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Dear God, I sure hope so. If we can't support a PF Chang's, what new chain can we get? I'm sick of GR being the last town to get stuff.

I know people who have moved here from the East side of the State (and from out of state) and they're blown away by the <local> restaurant choices we have here. Why is everyone pining for another chain, when there are already 20 of them along that stretch of the Beltline?

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The post has been taken down and he/she has been given a warning by the site owner.  @wingbert - Become a useful member of the community (like you had been for years) or leave. It's up to you.

Nobody wants to pay the $0.45 / gallon but these type of improvements will not happen without adequate funding.

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I know people who have moved here from the East side of the State (and from out of state) and they're blown away by the <local> restaurant choices we have here. Why is everyone pining for another chain, when there are already 20 of them along that stretch of the Beltline?

...Because it's fun to eat at new places? Local, chain, Eastown, Downtown, Beltline, I want it all, man.

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...Because it's fun to eat at new places? Local, chain, Eastown, Downtown, Beltline, I want it all, man.

Is it? When was the last time you walked out of an Applebees type place and said "Wow! That was good!"? And that birthday song singing was fabulous!! :rolleyes: Me? Probably 20 years ago when they all burst on the scene.

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Hey now, sometimes, you know.

It's true the only occasion I have to go to Applebee's is if I'm staying in a hotel and there's one next door. But are birthday songs at Applebee's really the apex of your chain-dining experience the past 20 years? I want more stuff, and we have the empty store frontage to accommodate. Why be hatin'?

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Hey now, sometimes, you know.

It's true the only occasion I have to go to Applebee's is if I'm staying in a hotel and there's one next door. But are birthday songs at Applebee's really the apex of your chain-dining experience the past 20 years? I want more stuff, and we have the empty store frontage to accommodate. Why be hatin'?

I read an article a few years ago that so aptly described the marketing and science behind chains like Applebees and Chili's, etc., and the demographic they're trying to attract (and why they are now the first to suffer in the economic downturn and the public's yearning for "unique experiences". It even delved into the science of why they build them all about the same size, with about the same number of tables, similar menus, similar systems for determining wait times, and how the food is prepared and shipped in from distribution points (not even close to being "local"). And that a prep or line cook or manager could leave one and be up and running at another one in a few hours. No energy put into creating anything positive or memorable (in fact, they strive to do just the opposite). It's all about brand monotony and catering to many people's inability to step out of the norm. It's basically what fast food places do, just on a "sit down and be waited on" scale. It was a real shocker and eye-opener, and confirmed my distaste for them. I'll have to see if I can dig it up.

Plus, local restaurant owners and farmers need us to keep them in business. Way more of your dollar stays in the local economy, so that these people can turn around and support whatever business you're in.

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Plus, local restaurant owners and farmers need us to keep them in business. Way more of your dollar stays in the local economy, so that these people can turn around and support whatever business you're in.

Yeah, but I don't think either the local restaurant market in GR is over-saturated yet, let alone the overall restaurant market. That's only an impression, so if you think it is, I'll shut up. And I'll point out, whenever I visit GR, I do eat local almost exclusively (obviously, because I can't get it anywhere else).

And keep in mind, I'm not pining for the cookie-cutter chains GR already has, it's more the trendy, niche chains it doesn't have. Would you consider PF Changs as one of the chains targeted in that article? How about Benihana? Or CPK? (I'm not being rhetorical, I'm actually asking) How about Cheesecake Factory? Their food is pretty garden variety, but the cheesecake at the end makes it somewhat unique. Or how about more specialty chains, like Pinkberry? Or Jamba Juice? FIve Guys? I would welcome those to GR in a heartbeat.

Also, just because out-of-towners are blown away by our local fare (they should be, I am too), doesn't mean they won't still be disappointed when they ask you where the closest Potbelly's is, and you tell them "Lansing."

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Yeah, but I don't think either the local restaurant market in GR is over-saturated yet, let alone the overall restaurant market. That's only an impression, so if you think it is, I'll shut up. And I'll point out, whenever I visit GR, I do eat local almost exclusively (obviously, because I can't get it anywhere else).

