were running away. A total rib-off.

        Why not have each place do 2 rib samplers and mini sandwiches for $2 @ and you buy tickets so no money changes hand. Who wants to buy an entire rack when there are so many places. There could be separate cash lines for that.

        4 admissions $40 (youngest ate no BBQ he should have been free)
        Parking $10
        2 * 4 ribs $16
        2 * Pork sandwich $10
        Huge slice of mediocre pizza(which my son had to toss, sand again) $5
        3 Mini Cannolis $5
        3 waters $9

        $95 in about 1 hour, thoroughly dissatisfied, ok the cannolis were good but I would not have gotten them if the kids were not with me.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Seamus7

          FYI there is no way a vendor could make money charging a buck a bone for ribs. Those days are long gone. Pork prices aren't what they used to be and then you need to add the cost of rub, sauce, labor and transportation.

          1. re: yankeebbq

            So Charge $15 or even $20 to get in and have the house kick some back. My point is that I have been to about a half dozen of these BBQ things in 4 states and sampling is the way to go. make it easier and more efficient and enhance the customer experience.

        2. I was really tempted to go when I saw the show. The theme was great but the execution was horrible. I am really glad that I skipped this event.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sheila

            The only thing that tempted me to go was to try some of the out of town BBQ. I did not go because I knew it was going to be chaos. Anyone who knows anything about PG events should know this by now, and this being a three day event has disaster written all over it.
            I'm just suprised at how many people you think would know about PG events that went, are now voicing their displeasure.
            While this event may have been a disaster for those who paid the admission, I'm sure the Andelman's are looking at it as a monetary success, and good for them. A three day event like this is not that easy to do, but they did it.

            1. re: Infomaniac

              I personally thought that because it *was* a 3 day event, it might not be a total zoo most of the time. I should have gone when I had Fri. off but what can you do.

              1. re: Joanie

                At least you went and tried stuff.

          2. Hey DSQ, here's an even better version:

            The Phantom Gourmet Show is nothing more than the big Phat Gyp Show that robs from the hungry and gives to the Andelman brothers. At their so-called BBQ Beach Party, these two clowns sat on stage looking like the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum while their loyal fans were left to stand in hour-long lines and eat sand-covered food. Nothling like spending ten bucks to enjoy a day of lines in the hot sun. Thanks Dan and Dave! There was even an added bonus, the Most Boring Man Ever, Ernie Boch Jr., yammering on and on while the masses suffered. The brothers Andelman are no doubt laughing all the way to the bank after taking in countless thousands of dollars. No wonder they call it the "Phantom" Gourmet. After the BBQ fiasco, I'd hide my face too.

            (p.s. - For the record, I'm not surprised it was such a fiasco. Anybody who was, well, Ithat suprises me.)

            6 Replies
            1. re: Bob MacAdoo

              LOL! Send it on -- one of them is sure to get posted! (mine, alas, was moderated just a few minutes ago, for those just tuning in to this thread)

              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                As was mine. :-/

                It really is disappointing that they get so much publicity for putting out such a poor product - whether it's this BBQ party or their shill reviews of advertising restaurants.

                I caught the Andelman Bros. and someone else talking on 96.9 on Saturday night, and while I've never seen a picture of the brothers, their voices are like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. And I can't understand how their guests don't get angry with how they constantly talk over their guests - whatever BBQ guy they were talking to got cut off at least 5-6 times in the few minutes I chose to listen - they'd ask a question, the guy would try to answer, and they'd cut him off with their OWN comment about what they'd ask, and wouldn't let the guy finish. They just seem to talk to hear themselves talk, IMO.

              2. re: Bob MacAdoo

                I guess I'll play devil's advocate here, but why wouldn't the Andelman brothers be sitting somewhere nice? Of course they would be. With any huge event like this, you're gonna have a nice VIP area and the rest of the folks clawing for whatever's around for the masses. I'm not happy to have stood in line for an hour, but I sure the hell don't expect the A's to be standing next to me. And FWIW, Dan A. was standing by the ticket takers when we left.

                1. re: Joanie

                  Well yeah, of course they would be. And if it were my event, I would be too. But admitting that doesn't make for a very interesting letter for the Weekly Dig to publish, does it? <g>

                  1. re: Joanie

                    Joanie, I personally have no problem with the Andelmans. DSQ's rant needed some tidying up, that's all.

                    BTW, I am not submitting that rant to the Dig. DSQ, feel free to cut & paste if you wish.

                  2. re: Bob MacAdoo

                    I think the Andelman's are nothing more than overrated, grown up chubby kids. They either don't have their heart in food or they don't know food. Proven by the numerous mentions of Strega being the be all and end all of Italian food in Boston. That being said, I still watch it, as it introduces new places/dishes, although I look forward to the day a new show is born to replace it. Perhaps one where I trust the host.

                  3. Am I the only one who thought the event wasn't that bad? I went on Friday. It was cold, it was raining, but there were no lines. The longest we stood was for 15 minutes to get the alpo brisket from cowboys. Every other line moved briskly. And those vendors (like WIllinghams) turned out ribs so good I'm still thinking about them. Yeah, there were silly little pools of dirty water and a dumptruck-worth of sand on city hall plaza. It's their theme - they went for it - we weren't on an ocean front property. Get over it. Did you really expect lunchtime on a Saturday or Sunday to be anything other than packed? PG has been promo-ing this event non-stop through all available channels.

