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Letter of the Week – Can Gambling Mix With Gastronomy?

http://thebollard.com/files/2008/10/video_poker_inside.jpg
Dear ELV,

As I spoke to you in the past about opening up a restaurant. I am in the process of submitting my email did with the owner of the building. As a family friendly restaurant, gaming does not sound that inviting. But as a small business owner looking to generate revenue it does. So as a well respected food critic I was curious of your views on that subject.

Question for you sir: Do you think gaming in a restaurant such as Vintner Grill lowers the aspect or reputation of a restaurant? For instance if Honey Salt had gaming would that change your perception of it?

Thank you very much, .

Yours very truly,

Venal Video Virgin

ELV responds:

Dear Triple V,

The answer is yes and yes.

The question you need to ask yourself is” Do you want  fools or foodies as customers?

The general public doesn’t know enough to care (or doesn’t care enough to know), but video poker and good food never mix. As soon as any serious diner sees a bank of machines at a bar (or advertised on the signage), they should head elsewhere. And yes, if Honey Salt had gaming, I wouldn’t have even reviewed it. Gambling machines are a sure signal the owner doesn’t give a shit about the food (it doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be good enough).  They’d rather rake in the easy cash.

Slot junkies (and addicts are what they are, no matter what they try to tell you) are a crowd vastly different from those seeking quality food and drink. That, being said, VG pulls it off better than any place in town — mainly because the chef/partner Mathew Silverman is so passionate about putting out a quality product.

A better example of what I’m talking about is the late, hardly lamented Becker’s Steakhouse — a big flashy restaurant built around a huge oval bar with slot machines. The minute I walked in, I knew it was a lost cause (both gastronomically and as a business).

Bottom line: Do you want to be a restaurateur or a video poker bar owner? You’ll work your ass off as the former, and more likely get rich as the latter, but try to combine the two and you won’t succeed at either.

Sincerely,

Vexed by Video (aka ELV)

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One Response to Letter of the Week – Can Gambling Mix With Gastronomy?

  • i was surprised to see VP machines set into the bar at Vintner Grill, like it was a bar in a casino. But the experience was great. And I didn’t spend any time at the bar.

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