Lockeda "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ?

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ellen4641
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2008/12/04 10:15:47 (permalink)

a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ?

Today's Roadfood Restaurant of the Day is Barbara Jean's in Point Vedra Beach (near Jacksonville)
Wish I knew about it previously, as I was just cruising by Point Vedra Beach last month!

Uh oh, it's part of a CHAIN ! Bruce and Sue's nice little write up says it's part of a 7 unit chain, based in Georgia.

I think this Barbara Jean's place is an example of local ROADFOOD that happens to be part of a small, but well run, CHAIN..

So, a "good chain" may not be an OXYMORON, after all!!
Matter of opinion, right?
And this thread may even get delegated over to the "fast food/chain" forum. However, then again, it definitely looks like good ROADFOOD, judging from those great pics Bruce and Sue took.

I think most of the problems lie when these small chains get too big for their britches. Something about the quality tends to get lost in the translation...
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    chewingthefat
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/04 11:55:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ellen4641

    Uh oh, I see it's part of a 7 unit CHAIN.....
    (the horrors!)

    I think this Barbara Jean's place is an example of local ROADFOOD that happens to be part of a small, but well run, CHAIN..
    It's based in Georgia, but Bruce and Sue went to the Point Vedra, FL location. (wish I knew about it, as I was just cruising thru there last month!!)

    So, a "good chain" may not be an OXYMORON, after all!!
    And this thread may even get delegated over to the "fast food/chain" forum. However, then again, it definitely looks like good ROADFOOD, judging from those great pics Bruce and Sue took.

    I think most of the problems lie when these small chains get too big for their britches. Something about the quality tends to get lost in the translation...


    Like 5 Guys?
    #2
    CCinNJ
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/04 13:44:07 (permalink)
    Great points, Ellen!

    What some people fail to think about, realize, or admit is that many of the "chains" that many poo poo, have develped from humble "Roadfood" establishments, throughout the years! Some of the "monsters" of today, were created because of word of mouth. Word of mouth was very slow, years ago. Now we have the internet sites, blogs, Food Network, Travel Channel, magazines, etc.

    Colonel Sanders had a humble little chicken joint in the country. From what I know, it was what most of us would consider a Roadfood place. The locals loved it. The people who stumbled onto it, loved it. Word of mouth spread. It did not explode quickly, because people did not travel as much as today, there were plenty other places to visit with similar characteristics, and information distibution was slow & limited, back in the day. Mass appeal means crowds. Crowds means money. Money means expansion. Expansion means more money. More expansion means less quality control of the original food,concept and mission statement. Less quality control means help is required. Help may not have the same vision as the original mission statement, and cooking procedures. Changes mean that much of the charm and original product is lost, when carried to the masses.

    Today, many of the same types of places which people glow about, promote, and love, have the same potential. The difference is that that potential could EXPLODE much more quickly. Many similar "local" RF joints have gotten publicity from the same people who detest "chains" aka mass appeal, growth and expansion. The publicity has taken root, with masses outside of the restaurants local community. Paula Deen was not THE PAULA DEEN of today, 10 years ago. She was "discovered" and I am sure many of the people in her community feel said about what "has happened" with "THEIR" local restaurant. When Guy Fieri shows up at a "local" RF Diner, Drive-In or Dive, I bet the locals start to worry. Chains are not always the product of some evil people in a lab, or advertising executives who develop a "new" concept. The concepts are built from within some of your favorite "local" RF joints, and some of those favorite RF joints are lost forever.

    So, while so many SCOFF at the mere mention of any chain, consider how many of your favorite humble RF joints of yesterday are starting to expand, sell their sauces & T-shirts over the internet, and jump at the chance of a segment on the Food Network. Would they say no to expansion if it means $$$$$$$$$$$$$? I doubt it. But, with expansion comes risk. You risk losing your original "appeal" and another RF joint (as defined by the "purists") bites the dust.

    When done carefully, some "chains" CAN & DO remain quality establishments. But, once it meets the qualifications of the dreaded "CHAIN" (more than a few local establishments) status, many "purists" start to cry, and start typing more about the next great "unknown" RF place. Until...the same thing happens. Those "unknown" quality establishments do not stay "unknown" forever.