And keep in mind, I'm not pining for the cookie-cutter chains GR already has, it's more the trendy, niche chains it doesn't have. Would you consider PF Changs as one of the chains targeted in that article? How about Benihana? Or CPK? (I'm not being rhetorical, I'm actually asking) How about Cheesecake Factory? Their food is pretty garden variety, but the cheesecake at the end makes it somewhat unique. Or how about more specialty chains, like Pinkberry? Or Jamba Juice? FIve Guys? I would welcome those to GR in a heartbeat.

Also, just because out-of-towners are blown away by our local fare (they should be, I am too), doesn't mean they won't still be disappointed when they ask you where the closest Potbelly's is, and you tell them "Lansing."

Yes, to all of the above (except the last sentence). I could care less about any of them. We have the equivalent of basically everything you listed, just by a different name. Potbelly's? Seriously, their sandwiches aren't that good.

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Yes, to all of the above (except the last sentence). I could care less about any of them. We have the equivalent of basically everything you listed, just by a different name. Potbelly's? Seriously, their sandwiches aren't that good.

Chipotle? :)

There's nothing inherently wrong with chains. They have their place. I go to chains when I want to cheap out, local places when I want something really good.

Side note: As a free-market libertarian, it bothers me when people advocate for local because it keeps money in the local economy. If that's the reason you eat and shop locally--not because it's better--then you're actually doing the economy a disservice. The reason I eat at local places that use local produce is because the food is actually much better. It's like night and day.

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Chipotle? :)

There's nothing inherently wrong with chains. They have their place. I go to chains when I want to cheap out, local places when I want something really good.

Side note: As a free-market libertarian, it bothers me when people advocate for local because it keeps money in the local economy. If that's the reason you eat and shop locally--not because it's better--then you're actually doing the economy a disservice. The reason I eat at local places that use local produce is because the food is actually much better. It's like night and day.

I don't eat and shop strictly "local" either. And I also agree that I'm not going to use someone local if their product/service is far inferior.

But I also certainly won't advocate for a chain, or if someone asks me "where's a good place to eat?", I'm not going to suggest one of the chain restaurants (because most of them suck). :thumbsup: You're right, the tastes of something that you get at Applebees (for instance) aren't even in the same league as something you get at The Green Well (for instance). And the prices are comparable, and the servers at The Green Well actually KNOW what they're talking about, have been there for years, and will actually sometimes recommend something that might not even be on the menu.

shok.gif Oh, now you're just trying to be hurtful.

Ha, sorry. I've eaten at Potbelly's when I was in Chicago a few times. It's alright. About the same as Quizno's, in my opinion.

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I agree for the most part. But I still think GR is looked at by retailers/restaurateurs as a third tier city. I'd like to see them build here partially just to know that we're taken seriously.

I still think Grand Rapids is an untapped market, with a bad rap from a lot of what is happening elsewhere in Michigan.

Joe

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I still don't see the market supporting a PF Chang's. I'd hope I'm terribly wrong with this assumption, however, GR rightly or wrongly has a strong conservative image attached to it. Why drive out to the beltline when Szechuan Garden in Eastown can serve two for $20? Is the experience PF Chang's sell worth the extra cash?

As an outsider looking in, is GR really a great market? Can GR produce profits for a higher-end restaurant like PF Chang's? Does population trends show growth for the upcoming decade or is the metro market going to be stagnant? If population is to be stagnant and you're a business what would make GR attractive? You're gonna have to steal market from existing businesses.

I don't this is too hard when you're talking Chipotle or Sonic, you're skimming some business from Taco Bell or McDonald's, but the higher price your food, the less the existing market is to pull from to obtain customers.

From a local perspective why go chain when a local restaurant can do equal or better?

I would truly love to be 100% wrong and see the next time I visit this whole area bustling with activity. However, with high unemployment, minimal population growth and a stereotype of being conservative (GR Metro) in nature really surprise anyone why its tough to attract out of state businesses in this current climate?

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I still don't see the market supporting a PF Chang's. I'd hope I'm terribly wrong with this assumption, however, GR rightly or wrongly has a strong conservative image attached to it. Why drive out to the beltline when Szechuan Garden in Eastown can serve two for $20? Is the experience PF Chang's sell worth the extra cash?

Well, obviously I can't say for sure whether or not it'll stay in business, but I think it will, and the fact that it is located on the Beltline gives it the best chance. The reason they built it there is because it's close to Forest Hills, which is mostly upscale neighborhoods. If anyone's going to spend more for dinner, they will. Knapp is a much more convenient destination than Eastown for them, and quite frankly, a lot of suburban dwellers prefer not to head into the city limits.

