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Jul 14, 2009 02:59 AM

Blue Ribbon Rules

Ate at their Arlington location last night.

The outdoor tables were open, which is my favorite time of year to eat there.

The food was awesome. When they got a side wrong they comped me the original side order rather then just keep it and give it to the next person.

There was also another more complex service issue which I observed while I was there and they absolutely bent over backwards to accommodate the customer to the point that I was honestly shocked. My reaction was: "what kindness."

All the while I felt like the interaction with the clientele, not just me, was one of caring and genuine hospitality. The vibe I get there is that every single person who works there actually cares about the customers and the food. This is not something I often experience in Boston.

For me the folks at Blue Ribbon define hospitality.

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  1. Not only great Q, but it's refreshing when a business model realizes that employees are not there to take peoples money, but take it from them and have them leave happy, and then come back and do it at another time. That's why Blue Ribbon will be catering the Metrowest HOG charity ride this sunday.

    1 Reply
    1. re: trufflehound

      You've really hit the nail on the head. The place contrasts so much with say any of Barbara Lynch's places where they do manage to provide good service most of the time (though folks have had some bad experiences) but the overriding vibe is that first and foremost, her goal is to separate you from as much currency as humanly possible, providing quality food somewhat secondary.

    2. Wholeheartedly agree. Not only do they offer the best Q around, IMHO, they do so with genuine affection for the product and the customer.


      1. Love Blue Ribbon!
        I think they define unpretentious. Good food, generous portion, and very friendly service!

        1 Reply
        1. We have had Blue Ribbon cater parties for us for the last 8 or 9 years. Not only do all of our guests love their food, the catering staff could not be more pleasant and helpful. Even their delivery guys are personable, and have told us that they remember our house from previous years.

          2 Replies
          1. re: crabtree

            I used Blue Ribbon for a swim team banquet and I couldn't agree more. They were incredibly helpful and friendly on the phone and again at delivery. The quantity of food - despite ordering for less people than actually attended (and these were high school boys and their parents) - was amazing, and everything was delicious. I would absolutely use their catering again.

            1. re: crabtree

              Love their catering. It really is amazing what the provide if you, say, order food for 12. Aside from their excellent key lime pie, their pecan, and sweet potato are also awesome.

            2. I love Blue Ribbon's food and people too. They've always bent over backwards when I've asked for their brisket served whole, so I could chill it and slice it myself into nice pieces. Having to have eaten at Redbones recently for a birthday party really reminded how unbelievably beter Blue Ribbon is. In addition to their excellent brisket, their "gold" BBQ sauce really makes it for me. The Key Lime Pie at Blue Ribbon is also a hidden treat.

              I don't get the dig at Barbara Lynch though --- sure her restaurants are expensive, but I've never gotten that "vibe" from anything or anyone there.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lipoff

                With regard to Lynch the primary reason for my comment is that every single place of hers seems to charge the absolute maximum possible for every single thing on the menu frequently drifting into the "gouge you" realm for often scant portions. Butcher Shop is a perfect example. When you feel like every single price point for every single morsel was designed to be as pricey and scant as possible, that for me is not really hospitality.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  This is my overriding complaint about many "quality" restaurants...they are there to get you. Sure, the food is of high quality, but is it worth it when they are taking you for whatever they are able? Everyone gets so caught up in how "great" it is, people don't even stop to think, "hey, I'm getting screwed...but everyone says this place is wonderful, I am ready to fork over whatever they need" I had a "bowl" of housemade gumbo at a place the other day...after tax and tip it came to 11 dollars for a tiny plate of gumbo. Because it's so *special*...authentic housemade gumbo. I can make my own *special* gumbo for a sliver of the cost *and* I will have all I need. Restaurants can really be rip offs, but I guess that's capitalism and the level of demand.

                2. re: lipoff

                  Howdy, I *almost* agree with you (and most folks here) wholeheartedly, but have to clarify my feelings about Blue Ribbon vs. Redbones. I like the food, but I love the consistency and the people. My problem with Redbones is that they are very inconsistent on the food front. When they are on, I think their BBQ is the best around, but all too often it's just... meh.

                  On balance, I'll take Blue Ribbon because I know they are going to serve a consistently good product.