From the Angry Chef (AKA Atlanta Chef Ron Eyester) taking to Twitter to share his fiery opinions on guest complaints to South Park episode You’re Not Yelping, which mocks Yelpers for their self-importance, it’s fair to say that the Yelp reviewer backlash is nowhere near its end. In fact, more recently, Mark Nery, owner and chef of Denver restaurant Onefold, got some attention for his snarky response to Yelp reviews.
So with the fire obviously still burning hot, DiningOut.com decided to ask their Chef Panel how they respond to Yelp reviews. Here’s a look at they said.
“At Vesta, we like to take a proactive approach to both good and bad reviews. With different online forums, we have different abilities to respond, depending on if they leave contact information or not. Any time there is something great or poor, we try to take the time to respond directly to the guests. Especially when we feel that someone has truly had an unpleasant time, was disappointed with something, or even just not thrilled with the entire experience, we reach out to address the concerns specifically”
“I prefer the sport of trying to turn them around. It doesn’t always work, but it’s more enjoyable than getting all fired up and hitting them back. I look at that as dropping to their level of emotional IQ, and why dumb yourself down on purpose?”
“Edible Beats has a simple philosophy: all Yelp reviews (or any online reviews for that matter) should be responded to—good, bad, and indifferent. To be able to connect with Yelpers … allows us to communicate hospitality after the guest has left the restaurant. Even if we messed up their experience when they were at one of the restaurants, we’re hungry to win them back and exceed their expectations—sometimes a simple email to a Yelp reviewer does just that.”
“You should respond to a bad Yelp review with class. They already showed their hand by talking on Yelp. Therefore, there is no need to be defensive or lash out with backhanded compliments and gratitude.”
“It would be better and more productive if customers voiced their displeasure at the time of service and not waited to get home and send ranting emails filled with bad grammar at two in the morning. We have empowered our staff to deal with issues as they come up.”
Check out what the rest of the DO Chef Panel has to say about responding to Yelpers on DiningOut.com→
If you didn’t already know, Colorado is the birthplace of more than just a few food and beverage-related businesses. From Coors to countless craft breweries to casual restaurant chains like Chipotle and Noodles & Company. Let’s not forget the higher end restaurants like The Kitchen, Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, and Sushi Den. Not to mention too many food brands to count.
After some research on the subject, DiningOut featured 10 food products started in Colorado that are now national (and even international) hits; here’s a taste of their list:
1. Noosa Yoghurt (Fort Collins)
When Colorado resident Koel Thomae was visiting home in Queensland, Australia in 2005, she happened upon a little yoghurt shop that was like nothing she’d ever taste.
“That first taste was revolutionary and from that point forward, I was obsessed.”
A couple years later, she stumbled upon a flyer in a coffee shop for a family-owned dairy farm. She cold-called farmer Rob Graves and convinced him to be her business partner. Noosa, which is known for its ultra-creamy texture and inventive flavors (the newest: Blackberry Serrano), landed in Whole Foods immediately, and also gained a local following at farmers’ markets. Soon after, a deal with King Soopers and a big break with Target unleashed Noosa nationally.
2. Hammond’s Candies (Denver)
Did you know that Colorado’s dry climate is prime for candy-making? That’s in part what Hammond’s Candies credits for its success. In 1920, Carl Hammond’s mother told him he could leave school if he started a trade. So he found a gig apprenticing for a candy maker and then opened his own shop.
It wasn’t until some 70 years later when Williams-Sonoma asked to sell Hammond’s toffee that it morphed from a candy corner shop to a manufacturing operation.
In 2007, Andrew Schuman bought the business and scaled up even more into a 93-percent wholesale operation. Today, Hammond’s, which still sources many ingredients locally, is the largest handmade manufacturer of confections in the U.S. You can go see Hammond’s make candy the same way Carl did back in 1920 with a free tour.
3. EVOL (Boulder)
Climbers, car campers, and other recreationists all know the importance of a big, fat burrito to sate the hunger worked up by a long day playing outdoors. Simple to prepare, super hearty, and nutritious, burritos began as a mere hobby for Phil Anson.
But soon, he realized his burritos were good enough to sell.
His earliest outlets were gas station markets and coffee shops. But demand skyrocketed and soon he had one of the fastest growing companies in the natural foods industry under his belt. Now, EVOL has gone beyond burritos to offer bowls, cups, and other frozen entrées, but there’s still nothing quite like a classic EVOL bean and cheese to banish a case of hangry.
4. Boulder Organic Ice Cream (Boulder)
Guess who makes the only pints of organic gelato in the country? Boulder Organic Ice Cream, that’s who! While the brand got its start as a small-time scoop shop on Pearl Street, it now sells its organic ice cream pints regionally (Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, and Nebraska) and its figo! Organic Gelato across the country.
Soon after Whole Foods began carrying the pints, the scoop shop transitioned to a 100-percent manufacturing operation to sell its pints to other ice cream shops and in stores.
If you want it fresh in a cone, you can still find it locally at Larkburger, Eats and Sweets and many other local restaurants and scoop shops. Don’t miss signature flavors like Green Tea, Famous Sweet Cream, and Coconut Crunch!
