They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them

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mar52
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 12:42:36 (permalink)
Interesting.  I wonder if there is a connection.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 12:44:08 (permalink)
Greymo

In a million years, would I ever consider Cracker Barrel to ever have been Roadfood worthy!  I had to endure breakfast there last swwek as someone's guest  and  it  was  as  dreadful as I remembered from  15 years ago!    YUCK!                                                                                                                                                                


I'm with Greymo. Cracker Barrel? Double Yuck!
#32
Sundancer7
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 13:01:06 (permalink)
I have a friend that I retired with and we meet for breakfast on occasion.  He insist that we meet at Cracker Barrel.  In my opinion only, the food is just barely average and it never ceases to amaze me how many folks really enjoy it.
 
Paul E. Smith
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#33
Glenn1234
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/12 01:09:28 (permalink)
 
The first few Five Guys locations in northern VA, where Five Guys started in the mid-80s, would qualify.   They were a legit independent burger joint. 
 
As others have said, I would include Waffle House.
Even better than Waffle House, but with similar food, is Huddle House.   Huddle House does not have as many locations as Waffle House, and is not in as large of a gegraphic area.   But, they are a little better than Waffle House, IMO.   
 
I agree with most of the other mentions on here, except Cracker Barrel.  If it was a single location that later decided to expand, then I can see them making the list.  But Cracker Barrel was specifically designed from the ground up to be a faux southern food chain.  My in-laws liked that place, and I dreaded going there. 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2011/07/12 01:11:46
#34
AndreaB
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/12 02:13:27 (permalink)
I'm sorry if I'm unpopular with Cracker Barrel, but I've eaten at some much worse roadfood places that I've had to drive out of my way for and pay more money for.  If I'm on the road and just want to fill my belly and I pull off at an exit and there's a McDonald's, a Wendy's, a Long John Silvers, etc. I'm going to the Cracker Barrel.  Just my opinion.
Andrea
post edited by AndreaB - 2011/07/12 02:17:20
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michaelcarraher
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/12 04:22:02 (permalink)
Andrea, you're not unpopular.  I don't think the issue is whether you can get a good meal at Cracker Barrel.  I've eaten there a few times and it's not bad (IMHO).  As Glenn says it feels designed and "faux."  Roadfood ain't the Michelin Guide; the Stern's don't recommend the best restaurants.  Just good restaurants that offer a particular kind of experience.  I like Subway and it's about as un-Roadfood as you can get.  For all their attempt to give it a kind of Big Apple cachet, it's also about as un-New York as you can get (I used to live in NYC).  But I still like the subs.  To their credit, they sell subs that are sort of like a hoagie or cheese steak but they don't try to claim they are a hoagie or cheese steak (now I live in Philly). 
#36
mjambro
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/12 07:09:41 (permalink)
AndreaB

I'm sorry if I'm unpopular with Cracker Barrel, but I've eaten at some much worse roadfood places that I've had to drive out of my way for and pay more money for.  If I'm on the road and just want to fill my belly and I pull off at an exit and there's a McDonald's, a Wendy's, a Long John Silvers, etc. I'm going to the Cracker Barrel.  Just my opinion.
Andrea

 
 
and I find Cracker Barrel is about as bad as it gets - right down there with Arbies, Long John Silver's, Red Lobster, Olive Garden & Sonic.  OK, I guess , if one likes reheated canned meats and vegetables with a lot of salt, it could have appeal, but certainly not a place where I care to stop.  Even their cobblers taste like they come out of a can.   It's certainly NOT "road food"  -   too much plastic / artificial setting with really low quality.  On the positive side, they do tend to be clean.
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michaelcarraher
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/12 14:55:13 (permalink)
"On the positive side, they do tend to be clean."
 
Clean doesn't seem to be a requirement for Roadfood. 
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felix4067
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/12 17:06:58 (permalink)
If we all liked the same thing, there would be no point to this site. Me, I cringe at the thought of some of the places the popular kids around here think the sun rises and sets on, and have more than once been thoroughly disappointed by the quality and service of Roadfood-recommended establishments I've read rave reviews about. It's what makes the world go around.
#39
ces1948
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/12 17:17:23 (permalink)
I can't you guys how many "one of a kind" places I've been to. There was a good reason for a lot of them.
#40
Foodbme
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/13 02:47:29 (permalink)
felix4067
If we all liked the same thing, there would be no point to this site. Me, I cringe at the thought of some of the places the popular kids around here think the sun rises and sets on, and have more than once been thoroughly disappointed by the quality and service of Roadfood-recommended establishments I've read rave reviews about. It's what makes the world go around.

I don't think every "Roadfood" type place has the best food available. Roadfood places rise and fall like any chain restaurants. Cooks have good days and bad days. Restaurants change owners and the food changes, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. What makes roadfood places unique is that they are unique. It might be the food, the servers, the owners, the decor, the history, the location, the reputation, the menu---something sets it apart from all others.
Do they all have great food and service all the time? No.
Are they unique? You Bet!
#41
NascarDad
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/15 14:54:45 (permalink)
David_NYC

One interesting case is the Howard Johnson chain. There are just three of them left, all in places I don't get to. AFAIK, their supply chain is gone and they are left to fend for themselves. Seems even the vendor who made the coating for their Tendersweet claims dropped the account because of insufficient volume. Google maps show the last commissary and ice cream plant in Brockton, Massachusetts bulldozed. Even the outsoured food manufacturers who took over are no longer providing product.