                    Secondly it's a festival. How many festivals have you been to that offer fantastic, cheap, diversified food? Yeah, I can't think of any offhand either. PG had costs - they covered them. The vendors had costs - they covered them. Personally think those prices were a little too high also, but I don't understand the sheer anger going on here.

                    It was an outdoor event put on by an organization whose previous events have not been great either. Learn from history. Choose to go or not, but get over the I-was-blind-sided -by-this-event mentality. You're crowding the board for actual real chow discussion.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: gini

                      Gini, I generally knew what I was getting into (arriving at 3:00 on Saturday).

                      But at most events this size, the organizers have some sort of system to keep the crowd size managed. Whether it's stagered entry, etc.

                      NO event should have 3 hour waits at each and every booth. And I'm not exaggerating.

                      I personally thought getting some out-of-town BBQers together in Boston was a cool idea. I'm just saying next time, maybe they should organize it in such a way that people actually get a chance to eat the Q.

                      1. re: gini

                        "but get over the I-was-blind-sided -by-this-event mentality. You're crowding the board for actual real chow discussion."
                        But that's the problem - people didn't GET the actual real chow they paid a lot of money for because of standing on 3 hour lines. Hence, their anger.

                        1. re: gini

                          Gini -- there are clearly some folks who thought the event was decent. I have to say that your not-very-respectful dismissal of people who were disappointed, on the grounds that they should expect the kind of things that disappointed them, is kind of harsh.

                          In my day job, I frequently attend large-scale events like this that are equally highly-promoted, but suffer none of the problems that seem to have plagued this one. The BBQ Beach Party problems sound like either a) incompetence, or b) indifference to the attendees. I didn't go, but it sure sounds to me like this event could have been better planned, managed, and executed.

                          I've said elsewhere that I think the PG folks are hucksters, and don't mind screwing their fans and selling their opinions in pursuit of a buck. Maybe I'm being unfair, and that the truth is kinder: they're just incompetent. Either way, it sure sounds like they pissed off a lot more people than they satisfied with this event.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            I didnt go either but its hard to say. I read countless posts of complaining of "2 hour line" for the hot dog safari and all sorts of horror stories. Yet when i went this year there was no line longer then 5-10 minutes tops. Most lines were 0 minutes. So you never really know, seems many people just hate PG i think.

                        2. Upon research of a couple of the vendors, I found out that they don't even have establishments in their respective states or cities they claim to hail from. All they are imo is smoke and spin!!! One had to close down because they couldn't compete with the other BBQ joints in town. Now, they are on the road bringing their mediocre BBQ and their line of sauces and rubs to unsuspecting people throughout the country that don't know good Q. I will support my local BBQ places and never attend an Andelman production. C'mon, what did anyone really expect out of that family?

                          1. you know, my boyfriend is kinda sad we didn't get to go. I insisted that I'd rather stay at home and watch a movie and drink a few beers (no bud). I am going to make him read this post to prove how right I am (:

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: bitsubeats

                              Yeah, I agree....it was an absolutely horrible event. A couple of people at work convinced me to go on Friday and I could not believe how lame it was. On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a .5. I was going to write a letter to complain but I figured it wouldn't get me anywhere and as I can see from their response to the first poster I was correct. "We did our best" was the best they could do???? I think I may follow up with a letter of my own and demand a refund.....someone obviously made a boat load of money off of the 50,000 so called "phans" that showed up.....believe you me I am no longer in any way shape or form a "phan" of anything that Phantom Gourmet has to do with.

                              1. re: SMH

                                Maybe, maybe not. Im sure it is not cheap to rent the space, pay for police, etc etc. I bet you the city made more money then the PG

                            2. I live next to City Hall Plaza, so after listening to the BBQ for two days and watching the tease on Phantom Gourment with video from the event, my boyfriend and I headed to the worst BBQ ever. Not the worst food we ever ate, b/c our hungry bellies were deterred by the nonsensical line system, in which people had no idea what they were waiting for, while others cut. We each waited 25 min. in different lines, without really moving. We decided to leave.

                              We then left the event, spoke to the 15 year old staffer at the ticket booth to explain that not only should there be staff helping with organization, but they should certainly let people know when they purchase the tickets, that there would be a minimum hour wait, it would be helpful. We threw $20 out the window and even if we had eaten, I have a feeling we would've been unhappy considering the wait.

                              We drove to Uncle Pete's BBQ in Revere and gots ourselves some mighty fine Ribs, in less time and with more comfort.

                              As for the rib costs, everything you do in Boston is expensive, and it doesn't surprise me that a rib fest set up in City Hall Plaza would be any different.

                              1. My girlfriend got me tickets at least a month ago for my birthday knowing how much I love BBQ. She kept talking up how great it was going to be and how much we were going to eat up until the day of the event. Having been to events like this in the past (and anything held on the concrete desert) I didn't have the heart not to get excited about it with her.

                                Because of another commitment we ended up going at probably the worst time, 7:30 Saturday night. And it was just what I expected, long lines...so we just focused on trying the out-of-state pits that had reasonable lines. We waited about 30-45 minutes in each and had some decent bbq, nothing to die for but nothing I'd die of. In the end I had a good time because I had lowered expectations, I ate, and I enjoyed the company I was with. :)

                                My only complaint was Trani ran out of cupcakes, but I can always walk over to the North End and try one.