Posts Tagged ‘Let’s Be Frank’

Yelp Fraud: New Stow Lake Boathouse a Huge Success in Golden Gate Park, But Old Regime Just Can’t Let Go

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

[UPDATE: Bagdad by the Bay just looked into things.]

Well, everything’s going great at your new and improved yet-pretty-much-the-same-except-for-the-food Stow Lake Boathouse in Golden Gate Park.

Here’s what it looks like these days:

Click to expand

Just check the Yelp for early reviews. They’re almost all highly positive.*

But what’s this? Some “brother” from Oakland, “Les. L,” is not happy, not one bit! He’s the only Yelper giving a less than positive review.

I’ll allege that Les is not some youngish dude from Oakland, but rather a wealthy, white, preservationist-minded, NIMBY-mentalitied, real-estate-obsessed, highly-opinionated woman of a certain age who lives in the West Bay.

Let’s check it out her one-star report:

“What happened to the cool local people that worked there?”

Um, this is an improbable start to a Yelp review. Gee, maybe they busy themselves with sock puppetry on Yelp these days, just like you, “Les L?”

“Everyone we saw was white, which is weird for SF. We drove over from the East Bay to rent boats with my 2 kids and my mom.”

Oh what’s that, Les? There’s not enough flava for you over here in the West Bay? That’s funny? Did you know that all the people behind the old boat house and the Save the Boat House Coalition are white, or pretty much? What were you expecting?

“The kids couldn’t reach the pedals in the boat we rented. How’s that? It’s for kids, right?”

The old boats, the ones sold off for $500, maybe they were inappropriate for adults? Maybe the kids can just come along for the ride? A paddleboat is a paddleboat, pretty much.

“After a unhappy boatride, my mom tripped on the crappy stairs in front of the boathouse. She was bleeding, the kids were crying, and no one bothered to help us.”

What were you unhappy about, Les? That Bruce lost his lease? It happens. Or you were unhappy because there were too many Whities about?

“An old man sitting on a bench helped us and said the boathouse was just taken over by a New Mexico chain. We won’t be back.”

More improbability. Oh well.

Oddly, Les L., straight outta Oak-Town, also has a big beef with Chicago Title Co. in lily-white Campbell, CA, the wealthiest(?) part of the South Bay.

And, oddly, “his” dentist, with whom “he” also has a big beef, is clear all the way in the burbs of the West Bay.

On It Goes…

*Perhaps too positive. “Ashley c.” is a another one of those Yelp fraudsters, it would appear.

Stow Lake Boathouse Update: Open for Business – New Paint, Slow Pace, Room for Old People – Photos

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Well, lots of things are pretty much the same these days at the Stow Lake Boathouse, which was reopened by the new tenant on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011.

See? 

Click to expand

Check the new photo gallery – it’s quite complete.

But, here’s something new. It’s a sign in honor of boathouse founder Mr. Cal Tilden & the McLellan* Family, 1946-2011:

(Quite civil to post this sign, if you ask me.)

Get more deets via Aaron Sankin - here’s Huffington Post San Francisco going long-form on this issue: Stow Lake Boathouse Fight: A Battle For the Soul Of Golden Gate Park. Or there’s this here, if you want to click through the lengthy history over the prior months and years…

Le mise-en-scene:

If anything, the pace of life is even slower than that of the era of the prior tenant. Nobody’s hurried at all. And there’s more room, more benches for “old people” to lollygag about.

And here’s your new Boathouse Dog, which is from a better supplier and which is being sold at a cheaper price:

Yes, pink popcorn from Wright’s:

All the players:

And what’s this, new paint, finally, after all these years? These guys started working on Wednesday:

So there you have it.

*Yes, that’s a rapping raven, a confabulating corvid at the end of the first video, calling for a boycott of the boathouse.

Presenting Your Stow Lake Boathouse & Cafe “Restoration Time” Menu: $3.25 Hot Dogs, $6.95 Sustainable Tuna Salads

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

At long last, it’s here. It’s the interim menu for our Stow Lake Boathouse & Cafe.

Is this menu too foo-foo yuppie for you? Is $3.25* too much for a Let’s Be Frank grass-fed beef** hot dog?

