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Apr 27, 2009 09:02 AM

Foodie Conundrum

Would you withhold recommending a restaurant on Chowhound because you don't want to see it overrun by the masses (tourists in particular). I'm not talking about a place that needs all the business it can get, but rather someplace that is always full to begin with.

It's a moral dilemma. You don't want the place to get any harder to get in to, yet deep down, you have a foodie obligation to tell others.....

What to do, what to do.....

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  1. I wouldn't. If they are doing smashingly great, maybe they'll expand or open up a 2nd location; help them be even MORE successful!

    1. I would never not tell. From a business standpoint, restaurants can fail for so many, many reasons that I feel like I should do what I can to keep a good restaurant around. Restaurants, especially smaller ones, rely so much on word-of-mouth advertising.

      Oh sure. I hate loud/overly full restaurants, but given the choice, I'll take that over not being able to have a really good meal again.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ali

        Yeah, but consider the case where the restaurant fails because it got too many customers, too quickly. Of course, that's the fault of the manager who couldn't figure out how to ramp up. Nevertheless, if it's a place you really enjoy as a small, quiet, low-voltage place with really delicious food, you could ruin it by telling the world about it.

        I'll almost always tell my friends about it immediately, but I may not post something here until I'm confident that it's to the welfare of the place. Then, if it does become a "foodie hangout", I'll stay away for a while and go back only after the crazy buzz has died down. Hopefully the food is as good as it was to start.

        1. re: applehome

          I definitely get your point and even agree with it, but the OP wasn't talking about a new restaurant or an older one that is generally half full. The reference is to one "that is always full to begin with." Such a restaurant is already equipped to handle large amounts of customers. In this economy, with people choosing to spend their restaurant monies carefully, I want to encourage them to visit the good spots so those don't fail. I recognize that, in a different economic climate, my opinion might change, but for now, I want to keep supporting the good places with word-of-mouth because I can no longer go as often and support them monetarily.

      2. I see your point, but...

        There's no such thing as a business that's "too successful." And if a restaurant is good enough to stay busy, it's probably good enough to support a reasonable expansion or relocation.

        On the other hand, if it's a tiny neighborhood kind of place, and if expanding or relocating would kill what makes it special, it might be a different story. Especially in an area that sees more than its share of tourists.

        I definitely understand the urge to keep a finds to oneself. But the purpose of this forum is to give and receive chow tips. Maybe you could be cagey about it, so the idle Googlers don't see it as the first listing when they search "restaurant near disneyland."

        1. No, especially in this economy. If I keep it to myself, it might not be around for long.

          1 Reply
          1. I agree with alanbarnes - I know of a tiny neighborhood place (7 top) that has the most amazing menu of crepes and desserts. It's already difficult to get a table since the locals mob the place all the time. The owner isn't planning on expanding or moving either so I keep quiet about this one.

            If it's a proper sized restaurant (20 top or more) then I'll tell folks about it, but only after I have tried it several times to make sure it is consistently good. I hate when folks rave about a restaurant and then you go and have a horrible meal and find out the people raving about it had only been there once themselves/only tried one item on the menu. That only works if you're talking about places like French Laundy or Momofuku Ko.