I'd be interested in hearing from members who have recently eaten in Bangor, Maine, Lake  George, NY, or Lake Placid, NY Howard Johnson's.

Same might apply to Golden Skillet, though there are more than 3 left, they have been left to fend for themselves, it seems.  They originally had quite a chain of them.  I keep meaning to get to one on the south side of town, there are several down south of the river.
 
As far as HoJos, last time I ate at HoJos was in Times Square in about 84 or 85 I think.  And it was one of the worst lunches I ever had (and at the time, I was used to school cafeteria food, so that is sayin something).  I had some kind of open faced sandwich with some kind of mystery meat in a brown gravy.  It was bad.  Never ate at a HoJos since.
 
 
#42
kaszeta
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/15 15:51:47 (permalink)
Having been to both Versailles in Manhattan Beach, and Versailles in Miami, I don't think they are related (if they are, it's a distant family thing).   Same basic concept and menu, but the food is definitely a bit different.
#43
MiamiDon
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/15 16:41:56 (permalink)
I don't think so, either.  The one in L.A. is owned by the Orlando Garcia family, and the one here by the Felipe Valls family.  By the way, the original one in California is allegedly older than the one in Little Havana, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary.  The several La Carreta Restaurants here are also owned by the Valls family.
 
Here's an article about the Miami one's anniversary.
 
I know about the Versailles palace in France, but I wonder if they are both named after a restaurant in pre-Castro Cuba?
#44
michaelcarraher
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/16 06:39:23 (permalink)
The decline and fall of HoJo's....
Several factors:
Howard died and young Bud Johnson took over.  He seemed to want to resolve his "daddy issues" by running the restaurant chain into the ground. 
The neighborhood restaurants were mostly franchised.  They drew on local customers (i.e., repeat business) and they had to keep people coming back.  The turnpike were company-owned and operated, plus they had to pay rent and concession fees to the turnpike authorities.  So they kept cutting costs and raising pricies to increase profits.  Not only did people avoid them on turnpikes (forcing them to increase prices again to make up for lost revenue), these unhappy customers stopped going to local HoJo's, too. 
Young Bud's brainstorm, again, was to increase prices.  They got in a cycle of higher prices, fewer customers, lower revenue, still higher prices ...  Bud thought he could justify the higher prices by making the places look more upscale, so you had HoJo's with wicker furniture, table cloths, ferns...   In addition to bad food and service, the decor also drove people away.  So, they tried changing the name of many locations (Ground Round) but that didn't work.  Finally they sold the company owned locations and sold franchise rights to a group of franchisees. 
 
When it started, original HoJo's with its classic menu items like french fried clams, baked beans in a pot with steamed brown bread and ice cream, sounds like it was Roadfood.  Ironically Friendly's started out to fill HoJo's niche but it has turned into a Krap Parlor, too.
 
#45
Heartbreaksoup
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/16 10:36:05 (permalink)
I remember in the late 70s and early 80s, Cracker Barrel served the function of Roadfood for my family.  When we would make trips to visit my father's brother in Danville KY, we would always stop for a late breakfast at the only Cracker Barrel we knew of, somewhere on I-75 somewhere in Tennessee.  Just north of Knoxville, maybe?  This was a big part of our trip - eating there.
 
The really odd thing is that the store sold little Smurfs, imported from Europe, for many years before that Saturday morning cartoon started.  I still wonder how in the heck Cracker Barrel's country store buyer was sold on the idea of carrying those things when nobody in the US had any idea what they were.
 
Haven't been to a Cracker Barrel in about four years now, and that time was because we were meeting my childrens' mother at the White House TN exit on I-65 to exchange kids and it was that or McDonald's.  Wretched food.
#46
bartl
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/16 15:13:22 (permalink)
Heartbreaksoup The really odd thing is that the store sold little Smurfs, imported from Europe, for many years before that Saturday morning cartoon started.  I still wonder how in the heck Cracker Barrel's country store buyer was sold on the idea of carrying those things when nobody in the US had any idea what they were.

Don't know when the toys were at Cracker Barrel, but in 1968 they were a MAJOR merchandising icon in Europe (I remember billboards proclaiming "Smurf Mij! Smurf BP!"). So, advertising people certainly knew about them, even if Americans hadn't quite heard of them yet.
 
Bart
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mr chips
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/17 00:15:41 (permalink)
ow many locations of Versailles are there in California? I ate at the one in Palms and did not know of any others.
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MiamiDon
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Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/17 07:21:14 (permalink)
mr chips

ow many locations of Versailles are there in California? I ate at the one in Palms and did not know of any others.

mr chips, according to their web site, there are four in the California group.
#49
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