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Oct 15, 2007 11:34 AM

Slew of Chain Restos coming to Stamford...

I'm sure you've all seen that they're close to finishing up the new addition over at the Mall....and we're now adding PF Changs, California Pizza Kitchen, Kona Grill, Mitchell's Fish Market & Cosi to the downtown dining scene.

Personally, I'm not thrilled about it, as I much prefer the independant restaurants in the area. But I suppose it could be an option for many of the office workers here in town...

I don't know a thing about Mitchell's Fish Market, but it looks like it's more of a midwest chain than east coast.

My SO & I met the guys opening up Kona when we were dining at Duo one night...and they were both very nice. I checked out the menu and am just really, really confused. From sushi to pizza to fish to beef. I just don't really get it.

So I guess the question I'm asking is...will the hounds go eat at these places?

I probably won't....only because I much prefer the local options & would certainly choose quality over quantity any day of the week. And more so on that note - I wonder how these restaurants are going to affect our mom & pop places.

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  1. I'd be more inclined to hit The Capital Grille, PF Chang's and California Pizza Kitchen than Mitchell's Fish Market, Kona, or Cosi. Mostly because of the lack of decent steakhouses and pizza places around here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Foodie Fairfield

      Is Capital Grille coming as well? I didn't notice that one.

      1. re: amanda3571

        I see I missed another one... "Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que" also coming.

    2. They will absolutely affect the "Mom and Pop" independents. In some regard, they may allow people who otherwise could not afford to dine out more often to do so.
      on the negative side, they take away business from local establishments that are already running a low profit margin and cannot compete with the "Specials" and theme nights often promoted at chain restaurants. Like the rest of life, it's a toss up and it depends on which side of the Looking Glass you're on.

      1. as long as they stay in the confines of the mall, so be it! I just hope the make up of the rest of stamford stays independent and that the economics of all of it allows that.

        Once they open, I guess I'll have more reason to frequent the Chains board here on chowhound to see if there's actually something worthwhile to get at these places.

        1 Reply
        1. re: adamclyde

          Adam, you bring up a good point that I tried to relay once on the chains board...

          "as long as they stay in the confines of the mall" I'm ok with chain restuarants.

          Personally if my "goal" for the day is to have lunch with friends, we'll pick a place for the FOOD, most likely an independent restaurant.

          If my "goal" for the day is to get shopping done and I am at the Stamford mall or the Westchester where I meet Mom a lot (maybe too much!), I do like P.F
          Changs. After a day at the mall, the last thing I want to do is A) go to a food court and try to balance a tray and find my own table. or B) load up the car, pack up the baby and stroller and find parking somewhere else to grab lunch.
          I like that I can walk within the same building, have my lunch served to me and the bathrooms are always clean and, I am sure that you an appreciate this, big enough to change the baby, bring the stroller in with me etc.
          So in short, I see P.F. Changs as a civilized alternative to the mall food court. If I had to go out of my way to get there I would never step foot inside!
          But FWIW I do find the food decent, plus they provide nutritional info so you can actually build a relatively healthy lunch there.

          Most of the other chains mentioned I have never heard, but would only visit them under the same circumstances mentioned above!

          Will the chains affect the Mom and Pop places? I don't think they will have too much of a long term affect. I don't see them as being in direct competition with each other mainly for reasons mentioned. Also, the more Stamford gets built up, hopefully it will attract more people and therefore more business in general.

        2. I won't be going to any of those places when I visit family in Stamford because I have them all down here (and I don't patronize them down here). I'd take an Italian combo at Summer Street Deli over any of them!

          5 Replies
          1. re: southernitalian


            jfood has a great red gravy lunch spot in stamford called giovannis on north ave. talk about an independent. three guys in their 50-60's making everything by hand including chicken parm, eggplant parm and pasta plus italian wedges (subs for us NJ guys).

            wander over and check it out.

            1. re: jfood

              Oh, believe me jfood, this Jersey girl knows EXACTLY where Giovanni's is! We've been going there about every other year around the holidays when we go up to Stamford. Their eggplant parm is out of this world.

              1. re: southernitalian

                jfood is so glad he now knows someone else who ravishes their eggplant parm. jfood thought he was dremin'. Love those guys.

                1. re: jfood

                  I used to live a block from there and my wife and I (pre-kids) would eat there frequently. This is a good reminder... I haven't been there in a few years now...

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    I just went there today and got an eggplant parm hero and I didn't really like it that much! I tried this place esp b/c how all u guys said how amazing the food was but I really didn't like it! Is it always consistantly good? I do want to give it one more try and see maybe it was just a bad day :(! Today is the last day they will be open! They will be back open on Jan 2nd in case anyone wanted to know!!