    How many of the places that were "discovered" by the Sterns, and played a role in building the mass appeal of Roadfood , are no longer defined as RF places?

    Plenty! Why? Hmmm? MASS appeal of RF "purists"? MASS APPEAL!










    #3
    Greymo
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/04 14:23:28 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by CCinNJ


    How many of the places that were "discovered" by the Sterns, and played a role in building the mass appeal of Roadfood , are no longer defined as RF places?

    Plenty! Why? Hmmm? MASS appeal of RF "purists"? MASS APPEAL!















    Interesting.............would you please list a few of these?
    #4
    CCinNJ
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/04 14:43:07 (permalink)
    A few people and places that have exploded, and would not fit into the "purists" TRUE definition of RF criteria but at one point considered "local" RF...

    Paula Deen's Lady & Sons, "The Neely's" , Emeril (outside of New Orleans is an extention of his "chains" like in Vegas)Brennan's, Commander's Palace,(outside New Orleans, again landing in Las Vegas casinos).

    Places that "unjustly" get promotion and HUGE crowds of tourists like...Pat's & Geno's in Philadelphia. Corky's Ribs now on QVC (GASP), have been in RF books.

    I will think of many more. These are just off the top of my head.

    Oh...Pinkberry is a franchise of upscale frozen dessert restaurants headquartered in Los Angeles, California. There are currently 61 stores, mostly located in Southern California with thirteen in New York City.

    Purists beware! " /> A chain! " /> Scratch it off the "look forward to going to when in California or NYC, list"

    Oh...but it is ONLY 61 locations. They APPEAR in an American Express Plum Card commercial, BUT it is only 61 locations.

    Doe's Eat Place. Page 247 of Roadfood (2002 edition)...

    "Like some of America's better-known steak houses, Doe's of Greenville has expanded in recent years and now has branches in Little Rock and Fayetteville Arkansas. We've never met a Doe's we didn't love, but there is special magic about the one original one in the Mississippi Delta"

    From Doe's website circa 2008...

    "A Family Tradition since 1903"

    Family owned locations...

    Greenville MS
    Paducah KY

    Franchise locations...

    Bentonville, AR
    Fayetteville, AR
    Hot Springs, AR
    Fort Smith, AR
    Little Rock, AR
    Tulsa, OK
    Broussard, LA
    Starkville, MS
    Springfield, MS
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Manhattan KS

    Franchise Info
    To become part of the Doe's family (LOL) contact...

    I will not list the name or number of the contact person, from Doe's website.

    I am not dissin' Doe's. They have rave reviews from many sources. But, it is now a chain.

    Corky's Page 159 Roadfood (2002 edition)

    "In a city of at least a dozen truly great barbecue restaurants, Corky's is considered by many aficionados to be number one"

    "If you eat as you should at Corky's, dessert will seem impossible"




    #5
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/04 15:03:49 (permalink)
    Ellen, I am with you all the way.

    Corky's is the perfect example of the indy turned small chain that has earned its way OFF this board.

    I've been there 15 years ago when the single store was good, seen the decline and now don't even consider them in a discussion about food.

    #6
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/04 15:08:09 (permalink)
    I don't know if this helps or hurts - I have avoided taking sides in these "chains/franchises roadfood" type discussions for the past year or more, and won't do so in this one either - but long ago when the chain forum was started, there was much heated discussion about the definition of what sort of eateries did or did not need to be relegated to the chain forum

    One of the outcomes I recall, tho I am not sure whether it was SR or MS who declared it, probably SR - that if the chain/franchise in question has a review on the website (like In and Out does) then discussion of that chain/franchise did NOT need to be relegated to the chain forum. By extension, discussion of any chain/franchise lacking an official roadfood review was relegated to the chain forum.

    This "ruling" (a better term escapes me, sorry) was quite some time ago, and I have no idea if the policy has changed in the interim. If this ruling remains in effect, then Barbara Jean's can be discussed outside the chain forum on the basis that it has an official Roadfood review, same as In and Out et al.
    #7
    Howard Baratz
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/04 15:46:10 (permalink)
    I know you're all discussing this important "when is a chain a chain and when is a chain not a chain" stuff but I just want to say that when I saw the word oxymoron in the title of this thread I coulda sworn that it was gonna be about this guy:



    #8
    ellen4641
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/04 16:53:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wheregreggeats.com

    Ellen, I am with you all the way.