It's also right by a movie theater, so anybody planning dinner & a movie is probably going to look for restaurants close to the theater.

I also expect it'll be extremely popular when it first opens, just from the name recognition.

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I can look around GR and see quite a few upscale restaurants that seam to be doing just fine. The thinking that GR cannot support these types of establishments is so old school. Green Well, Louis Bentons, Chop House, Six one Six, Bistro Bella Vita, The BOB, and various others all require you to drop at least 40 to 50 dollars for a meal. What makes it any different to think those same people would not frequent PF Changs? I think if you asked around you would be surprised to find the number of people who have actually have driven to Lansing to go to the one there. I personally know of quite a few and a few more who drive from Detroit to visit it.

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I can look around GR and see quite a few upscale restaurants that seam to be doing just fine. The thinking that GR cannot support these types of establishments is so old school. Green Well, Louis Bentons, Chop House, Six one Six, Bistro Bella Vita, The BOB, and various others all require you to drop at least 40 to 50 dollars for a meal. What makes it any different to think those same people would not frequent PF Changs? I think if you asked around you would be surprised to find the number of people who have actually have driven to Lansing to go to the one there. I personally know of quite a few and a few more who drive from Detroit to visit it.

PF Chang's should just fine in GR. Where I live, there are several PF Changs and they are always busy (and I live in a middle America city/suburbs). The restaurant is considered exotic enough to be a special night out, but not so expensive or formal to chase away the more casual diners. No one around here considers it to be all that expensive (not compared to other more upscale options) and you can always stop by for drinks and appetizers. Those who want more authentic Chinese food know where to go, but when Aunt Esther and Uncle Charlie from small town Kansas are in town for a visit, PF Chang's is a good place to take them.

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I still don't see the market supporting a PF Chang's. I'd hope I'm terribly wrong with this assumption, however, GR rightly or wrongly has a strong conservative image attached to it. Why drive out to the beltline when Szechuan Garden in Eastown can serve two for $20? Is the experience PF Chang's sell worth the extra cash?

I've been to PF Chang's in Omaha and it did not feel upscale at all. It's like the Olive Garden of Asian cuisine (food that is kind of overpriced for what it is). I don't remember exact prices and of course they don't have them on their website (guessing they vary by region) but it didn't seem to me that their prices were too terribly far off from places like Olive Garden, Outback, Carraba's. Those places seem to be doing fine. Drive through any of the sprawl areas on pretty much any given night and most of the restaurants are busy. People eat out all the time now and they aren't going to bat an eye at paying a couple bucks more for something they view as a step up from Applebee's.

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Amen. This cheap, dutch stereotype is so frickin' old, exhausted and beaten to death, it makes me sick. I'm sure if you were to look at a number of commercial reports, we are under-served in many areas, and their are still plenty of people with money in GR. It's not like we're dying on the vine here.

Joe

I can look around GR and see quite a few upscale restaurants that seam to be doing just fine. The thinking that GR cannot support these types of establishments is so old school. Green Well, Louis Bentons, Chop House, Six one Six, Bistro Bella Vita, The BOB, and various others all require you to drop at least 40 to 50 dollars for a meal. What makes it any different to think those same people would not frequent PF Changs? I think if you asked around you would be surprised to find the number of people who have actually have driven to Lansing to go to the one there. I personally know of quite a few and a few more who drive from Detroit to visit it.

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By all the counterpoints here, hopefully I'm wrong and a successful PF Chang's leads to a Cheese Cake Factory, Ruth's Chris, etc and so forth that GR needs.

Well, don't get carried away! It may happen, but probably will take some time. Btw, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse closed here in Denver some time ago (at least the one in Lower Downtown - the hip, happening neighborhood. Don't know if there are others in the metro area). Strange name for a restaurant, anyway.

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Well, don't get carried away! It may happen, but probably will take some time. Btw, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse closed here in Denver some time ago (at least the one in Lower Downtown - the hip, happening neighborhood. Don't know if there are others in the metro area). Strange name for a restaurant, anyway.

I ate at the Ruth's Chris before. It struck me as kind of small if I remember right.

The name came from a buyout. It used to be Chris Steaks and the woman that bought it was named Ruth Udstad thus becoming Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

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