Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Problem with Visitors to Milwaukee Rating Milwaukee Restaurants--Looking at the Zagat Guide

We don't have a strong Zagat Guide culture in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee restaurants are listed at the back of Chicago guide.

As a result, it's my perception that most of the folks that do the rating are from out of town. And there's no question that they miss things, and tend to be chain oriented. How chain oriented? Only a few years ago, one of the top ten restaurants in Milwaukee was Panera. Now I go to Panera, but there are certainly ten better places to go here and there were five years ago too.

Here's the other thing with chains. Because they are all over the place, they have better penetration in the market. You have to be particularly amazing and also a bit savvy to overcome the fact that you're likelier to rate someplace a mile away rather than ten.

I look at the list and still see these kinds of problems. Five Guys? Really? Better than Sobelman's? Better than Kopp's? I've been there a few times. Come on...although I do wish more Milwaukee eateries used fresh potatoes for their fries. If you do, you should brag about it, otherwise I assume you are lazily dipping into the freezer.

This "best of" thing is part of Five Guys shtick, as you can see when you look at the signage in their restaurants.

And Edwardo's? They are not even trying anymore. I used to go to Edwardo's a lot when it was on Van Buren and so was I. And I wouldn't even rate them the city's fifth best pizza. Here are the pizzas that I think are way better than Edwardo's: Zaffiro's, Transfer, Classic Slice...and you can probably think of a dozen more.

So what would happen if a chain like T.G.I.Friday's, which does happen to be all over New York, made the top ten through sheer omnipresence, and a little "get out the vote" exuberance on the part of Riese (the New York franchisee?) If you've been to one (and we were with my parents years ago, and we were served the tourist menu with higher prices), you know it's not likely. But still.

They'd probably exclude them somehow. But in Milwaukee? Who cares.

See more of the winners in this wrap up.

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