Diner in Crisis!

Dear Seacoast Bites Readers,

We need to have a serious talk about the world of new dining establishments in our area. I’m not talking solely about the Seacoast restaurant scene, but I am feeling down about “new concept” restaurants. Flashy new restaurants  are catching fire in major cities and slowly smoldering into the suburbs; ours included. Trends big cities have seen for years like kale, hamburgers, electronic ordering, “fo-yo,” “farm to table,” and  “pub grub,” are hitting the Seacoast all at once. While it is cool that restaurateurs see the Seacoast as an audience for these cool eateries, sometimes I feel as if the theme is an excuse to discount the quality and taste of food.

In many cases, restaurants provide an all encompassing experience of social interaction, ambience, service, and food. However, at the end of the day, we aren’t ordering food if we aren’t hungry, and we aren’t cleaning our plates if the dish tastes bad. I recently read an interview with Anthony Bourdain who claims millennials are not spending their money on drugs, but choosing to spend their money on fancy restaurants and food “experiences.” Great! Food over drugs, obesity in America, social media at the table, and the promotion of more trendy restaurants that will come and go. To some extent I am over dramatizing the situation, but I know, deep down most of these places do not have the quality to last.

Here is my question,  because it looks good, does it taste good? This is my constant dilemma every time I think about Seacoast Bites. I hope Seacoast Bites is more than the pictures of food; my goal with Seacoast Bites is, and will always be, to provide our readers with a comprehensive look at the best food artisans on the seacoast and the best damn food; whether it is a 50 year old restaurant that has been serving breakfast every day, or the new brew pub in that obscure town.

Lately, I’ll be honest, I’ve been feeling a pressure to visit these new  restaurants that everyone is into. I’ve been feeling like my readers want to hear about these new hot spots and in the fight for relevancy, maybe I won’t be cool if I don’t blog about these new spots.  Do my readers care that their dish has leeks instead of onions? Are people visiting these restaurants because they want to experience the cool new spot? Or, do they spend their hard earned money because of an honest-to-god love of food? Here is my idea, let’s find the good restaurants on the Seacoast, old and new, and let’s talk about them because they taste good, not because they look cool.

One of the worst parts about new restaurants is the use of tablets for taking orders and receiving payment for orders. OK, you’re just grabbing a sandwich for dinner, no big deal to pay on an ipad. But think of it this way, it’s Friday night, you’ve been single for 6 months, you’re on your first date with a new guy. Drinks, a snack, entrees, dessert comes around… the server asks if you would like dessert. You decline explaining you’ll finish your drinks and be all set. The server pulls ipad out of her new “tech-fit,” apron and passes your hot date the ipad expecting him to pay. Out of the blue! How awkward! In this day and age the server is making a judgement on who is paying, when you will finish those beers, and this creates the most uncomfortable end to an otherwise potentially awkward situation. I don’t have time for this.

I am paying to eat at your establishment. There is so much trust involved here, I am paying you my hard earned money, I am hoping you will take my order properly, I am trusting that my food will be delicious and hot, and safe. Put your hair up. Turn down the music so I can hear my company, let me finish my damn drink and let me tell you when I’m ready to leave.

I know you’re thinking that maybe these new restaurants are working out the kinks and I am being harsh. But, by the time a new innovative restaurant makes its way to the seacoast I hope they have an idea of what they’re doing. Maybe it is just me, but an $11 burger $6 chili cheese fries served by a woman with loose long black hair in a “fast-casual” setting which takes 30 minutes to get food to the table while I am waiting in an uncomfortable dining room is not my idea of a good time.

I’m calling for help guys. I’m making it a mission to visit the tried and true HONEST old-school restaurants in our area and show them some love for their long-term success in the restaurant industry. We all know that a successful restaurant is as much as a victory as an Olympic Gold Medal or, to be current,  win a presidential election.  Will these new restaurants serving boutique hamburgers, modern takes on poutine, and kale salads be around for the long haul?

Lets visit those old school joints serving chicken pot pie and cinnamon buns, or chinese, whatever they’ve been doing for years, I want to visit THOSE spots.  I need YOU to tell me your favorite local restaurant that you’ve been visiting since you were a kid. Help a girl out.


1 Comment

  1. Trackside Diner – great breakfast tucked behind a small store that sells newspapers and magazines and has a ticket machine for the Train – which is right outside the window.

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