Remember that time The New York Times’ Pete Wells went all the way off in a restaurant review of celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square?
“Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?” Wells asked, one of a lengthy series of over-the-top questions that made up the entirety of the article.
“Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?… Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste?” it continues. It is brutal poetry.
Despite the acerbic review, that restaurant is one of the top moneymakers in all of New York, proving that people on vacation really don’t care what they eat so long as they don’t have to do the dishes.
Restaurant Business conducted its ranking of the top dining establishments in the city (all are independent restaurants) and American Kitchen comes in at number nine, raking in $16 million in 2013.
Topping the list is steakhouse Smith & Wollensky with nearly $25.5 million. And rounding out the top five are Tao New York ($22.8 million), Buddakan ($21.5 million), Sparks Steak House ($17.6 million) and 21 ($17.1 million).
When you take a look at the whole list, it’s clear what will most determine whether your restaurant will be a success are whether steak is a main item on the menu and location, with many of the restaurants residing in high-traffic tourist areas or places in the city where expensive business lunches are a major source of revenue.
But none on the list suffered the verbal beat down that Fieri’s venture did. It was so bad, Savannah Guthrie took a Today camera to the restaurant to gather feedback from Fieri.
Fieri isn’t a rich, popular chef for no reason. The man clearly knows what appeals to the masses and how to sell a plate of food to hungry diners. To some, the review may have come off like some high falutin’ critic dissing on food that regular folk like to eat. I don’t agree with that — we all have taste buds and if something is a hot greasy mess, anyone can tell. But that reputation could color the way people take in his thoughts… with a grain of salt, if you will.
Surely, Fieri is somewhere having one of those blue nuclear waste drinks and yukking it up. Much like bad movie reviews, customers will choose to ignore the critique they simply don’t want to hear.