[Commentary] Having a (Negative) Opinion

Something fascinating is currently happening to me right now. I’m in the midst of a backlash for sending out a tweet that was honest and opinionated.

This blog has been around for about 5 years now. In that time, we’ve eaten a lot of food, drank a lot of beer, and made a lot of friends. What we haven’t done is be very negative. Our stance has always been that we don’t have time for negativity, but sometimes we need to make time for the not so fun stuff.

The desire┬áto be more honest and critical came from a recent interview I read with David Chang, Momofuku chef & owner, entitled “Chef David Chang explains why Yelp probably won’t lead you to your favorite burrito.” This quote resonated with me, “When you get reviewed by one of the top critics, they are advocates for the consumer. Even though they have their own personal bias, they are working to put themselves in the shoes of what somebody might want in terms of value and food for the people who might go to that restaurant.” I’m not saying I’m a “top critic,” however, I am saying I want to try harder.

Trying harder means not being afraid to write things that aren’t all puppy dogs and rainbows. Trying harder means being more balanced. Trying harder means having balls.

Before I thought, “Detroit doesn’t need negativity,” and I still believe that, but Detroit also doesn’t need entitlement and mediocrity. Just because a place has been in business for 25 years doesn’t mean they’re entitled to preferential treatment or a positive review. It also doesn’t mean that their food is great or even decent. ┬áDuring a recent conversation I had with a gentleman who travels often, he made the following point: “the “best” burger according to any review site or google is rarely ever correct. Do you think Shake Shack has the best burger in New York? Hell no, but they do have some of the best PR.”

Don’t be fooled by subpar PR. Don’t be fooled by lazy social media. When it comes to spending your money, think critically about where it’s going. Just because a place can afford an ad, a commercial, and banner ads on every website doesn’t mean they’re serving delicious food.

We shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than great because each and every one of us is spending our hard earned dollars trying to satisfy our hunger. Whether that satisfaction comes from a hamburger or a chef’s tasting menu is of no consequence, what’s important is you get your money’s worth.

Can The Hungry Dudes help make sure your money is being spent wisely? We hope so.

 

8 thoughts on “[Commentary] Having a (Negative) Opinion

  1. Thoughtful and right on. I too try to focus on the positive when discussing food. I’ve had less than pleasurable experiences here and there, but would not tell someone to avoid a restaurant because I had a bad meal– there are so many factors at work– I could be in a bad mood, stressed, or maybe the kitchen is just having a bad day– it happens. I also take all negative yelp reviews w/ a grain of salt!

  2. I agree that you are allowed to criticize food. Heck, you’re a CRITIC! I think, however, that’s where the criticism should end, the food. Not calling out a company, a family, or a worker. We get it, you probably don’t like andiamo for whatever reason. But to basically filet them in 140 characters is pure tasteless and even worse, a low blow. You were at a charity event where they mass-produced those meatballs. I like your stuff, but it sounds like you were bitter because you weren’t chosen to play basketball in 4th grade.

    • Scott: This is exactly the point I was trying to make. This IS a charity event and people paid their hard earned money to be there. By your logic, it’s OK for a place like Andiamo to “mass produce” something because it’s a charity event? Are the people there not expected to eat well? Other restaurants there busted their butts to make sure something memorable was on the plate, so to mass produce something seems a little like phoning it in, doesn’t it?

      I wasn’t filleting anyone. Instead the thought was if someone from outside of metro Detroit was given that meatball, it was a sad representation of Italian food. There are plenty of places out there making fantastic meatballs – places that would LOVE to have an audience like The Garden Party. This was a time to shine – not to mass produce something.

      • I get your point, and yes, other restaurants would love to have been invited. But they weren’t, because of the quality of their food, and good they do for their community. Also, i think you missed the bigger point, which is, you have a duty as a critic to critique their food,but thats where it ends. I dont come to your website to find out your disdain for the brand. I come to find what food you liked and didnt.

  3. An occasional bad blast is necessary from time to time, especially for the established restaurant that gets complacent and wants to rely on their reputation rather than quality of goods. As a consumer and a producer I appreciate someone willing to tell things as they are. Do what you do Joe! If these people want to spread some B.S. let them hire a PR firm to spread it around. Don’t let people like Scott or Andiamo’s dissuade you from doing the right thing!

    • Ruben, that’s totally agreeable. A blast is fine! i’m all about calling people to the carpet when their food is subpar, but for someone to attack someones character, that’s where i have an issue. I never once said that all of the reviews should be “champagne and caviar”. Far from it. But to tell people not to go somewhere because you may or may not have a vendetta against said location, that’s where I have the problem. I am a realtor, and my reputation is all I have. I work my butt off to make people happy. I also rely on referrals and people that have used my services to gain more clients. If you came to me today and asked me to help you, and I wasn’t able to help you get exactly what you wanted, but was one of the nicest people you met, would you go and tell people that i was a dispicable human being? That’s all i’m saying.

  4. I have to completely agree with you here Joe. Stagnation that comes from people latching on to certain businesses because they’ve heard or read something (PR or advertising) that says they are the best is harmful for the industry and the economy. How many excellent restaurants have gone under because the crowds were going to the venue around the corner who had the money to buy the ad rather than because their food or service was actually better. Well stated, You are doing a lot of good for the City, the State and the industry. Don’t let it get you down.

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