As always, You Make The Call: 

Click to expand

*Well, I’ll tell you, that’s cheaper than what the former tenant was charging. Here’s some more from the clinically-absurd SaveStowLake.org crowd:

“Seniors will no longer be able to gather freely at the boathouse. Prices will be more than doubled on all food items. Middle class and low-income families will be driven out of this spot that is designed to be for all…not just the wealthy.”

I’ll tell you, everything that the Save Stow Lake people have predicted has turned out to be shrill, alarmist bullcrap. JMO.

** These snappy dogs are loaded with flavor, not junk! Using premium cuts from cattle raised on pasture in California (naturally high in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids!) and organic spices, we’ve crafted a delicious dog that’s lower in fat, calories and sodium than conventional franks. No nitrites, nitrates, hormones, or antibiotics, ever.”

Bevan Dufty Hosts Street Food Panel Discussion at Our Main Public Library

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Had to bail early from this joint last night as I’m stalking a bricks-and-mortar restaurantuer these days.* But talk with LIBAfalafel sometime – she’ll tell you all about it:

“Spoke on panel tonight with former Sup Bevan Dufty and Larry from Let’s Be Frank about streetfood. Loved seeing sparkle in audience’s eyes”

Imagine it went something like the time that then-Supervisor and, more or less, Mayor of Noe Valley Dufty brokered a deal with the Google Bus people and area NIMBY’s. Good times from 2007:

(Bevan performs well this King Solomon kind of role.)

Hey did you know that the point of last year’s food truck legislation was to “protect” unpopular eateries? Check it.

(Uh, hello, Golden Gate Restaurant Association? It’s me, Margaret. The people behind the trucks aren’t “getting into” the restaurant biz, no no. They’s in it already. Hellooo-oooooo. Oh, and nice job fighting against letter grading, GGRA.)

Anyway, I’m ignorant of the points people were making last night. I’ll update with more info when and if…

*(2/10/11 – it’s the black kitty what’s named Fluffy, will return tomorrow)

Bevan Dufty’s Street Food Panel Discussion Coming to Main Public Library February 10th, 2011!

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

From SF FYI Net comes news of the Great San Francisco Street Food Movement Panel Discussion Featuring Bevan Dufty:

Street Food Movement in Francisco
When: February 10, 2011 – Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Where: San Francisco Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco
What: Panel discussion: Street food movement in San Francisco: Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Larry Bain of Let’s Be Frank, Veronica Salazar and Margarita Rojas of La Cocina

Can The Bevan bring peace to the whacked-out bricks-and-mortar crazies vs. street food purveyors war?

Leader of the crazies, Alison Rowe, parking her car to block a legal competitor:

Via John Birdsall

Alison Rowe, what a liar!

The New Zagat Book is Here! The New 2011 San Francisco Zagat Book is Here!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

OMG it’s here! The new 2011 Zagat for San Francisco Dining is here.

And unlike telephone books, our “Burgundy Bible” is something Bay Areans actually still want to have these days.

This year, just like last year, it’s all Gary Danko. Pretty much.

But there’s a lot of other stuff in today’s release. Stuff like this:

“An overwhelming 83% of San Francisco surveyors say they agree that restaurants should be required to conspicuously post a letter grade reflecting the results of their health department inspection (as recently passed in NYC, taking a cue from LA).”

Check it out, below

Zagat 2011 Bay Area Survey Reveals Diners Cutting Back, Yet Getting Values, In Tough Times

Ninety-Four Noteworthy Newcomers Show Restaurateurs are Betting on the Future; Food Trucks Roll into the Rankings; San Francisco Diners Support Healthful Eating; Gary Danko Sweeps for Food, Service and Popularity; El Tonayense Named “Best Buy”

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21 — Zagat Survey released its 2011 San Francisco Restaurant Survey today, with results available in print, on ZAGAT.com and via ZAGAT TO GO for iPhone, iPad and Android. This year’s Survey covers 1,373 restaurants in the greater San Francisco Bay Area from the Wine Country up North to Carmel down South. Nearly two-thirds of the restaurants in the guide feature dinner costs under $40 and lunches below $30. Based on the feedback of over 10,000 avid local consumers, the typical Zagat-Rated restaurant was visited by surveyors over twice a day.