While the company stopped raising its own bees to accommodate expansion, it’s now resuming the management of some hives.
Another cool fact, because this family-owned company sells its product as far as South Korea and Japan, the White House invited L. R. Rice rep Ronna Rice to attend the State of the Union as an honored guest this year!
6. Bhakti Chai (Boulder)
It’s safe to say that in this millennium, Americans have fallen hard for two Eastern practices: yoga and drinking chai. And Colorado has its fair share of responsibility for the popularization of both.
In fact, Bhakti—one of the biggest brands in chai—was founded by a Boulderite.
It all started when Brook Eddy took a trip to India and discovered the amazing ritual of drinking chai tea. To recreate the experience at home, she began brewing her own chai back in Boulder, to the delight of friends and family. A single mother of twins, Eddy decided to quit her job to launch Bhakti with a commitment to social and environmental change.
DiningOut, along with excited foodies from the Denver/Boulder area, has been eagerly tracking Via Perla’s path to opening for months and they just got their hands on a key piece of the puzzle: Via Perla’s menu.
Now open, the third concept from The Walnut Restaurant Group, famous for Brasserie Ten Ten and The Mediterranean, you can ogle the descriptions of dishes in advance. In addition to a weekly-changing family-style dinner served on Sundays, here are some dishes from the opening menu of Via Perla.
Fried, anchovy-stuffed green olives
Housemade ricotta with lemon zest, thyme, Paniole 2015, and grilled ciabatta
Hamachi, pickled radishes, red grapefruit, Calabrian chiles, and pink peppercorns
Pork-veal meatballs, tomato sugo, basil pesto, currants, and pinoli
Carciofi alla Giudia
Roman-style fried artichokes, garlic, fonduta, and anchovy-focaccia crumbs
Zuppa e Insalata
Tuscan seafood stew with seasonal fish, clams, and green olive tapenade, served with grilled ciabatta
Cavolo alla Griglia
Grilled Savoy cabbage, toasted hazelnuts, piave, garlic fonduta, brown butter, and balsamico
For the Primi and Secondi dishes that Via Perla will be offering, see the full article on DiningOut→
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Dining Out editor Maya Silver had the chance to sit down with Yasu Kizaki, one of the sushi masters behind nationally-renowned Sushi Den, to get the inside scoop on his SLICED! sushi classes and she definitely delivers the goods!
In 2015, Yasu taught 1,000 students how to roll temaki, tatemaki, uramaki, and nigiri, and this marks his 10th year spreading the sushi gospel. Yasu co-owns Izakaya Den, Sushi Den, and their newest venture, OTOTO, with his two brothers: Toshi, master chef; and Koichi who visits the fish market in Japan everyday to hand-select the fish that will arrive at his brothers’ restaurants less than 24 hours later.
The secret to the remarkable success of Yasu’s sushi classes lies in an epiphany he had after the very first one, which he dreamed up after a loyal customer asked him to think of a creative Christmas gift. After the inaugural lesson, Yasu asked his wife Elizabeth, who had sat in on the class, if she had enjoyed it.
“I love you, darling, but …” she began, which Yasu immediately knew was precursor to criticism. “I couldn’t believe how boring it was.”
Yasu was shocked. He had been so excited about the idea of turning his customers into sushi chefs, and now he felt disillusioned by his wife’s cutting honesty.
But then something made sense to him…
“I know!” he said during a revelatory shower. “I need to make fun of my customers.”
And the rest is, more or less, history. In the first year, he offered three classes and didn’t promote them at all, only letting people know about them if they asked. Eventually, he ramped up to one class per month, but when demand grew even more, he increased the classes to weekly. Now, he hosts everyone from mother-and-daughter pairs, to couples and groups of friends, to politicians and businesspersons entertaining their clients, to corporate staffs seeking team-building experiences and professional hackers. Yes, professional hackers love sushi, too.
Yasu draws a diverse audience for good reason. The two-and-a-half-hour experience is one you’ll never forget, and if you do want to learn how to make sushi, there’s simply no substitution for learning from a master in-person. Part sushi-themed stand-up comedy, part storytelling, and part instruction, the class goes by faster than you can say “sliced.”
A few of the things to know before going to one of Yasu’s classes include: It’s Yasu’s way or the highway, prepare to sweet-talk your roll and come hungry!
We’re very excited to announce DiningOut as our new media partner! This partnership will allow us to provide our users with even more news and updates about the restaurant industry, and give DiningOut readers easy access to open jobs in the industry. With our new public API and WordPress plugin, all of Sirvo’s job postings are displayed and searchable directly on DiningOut.com. We think this is a double win for those looking for restaurant jobs in the Denver/Boulder area and businesses hiring on Sirvo.
We’re also collaborating with DiningOut to create more content for members of the industry, such as posts about the best local restaurant companies to work for, round-ups of awesome Denver restaurant jobs, and insider tips and tricks. Stay tuned for this content on our site under “IndiNews”
Since 1998, DiningOut has been bringing you the best of the Denver/Boulder culinary scene with stories, interviews, and recipes from the best restaurants in Denver, Boulder, and beyond. DiningOut publishes two issues annually in the winter and early summer, and tracks breaking news on its website (diningout.com/denverboulder) daily.
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