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Oct 25, 2013 05:57 AM

Joe's American Bar and Grill... I call BS on you!

"the chain distinguishes itself by cooking practically everything it serves – soups, sauces, desserts, pot pies (shells included), tortilla chips and much, much more – from scratch.

"We don't have freezers, and we don't buy premade food," says Sean McDonald, concept chef for Joe's."

Sorry Sean, I call BS. You don't have freezers? Oh really? So you're telling me you, what, hand crank the ice cream when you're making the sundaes on your kids' menus? Your buffalo wings come from your suppliers as a full wing, and you chop them into sections, and never run out of those suckers even during a Superbowl party? And I guess I should assume you make your buffalo wing sauce from vinegar and hot peppers, is that done on a daily basis?

Look, I appreciate chains that want to distinguish themselves from the chains that open plastic packets of food, dump them on plates and heat them up in the microwave, but cut the hyperbole. It's not a failing to admit you have a freezer in your restaurant. It's not even a failing to admit you use base ingredients, such as ketchup, mayo, marinades, spice rubs that are from a supplier. And I fully appreciate the desire to make Public Relations hay on the factors that differentiate you from your competitors. But it's a lot more believable if you don't try to make claims that no way, no how, are true.

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  1. I don't think that having a freezer exclusively for ice cream contradicts his statement about not having freezers. He just wasn't thinking about that one, because ice cream is served frozen. He meant that they don't thaw and heat frozen food to serve hot. That's believable. I used to go to a restaurant that didn't have a freezer.

    1. I'm just gagging at the whole 'concept' concept.

      1. Wing sauce, by the way, is Frank's hot sauce and margarine. I don't think that contradicts McDonald's statement, either. A bottle of Frank's is not "premade food" in the sense he was using it. It's an ingredient.

        2 Replies
        1. re: GH1618

          Fair enough. That's how I make it too. I suppose it's not too hard for them to do it. I just find it reeeaaaaalllly hard to believe they have one small freezer that's only used for ice cream and not also, say, presectioned wing pieces. I don't think there would be any real shame in it if they did keep some meats or stocks or other elements of "from scratch" cooking frozen. I just don't think lack of freezer usage needs to be a required element for "non glop from a package" cooking. After all, I'm a "from scratch" cook myself, and I use my freezer pretty liberally.

          1. re: Chris VR

            Given the frequency of deliveries that they're claiming it's not inconceivable that they only stock a 2-3 day supply of meat, wings included. A logistics headache but presumably one they've thought through.

        2. "the chain distinguishes itself by cooking practically everything it serves – soups, sauces, desserts, pot pies (shells included), tortilla chips and much, much more – from scratch."

          Yes, they prove that they can make and serve lousy food from scratch...........

          We have a branch nearby in Fairfield, CT. Have never had a decent meal there. More expensive and no better than the Longhorns and Applebees of the world.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bagelman01

            That's the thing! I've only eaten there twice and was thoroughly unimpressed! I'm in a less ranty place now than I was when I posted this, though, and have made my peace with it. ;-)

            1. re: bagelman01

              I went to that one a couple of times while in college and thought it was terrible. Not even as "good" as TGI Fridays or Applebee's... and I hate Applebee's.

            2. I worked at Joe,s in Woburn MA. Trust me they have a freezer.

              3 Replies
              1. re: montore1

                Thanks for confirming, it certainly makes sense to me that they would!

                1. re: Chris VR

                  Far be it for me to defend Joe's American...I think it sucks, BUT how long ago did Montore1 work at Joe's. The new ownership occurred 2 years ago and the article you quote from is 9 months old.

                  so: Montore1 may have worked there before the 'new' executive chef and fresh cooking started or Joe's has dropped the fresh cooking concept since the article was written in Feb 2013...............

                  or it's just a bunch of BS

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    Sean was part of the organization when I worked there. He is not so new, but a very nice person.