Weekly round-up 03/07/08

the cheesecake factory

A relatively quiet week of reviews, I assume everyone is too busy rejoicing the warming weather to sit and slave over their keyboards.

Stacey Kratz of The Deseret News is first up, as she braves the hordes of The Cheesecake Factory. The arrival of this national chain eatery doesn’t get me too excited, but apparently I am in the minority.

Stacey talks about 3 hour waits for a table at the recently opened Murray location. Her review of the crowds, décor and menu make me shiver, my personal idea of dining hell. I am totally flummoxed by these places. I don’t recall ever having a chain restaurant meal that was *that* good. I’ve certainly never had one worth waiting for. Stacey ends her piece asking how long would you wait for a table. Can any chain be worthy of a wait is my counter question. I’d much rather spend my hard earned with the local independent guy, rather than a corporation. I guess that makes me a food hippie.

The Cheesecake Factory: Fashion Place, 6223 S. State Street Unit 2001, Murray, UT 84107

city weekly

Ted Scheffler over at the City Weekly heads over to Sandy to the new Fratelli Ristorante; this is the latest restaurant from the family who brought us Cannella’s. The review is a mixed bag but alludes to a restaurant with much potential. The fare seems basic family-style Italian fare, e.g. meatballs, pasta, salads.

Fratelli Ristorante: 9236 South Village Shop Drive (approximately 1000 East)

More entertaining is Ted’s rant about being made to wait for his pie at Marie Calendars. It’s worth a read to see just how upset Ted gets, especially when he was at fault himself by being 2 hours late in the first place. I get the feeling he wouldn’t make the same mistake with a restaurant reservation. Ted relax, life is too short!

pizzeria 712

Whilst not a review of their own, the Salt Lake Chow Hounds dispatch an Orem friend to Pizzeria 712. Despite the location not being known for great dining, Pizzeria 712 seems to be up to the challenge of the popular Settebello.

Pizzeria 712: 320 S. State Street, Orem

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3 COMMENTS

  1. In general I agree, although when you live in a place like Orem you don’t have a lot of other choices. For example, Chef’s table is a bad poser. Ted Scheffler must have been high to give the place a good rating. I’m the one who sic’ed Chow Hounds on Pizzera 712. It really is good.

    However, P.F. Changs somehow got a Michelin star in Las Vegas – holy shit Batman. I’ve been to P.F. Changs in Dallas, Boston, Orem and Princeton recently. Huh???? OK, but not great. I do know some chains can have real differences. The Carrabas in Orem — actually quite good. The one in Plano Texas — not so good.

    Ruth’s Chris — won’t sell dry aged prime — the water in wet aged prime sells for several dollars an ounce there. But, it’s still a chain, and pretty good, along with a number of businessmen’s steak houses.

    I ramble. I just don’t get the hype over Cheesecake Factory. The press say’s SLC has arrived now it’s here. Getting Ruth’s Chris — ho hum. I don’t get the place either. It’s just another symbol with all that’s wrong with modern dining for the masses.

  2. Opps. I made the mistake of copying a quote and using an HTML character to set it off. So, it disappears into the ether. Someday software will be written to handle these things. I was responding to the thoughts about chain restaurants. I’m on the road 100 days, or more, a year trying to avoid chain restaurants. Ive done this for many years. I just don’t get those I travel with wanting to go to a chain. Isn’t the whole idea of eating somewhere different to eat at a place that tastes different?

    I’ve only had one time where I really wanted to eat at a chain and know the bland food I was going to get. I was in Tibet and China shortly after Tiananman square. It was the first year China allowed foreign “guests” into some of the places I went. After losing 10 lbs over two weeks trying to eat the local food, the Pizza Hut in Hong Kong never looked so good.

  3. Rod, point well made. I can definitely appreciate that chain restaurants have their place for various reasons. I’ve eaten in enough due to last minute plans, picky dining partners etc.

    I think we both agree that if a locale has a decent independent option to dine at, that always wins over the Chilli’s or Applebees next door.

    Maybe Orem is ripe for a brave restaurateur to invest some time and money!

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