What’s Taking So Long? Is it Yelp’s Fault?

People bashed us on Yelp

The Yelp button no one wants. Thanks Photoshop!

I have done a lot of complaining both online (here and here) and offline about restaurants that take way too long to open. Every time the news breaks that a new bar, restaurant, coffee shop etc. is coming to Alexandria, the owner sets an approximate opening date. “Before Christmas,” they say. Or “early spring,” another promises. The store front is renovated, the “help wanted” sign goes up, everything appears to be ready…. but why is it not open!? The promised opening flies by and anticipation turns into irritation.

I proposing a theory. I know nothing about running a restaurant, but it’s America, and I can spout off my unfounded ideas if I want to.

I’m blaming it on Yelp. The website and mobile app has alerted me to countless new dining options, weened me off guidebooks and helped this chronically indecisive diner figure out what to order. However, I now think it’s time for it to shoulder some blame.

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New Openings (and re-openings) in Alexandria

 

Society Fair in Alexandria Va.

Coming soon to Old Town

Society Fair the bakery/cheese shop/restaurant/wine store/bar owned by the people behind Old Town establishments Restaurant Eve, PX and Eamonn’s is opening very soon. The “real press” over at Huffington Post got an inside scoop a few weeks ago, which you can check out here.  I am of course excited for any addition to my neighborhood restaurant scene, but the article makes the whole endeavor sounds very mining company store-ish. They plan to sell the products (i.e. bread, sauces, marinades) they make in the restaurants and even serve diners of their “test kitchen” dishes made with products from the market.

I can’t decide if it’s going to become my new quirky Old Town hangout or come off as an elaborate, fully-staffed advertisement for the company’s flagship Restaurant Eve.  Well, we are going to find out soon! Their Facebook page announced Society Fair is hiring and appears to be opening in the next week or so.

Evening Star Re-opens

Speaking of quirky hangouts, my Evening Star Cafe is open again on Thursday.  “The Star” as it’s affectionately called around the neighborhood, closed for renovation a few weeks ago, and the staff have been steadily blogging the progress.  Now, it’s re-opening on Thursday evening with a new chef, who promises southern accents in every dish.

The restaurant section of The Star is may be back, but I’m a bit concerned about the bar.  I’m hoping it wasn’t demolished to make room for a bigger dining room. However, this shot of the new beer taps looks promising.

A sign of the end: Pork Barrel BBQ opens its doors

Was it worth the wait?

It is difficult to believe (read my skepticism here), but Del Ray’s Pork Barrel BBQ is finally opening. Tonight!  But I read it on the Internet, so it must be true. Get the details  (and watch a video) here and here.

After all that wait, it sounds like delicious (if typical) BBQ joint:

Their 500lb-capacity “Southern Pride” smoker’ll be spitting out 12hr brisket, 10hr pulled pork, and 5hr chicken and spare ribs (plus sausages, but their cook time is unimpressive), all of which can be served by the pound, in sandwiches, or plated with sides like smoked mac & cheese.

Well, with Pork Barrel opening, I guess I’m going to have to find a new Alexandria restaurant to obsess over. There’s always the Evening Star Cafe renovation. According the website, that is due to reopen any day now. Famous last words!