Cloudy Weather: The nation’s economic woes continue to affect local restaurateurs, as the average meal cost in San Francisco saw an unprecedented decline – a 1.6% decrease, from $39.40 in 2009, to $38.78 this year. Furthermore, the average cost of dining at the 20 most expensive restaurants has dropped 4.4% since the recession started. When asked how the economy is affecting their dining habits, 43% of surveyors report eating out less, 39% are more attentive to prices, 36% are picking less expensive places and 16 to 21% have cut back on alcohol, appetizers and desserts. Also, 10% say they’re less likely to try new places. Importantly, despite San Francisco’s reputation as a culinary center, locals report dining out 2.8 times per week on average, down from 3.2 pre-recession and below Zagat’s current 3.2 national average.

Silver Lining: Nonetheless, since the economic downturn, 50% of surveyors report finding better deals, 40% feel their patronage is more appreciated and 36% say it’s easier to land a table. While 59% of surveyors cite poor service as their top irritant when dining out, the decrease from 66% pre-recession suggests an improvement in the front-of-house. And it seems diners are starting to put their money where their mouths are, as the average tip increased from 18.4% pre-recession to 18.6% now. That there are 94 new arrivals in the Survey shows that restaurateurs are betting on the future.

“The down economy has made dining out more affordable, and diners have plenty of options to choose from,” said Tim Zagat, CEO and Co-Founder of Zagat Survey. “However, the good news for consumers may be bad news for restaurateurs as dining spending has declined. Fortunately, 51% of surveyors are confident that fine-dining out will bounce back with the economy.”

Keep on Truckin’: For the first time in the San Francisco guide, surveyors put food trucks and pop-up eateries on the map with full ratings and reviews – a welcome resource for the 23% of locals who report following food trucks (and other restaurants) via Twitter and Facebook. It’s also notable that this year’s Best Bang for the Buck is El Tonayense, a traveling taco-truck fleet (with a brick-and-mortar offshoot). It even bested In-N-Out Burger, as well as last year’s best buy, Saigon Sandwiches (now No. 2 and No. 3, respectively). More mobile eateries can be found on ZAGAT.com, including RoliRoti, Spencer on the Go! and hot dog purveyor Let’s Be Frank, and farmer’s market stands like 4505 Meats, Cal-Korean Namu and Tacolicious.

It goes on and on, see you after the jump

(more…)

The New Zagat Book is Here! The New 2010 San Francisco Zagat Book is Here!

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Oh it’s here, the new 2010 Zagat for San Francisco Dining is here. Unlike telephone books, the “Burgundy Bible” is something Bay Areans actually still want to have these days.

This year, it’s all Gary Danko. Pretty much.

But there’s a lot of other stuff in today’s release. Check it out, below:

zagat_logo copy

SF Bay Area Diners Adjust Habits in Response to Slow Economy

SAN FRANCISCANS ARE EATING OUT LESS, BUT BEING TREATED BETTER GARY DANKO IS BIG WINNER; BOTTEGA NAMED TOP NEWCOMER

The Zagat 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants guide was released today.  Echoing the trend around the country, the 9,700 San Francisco surveyors say they are cutting back on their restaurant spending.  Fortunately, they also report getting plenty of good deals, prix fixe menus, attentive service, and access to formerly hard-to-get reservations.  All told, the new guide covers 1,308 restaurants from the Wine Country in the North down to the Monterey Peninsula.

“The economic downturn has definitely affected San Francisco diners. Quite simply, they are being more careful with their money,” said Tim Zagat, CEO and Co-Founder of Zagat Survey. “The good news is that local restaurants have been going to great lengths to hang on to their clientele.”

Industry Woes: When asked what effect the slow economy has had on their dining habits, surveyors report dining out less (52%), eating in less expensive places (42%), being more attentive to prices (42%), cutting back on alcohol (20%), appetizers and/or desserts (21%). Diners (5%) are even switching to tap/filtered water to save money. They are so price-sensitive that the percentage who list price as their main complaint has jumped to 10%, up from 6% last year. That’s not surprising since San Francisco ranks among the nation’s most expensive dining cities, with an average meal cost of $39.40, compared to the $34.54 national average.

The Good News:Many restaurants are offering bargain deals and 62% of diners say they are taking advantage of these opportunities; 40% say they feel their patronage is appreciated more; and 36% find it easier to obtain hard-to-get reservations. Despite their financial concerns, San Franciscans by a 73% vote consider green issues (organic, sustainably raised, locally grown products) to be as important as ever; ditto healthy menus, by a 70% margin, which explains the success of newcomers such as eco-Mexicans Nopalito and Little Chichuahua. Finally, 61% say they’re still willing to pay even higher tabs to support worker healthcare and wages.

