What a great topic and yet so, so sad. That’s why it is so hard for independent oeprators to make it. You have to give them a chance and so many people don’t even know what good food is anymore. When you try to suggest an independent restaurant, they get worried.
Does it seem like only NY’ers support the independent restaurants?
We are lucky I guess. Our kids are now trained to be tuned into looking for interesting non-chain food when we visit. Since we pick up the tab almost all the time they don’t mind. Our grandchildren are still young enough that chicken nuggets and fries will satisfy them and most restaurants seem to have that on the children’s menu. At the last place I reported on, Kate’s on State in La Crosse, did not have a children’s menu but the bread serving before dinner sufficed for the two year old along with trying to unscrew the salt shaker and pepper grinder. They generally get supplementally fed the proper nutrition at home after if they don’t eat much in the restaurant.
I have been fortunate. Trudy and Sam both like a wide variety of foods and rarely want a chain too desperately. Plus Burgerville is a local chain that allows me to indulge my fast food jones with little guilt. When I take MRDD clients to McDonald’s or BK, I can get a soda off the dollar menu and be happy.
Davy, I do understand the ‘group process’mentality, and endured it for ages! As I hope you are finding as you start the ‘retirement era’, It is nice not to be boxed into those work-related group decisions!
When we go to dinner with some of my kids I will usually give them the option of one of 4 or 5 places that Jan and I like. If they really don’t want to go to one of those, I will hear them out and try to work a compromise…but I seldom have them make the selection without guidence, after all I am the one paying the tab !! I also check to see if the ‘gang’ includes grandchildren, they seem to narrow the list by their presence!!
Mayor, sometimes value of companionship is not the criteria. Other than traveling with my wife most of my groups have been with business associates and often captive with one rental car. Fortunately, I had always worked with associates that shared food adventure and if there were any chain lovers I suspect they kept their mouths shut. My only regret was one time I was traveling with a vegetarian (and my work superior) and we were staying in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I could only look longingly at that over abundant seafood pier. [:(]
I think I would have to consider two things that are being talked about as if they are "absolutes". I don’t believe that most folks make these decisions as if they are "all or nothing" choices.
1. The value of the companionship of the group. Do I want to be WITH them, and if so, how badly do I want to be there??? I think it would be a sliding scale,
2. Where is the group heading to for a meal. Again it is a sliding scale. These two variables interact directly in my decision-making process. There may be some places at the low end of my "Let’s Go There" list, but there are many in the middle, being more a "I would prefer somewhere else, but if you really want to, then ok"
My wife likes ‘Cheddars’, I don’t think much of the chain, but I don’t hate it. So Since I enjoy the companionship of my wife at dinner, if she wants to go to Cheddars, now and then, it’s no big deal to me. On the other hand if I am contacted by Poverty Pete to meet for lunch, I will probably select the RALLY’s Drive-Thru, since I know he will probably stick me with the tab for the meal !![;)][;)][}:)]
So should I consider myself lucky that I have never even heard of "Carraba’s"?! And only have been to an Outback once I think (a lonnnnng time ago). [:)]
I used to travel & hang out with with a group of hungry athletes. Oddly we always did very RF places at home and a few great ones in familiar locations… but then when further afield we had to do chains! I never understood that. I guess like someone said it was about the "familiar"…
Since I retired from my sport, I have not set foot in another Olive Garden! (But I did like the endless bread… I admit it.)
Is a compromise possible? What I mean here is, join the gang at the chain and order carefully and in small portions then go to the RF place later and/or take out (maybe they will even deliver to the hotel for a large tip?)and have a great midnight snack.
Also ya gotta admit not everyone cares about food, and jsut goes to a chain for security and predictability, not for the food.
I have a travel companion that insists on eating at the Hard Rock Cafe 🙁
I believe she should get her way since some of the time I get mine. But Hard Rock, come on!
Earl of Sandwich
Hey, at least you got a great story out of it. [:D]
Oh Ron, I would have blown my stack. I’m always amazed how many people there are out there like that though. You were very kind.
When I traveled to open stores in 5 different states, we had a food credit card. The places where set up in advance, cost was a factor to make the trip profitable. The folks I traveled with would marvel how good the food was. We are talking Denny’s, Shari’s, Taco Bell! I really think because the company was paying for food, it tasted better to them!
The past 10 years, I have been locally based. Meetings and trainings are held in fine hotels. Instead of eating in a really good place downtown, they would order pizza from a chain! YUK!
I traveled for 10 years, exhibiting at trade shows. I took my engineer to Paris for a 2-week stint, and he sulked about not having his SKIPPY on white every day for lunch, and even asked me, "Don’t they have any other kind of bread here?" In France, where bread is a religious object!
So, feeling bad for him, I found a cafe that served "American-style" breakfast, and took him there early one morning on the way to the metro. And what did he order?
Earl of Sandwich
You have to pick your "spots" as to when you can do this. This past year I was in St Augustine for a family reunion. My brother & sister & I went out one night to get a pizza and they were interested in a chain. I told them they should try a real pizza from one of the local places. They were amazed at the difference and ended up thanking me for going to the local place.
Loads of good advice here.
Basically, do not let the mob mentality win. Mc Donalds serves (fill in the blank) billions because of the same fear of the unknown that plagues most people in a foreign place. Whether its Europe or Ohio, find someone who can help you get decent cuisine.
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