    Corky's is the perfect example of the indy turned small chain that has earned its way OFF this board.

    I've been there 15 years ago when the single store was good, seen the decline and now don't even consider them in a discussion about food.

    Hi Greg,
    There's even a Corky's inside the Tropicana Casino, Atlantic City , for at least the last 5 years. Never bothered, since they don't have my beef ribs OR my beef brisket..
    and I doubt I'll ever be there, after hearing your opinion, Greg!

    How about that Dinosaur BBQ? I've been to the original in Syracuse, and now there's one in Harlem, NYC...
    as good as the original??

    Hey, shout out to CCinNJ, great post! Lots of good points for us all to ponder!


    #9
    seafarer john
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/04 20:40:58 (permalink)
    And there's a Dinosaur in Rochester that is great. If a successful restaurant expands a bit to form a regional chain and keeps tight control over each operation and avoids the sins of "corporatism" there's no reason why we who avoid national chains should not patronize those places.

    Cheers, John
    #10
    MiamiDon
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 05:45:07 (permalink)
    What's a "chain"?
    #11
    seafarer john
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 10:08:43 (permalink)
    MD: Example, in case you haven't noticed any in your town: MacDonalds, Burger King, Subway, etc.

    Cheers, John
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    MiamiDon
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 10:33:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by seafarer john

    MD: Example, in case you haven't noticed any in your town: MacDonalds, Burger King, Subway, etc.

    Cheers, John


    Thanks, SF, but those are examples, not a definition. I think that there is a blurry area between a family having several locations for their restaurant, and a multiplicity of franchises of a restaurant, with perhaps the original restaurant not evening existing anymore.
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    MiamiDon
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 10:42:04 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ellen4641

    Today's Roadfood Restaurant of the Day is Barbara Jean's in Point Vedra Beach (near Jacksonville)
    Wish I knew about it previously, as I was just cruising by Point Vedra Beach last month!

    Uh oh, it's part of a CHAIN ! Bruce and Sue's nice little write up says it's part of a 7 unit chain, based in Georgia.

    I think this Barbara Jean's place is an example of local ROADFOOD that happens to be part of a small, but well run, CHAIN..

    So, a "good chain" may not be an OXYMORON, after all!!
    Matter of opinion, right?
    And this thread may even get delegated over to the "fast food/chain" forum. However, then again, it definitely looks like good ROADFOOD, judging from those great pics Bruce and Sue took.

    I think most of the problems lie when these small chains get too big for their britches. Something about the quality tends to get lost in the translation...


    Hi Ellen,

    I found two "official" definitions of Roadfood on this site:

    DEFINITION #1
    Roadfood means great regional meals along highways, in small towns and in city neighborhoods.

    It is non-franchised, sleeves-up food made by cooks, bakers, pitmasters, and sandwich-makers who are America’s culinary folk artists.

    Roadfood is almost always informal and inexpensive; and the best Roadfood restaurants are colorful places enjoyed by locals (and savvy travelers) for their character as well as their menu.


    DEFINITION #2

    Great regional meals along highways, in small towns and in city neighborhoods. It is sleeves-up food made by cooks, bakers, pitmasters, and sandwich-makers who are America’s culinary folk artists. Roadfood is almost always informal and inexpensive; and the best Roadfood restaurants are colorful places enjoyed by locals (and savvy travelers) for their character as well as their menu.

    Note the "non-franchised" in definition #1. Of course, the Sterns themselves have an official review of In-n-Out here, and that is a large, franchised chain. So is Five Guys Burgers and Fries, although I do not know whether it was so widespread when it was reviewed.

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    The Travelin Man
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 10:53:53 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MiamiDon

    Note the "non-franchised" in definition #1. Of course, the Sterns themselves have an official review of In-n-Out here, and that is a large, franchised chain.


    Ummm....no, sir.

    Aside from building improvements, though, In-N-Out has retained the basic traditions that have made it a favorite for 60 years.

