I spend a lot of time and moo-la buying food in the Central Corridor. So I am happy to see all the articles and foodie blogs encouraging people to do the same, especially during construction. But I had an bad experience today that made me a bit frustrated with the whole scene. Here's my advice: Come to the corridor. Spend heaps of money. But please don't give us your sympathy eats.
And by that I mean, don't just shovel down food and smile because you feel sorry for these businesses. Do it because you cherish them, and because so many of them are ridiculously good - some of the best in the Twin Cities.
So I'm a horrible person, I know. But here's the problem. Say you go to a certifiably amazing restaurant, like Homi or Little Szechuan or Hoa Bien or Maison Darras. You jump right onto Facebook, Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Twitter, etc. and proclaim to the world that you have in fact discovered the Central Corridor, and it is freaking delicious.
Then you read on those sites that someone else had lunch at another place that needs your support. What is this great place you've never tried? You must go there immediately and support that business, too! Except, at this other place - waaaah wah - the food sucks. The service is terrible. You hate the Central Corridor. How could someone have recommended this awful food? You never want to see University Avenue again. Or Saint Paul. You retreat to Eden Prairie and eat Lunchables in your car.
And so it goes. Now what if you had gone there first, and never found the really good stuff? We've put all restaurants on a even playing field during construction. Save the restaurants! The good, the bad, and the yucky! I admit I've been to new restaurants since construction started - ones I had never eaten at before and hopefully will never eat at again. And while that is the harsh truth, I feel like it's time to throw down. Impress me with your food first. Toss in some decent service and I'm yours for life. Being on the corridor is just not going to cut it for me, cause I need to eat well, even during construction.
So back to my bad day. I ordered a sandy from a restaurant that has been hurting from construction.* Actually, I ordered it 4 times, like I was in some sort of SNL skit or involuntary game of telephone. I think it went something like this.
"I'll try the chicken salad sandwich."
"Ok [writing it down]. You want a purple piano banana bingo salad, riiight?"
"Uh. No, I just wanted a chicken salad sandwich - no tomato."
"Oooook. Soooo, that's actually a sandwich. Not a salad. You want the salad?"
"No. I want the bread-shaped thing. A chicken salad sandwich. For the love of God."
$7.35 later, I had 3 chunks of chicken rolled in mayo and placed on the world's smallest ciabatta. With tomatoes. So, yep, that's the very last of my sympathy eats. Demand greatness, people. It's out there to be found.
*I know better, which is what makes me so mad about this situation. Maison Darras has the best chicken salad on the planet and I should never ever stray!