Cheap Eats:Fortunately, options abound for budget-conscious Bay Area diners. This year’s Top Bang for the Buck is Saigon Sandwiches, serving “fabulous Vietnamese pork sandwiches.” Following behind are In-N-Out, El Metate, and Arinell Pizza. In the Mission (named San Francisco’s best dining neighborhood), Baby Blues BBQ has brought Southern BBQ to the Bay, while inexpensive pizzerias, flour + water and Tony’s Pizza Napolentana have also premiered this year. In the Downtown Area, Showdogs brings the “best of the wurst” from all-natural hot-dog vendor Let’s Be Frank, along with house made condiments and plenty of sides.  Best of all, many restaurants are sticking to prix fixe lunches for $25, and dinners for $30 year-round (not just during Dine around Town), while other restaurants like the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room and Masa’s are offering bargain a la carte and prix fixe options.

Winners:  Showing that top-of-the-line dining is still going strong, Gary Danko not only reclaimed the title for Top Food, but won for Most Popular and Top Service this year. Taking home honors for Top Decor is the “re-opened cliff hanging” Sierra Mar. The survey also includes 70 noteworthy newcomers. Bottega, located in Yountville and led by chef Michael Chiarello is this year’s Top Newcomer. The Top 5 ranking in each category are as follows:

Food:              

 1. Gary Danko 
 2. Cyrus      
 3. French Laundry    
 4. Kiss Seafood  
 5. Acquerello

Decor:

1. Sierra Mar
2. Garden Court
3. Ahawahnee               
4. Auberge du Soleil
5. Pacific’s Edge

Service:

1. Gary Danko
2. Cyrus
3. Ritz-Carlton
4. French Laundry
5. Masa’s

Popular:

1. Gary Danko
2. Boulevard
3. French Laundry
4. Slanted Door
5. Chez Panisse

Newcomer:

1. Bottega
2. Zinnia
3. La Mar Cebicheria
4. Marzano
5. Nopalito

Tweeting and Trucking:It’s no surprise that San Franciscans rank among the most tech-savvy in the nation. Thanks to Open Table, this year 52% of surveyors say they typically make reservations online (up from 49% last year and 43% two years ago) and 85% report visiting a restaurants’ website before eating there. Avid diners have even taken to the streets – and the Twitter-verse – following the ever-growing slew of gourmet food trucks. These mobile street vendors, now including ChowderMobile (from Sam’s Chowder House), Spencer on the Go! (from Chez Spencer), and chef Chris Cosentino’s Salumi Cycle, are being faithfully followed via their websites, email and Twitter.

A Tree Grows in Oakland:Oakland has seen a swell of good-value eateries opening this year, including tapas-bar Barlata, wine bar and salumeria Adesso, Commis and Sidebar. On the horizon is the Jack London Square waterfront with a new gourmet marketplace, opening in early 2010, which will be flanked by 15 new restaurants including the already opened Bocanova (Rick Hackett of MarketBar) and the forthcoming Bracina (Daniel Patterson and ex-Delfina’s Lauren Kino) and Pizzeria Zanna (Richard Corbo).

The Guide in Detail:In addition to ratings and reviews, the new guide includes listings and maps of the Most Popular restaurants, as well a transit map and 44 useful indexes including Historic Places, Power Scenes, Winning Wines Lists and Teen Appeal. The 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants guide ($14.95) was edited by Meesha Halm and Karen Hudes and is available at all major bookstores, through ZAGAT.com, on Zagat’s mobile apps for iPhone and Android, or by calling 888-371-5440. For more information, please visit our press center (www.zagat.com/presscenter).

Known as the “burgundy bible,” Zagat Survey is the world’s most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay and play around the globe, and as such has become a symbol of quality. Zagat Survey rates and reviews airlines, restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, resorts, shopping, spas and a range of other entertainment categories in more than 100 countries. It has been lauded as producing the “most up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable guides ever published” and as “a necessity second only to a valid credit card.” Zagat content is available in print, on the web, on the mobile web, iPhone, BlackBerry and on TV. For more information, visit ZAGAT.com.