    In-N-Out remains privately owned and the Snyder family has no plans to take the company public or franchise any units. All Associates are treated like family. Many Associates have been with In-N-Out for over 20 years, some even worked with Harry and Esther in the early years. These relationships and the commitment to the company's philosophies continue to make In-N-Out a very special place to work.
    [url='http://www.in-n-out.com/history.asp']source[/url])

    They are also located in only four western states, which surely sounds like they might meet the "regional" definition, as well.
    #15
    MiamiDon
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 13:02:08 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by The Travelin Man

    quote:
    Originally posted by MiamiDon

    Note the "non-franchised" in definition #1. Of course, the Sterns themselves have an official review of In-n-Out here, and that is a large, franchised chain.


    Ummm....no, sir.

    Aside from building improvements, though, In-N-Out has retained the basic traditions that have made it a favorite for 60 years.

    In-N-Out remains privately owned and the Snyder family has no plans to take the company public or franchise any units. All Associates are treated like family. Many Associates have been with In-N-Out for over 20 years, some even worked with Harry and Esther in the early years. These relationships and the commitment to the company's philosophies continue to make In-N-Out a very special place to work.
    [url='http://www.in-n-out.com/history.asp']source[/url])

    They are also located in only four western states, which surely sounds like they might meet the "regional" definition, as well.


    I stand corrected! I had guessed that with so many outlets that they must be franchises, or a mix of corporate and franchised stores.

    Thanks for the correction. Although I did not like their fries, I would gladly replace a few hundred of the McDonald's around here with In-N-Outs!
    #16
    CCinNJ
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 14:53:09 (permalink)
    Ellen made a statement & posed the question in her original post...
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Quote by Ellen...
    "I think this Barbara Jean's place is an example of local ROADFOOD that happens to be part of a small, but well run, CHAIN..

    So, a "good chain" may not be an OXYMORON, after all!!
    Matter of opinion, right?"
    ____________________________________________________________________

    The Sterns list 8 different "Roadfood regions" which account for the 48 continental states, in Roadfood (2002).

    New England, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-South, Deep South, Midwest, Great Plains, Southwest, West Coast.

    Doe's Eat Place gets a thumbs up, from certain folks who abhor "chains" and define themselves as strict purists.

    I made a mistake, on my last post. There is a Doe's Eat Place in Springfield MO, not MS (franchise location). There is also a location in Bryan Texas (franchise).

    Doe's owns 2 family operated locations with 12 additional franchises . All locations (family owned and franchise) operate in AR, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, OK, TX which total 4 seperate "regions" (as defined by Roadfood) Mid-South, Deep South, Midwest, Southwest and franchises are available for continued expansion.

    So, if you happen to be a STRICT purist who would NEVER consider submitting a report from a place that is a "chain" you may want to re-think your judgement of Ellen's trip report, or avoid taking pictures/trip reports at Doe's in Feb. when the Glee Club meets. Yes, it is the "flagship" location...of a currently growing, multi-regoinal, franchised chain.







    #17
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 15:25:16 (permalink)
    Since we're making clarifications.....

    The two locations of Doe's Eat PLace that have formal reviews listed on this site are the Little Rock, AR and the Greenville, MS locations - the two that are family-owned, and not franchised.

    When I was in Little Rock, I spoke with one of the servers there and they told me that the only other location worth going to was the Greenville location.

    And, if anyone really thinks that a 12-unit "chain" is the same as a 1,700-unit operation - which they proudly claim to be the largest, world-wide restaurant corporation, just isn't paying attention.

    Oh...and one last clarification, which I am sure is just nitpicking - the only person around here who both "abhors chains" and defines themselves as a "strict purist" is wanderingjew, and he has never been to Doe's.
    #18
    Tony Bad
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 15:56:33 (permalink)
    I think this topic has been hashed, re-hashed, then put in a blender and hashed further. My feeling is that we can all play little semantic games and split hairs and count locations and such, but we all know a chain when we see one.

    #19
    mayor al
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    RE: a "Roadfood chain".....or an oxymoron ? 2008/12/05 16:01:29 (permalink)

    Chain...Sprain...Pain..Enough already! Eat where ever you want to eat..and in Tony's case, Beat whatever you want to Beat.

    Let's use the rest of this hour to practice (not Post) making sure our photos of food are IN FOCUS and Properly Exposed. A picture can be worth a thousand words, IF it is Properly Edited!
    #20
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