Submitted By Simon Hardy Butler, February 9, 2017
Who gets to define the “hipness” of the crowd at a restaurant?
Is cool now measured by the length of one’s beard? The taste for kale or pork belly? The tilt of one’s fedora?
You know, the octogenarian fellow in the bow tie sitting next to you might like Coldplay and Jonathan Franzen novels and Wes Anderson movies, too.
And he might just utter the word “umami” once in a while when sampling mushrooms or sea urchin during his farm-to-table dinner.
Let’s get real: Hipness is in the eye of the beholder, and eateries that try too hard to attract a scintillating clientele should stop the insanity. There’s nothing wrong with the “ordinary” customer, and in fact, that might be an even greater lure than a “hot” patron … who might look good but know little about what tastes good. Substance beats show, n’est-ce pas?
Get me a guy or gal who wants a great meal for a good value over some doofus looking to nosh with the “in”-snobs any day.
Oh, and give me weird food and stuff I haven’t seen before on a plate and mushy throwaway things and hard, castoff bizarr-ities in my glass and any kind of odd slop for dessert at a cheap price before I jump for someone proffering overpriced, high-end tidbits arranged in a tiny bowl and geared to jaded, pretentious braggarts who only gravitate to eateries when they have reputations, not when they’re building them.
The issue for me is that some places seek a certain type to enhance their appeal, and to my mind, the thing that best does that isn’t how someone looks or behaves, but how wonderful the overall culinary experience is—and how much it’s dug by the guests. If it’s only the folks with handlebar mustaches and designer coffee mugs who can feel the love for a property, you know something’s wrong.
Because terrific food must be accessible to all. That’s what I’m getting at.
So restaurateurs of today. please consider this when marketing your new eatery. Popularity doesn’t stop at the edge of one’s tattoo. It stops when the quality stops. Which is a phenomenon that has lasted since the dawn of dining out.
Surely, it will continue on into the dusk of culinary history as well.