Let’s all calm down

September 23rd, 2010 by Richard Chudy

Dear Boston area restaurant owners (all of you),

I started this blog/website because I wanted a forum for my own voice and for others who share the love of burgers. I was not happy with the other formats (chowhound, yelp, etc.) because I felt that people were either way too nice or way too mean, just for the sake of being mean or just for the sake of kissing up to a chef/restaurant. I don’t think I’m mean, for the record, I think I’m honest, and I think I have legitimate reasons and experience to back that up. I never, ever, write a review or go to a new restaurant wanting it to be bad, or wanting to hate it, I may have expectations, but I promise you I’m always neutral going in and never looking to be an asshole. What comes out after that is all me, no gimmick, no ulterior motive, I’m not trying to be as obnoxious or as hate-filled as possible, I’m not trying to be the “angry burger guy.” This is who I am, as it’s been pointed out by those who know me, I may be a bit more on the negative side in actuality, I don’t have an alternate online persona, I’m not clever enough to create something so fictional. So if you want to call me out for being an asshole, so be it, then you’ll probably think I’m an asshole in real life too. I also think it’s an enormous waste of time to call me out because of a negative review, would you call out the Globe if they wrote a bad review? Do you call out every bad reviewer on Yelp? Maybe more time should be spent on perfecting the food, and less time on embarrassing yourself by fighting with every online reviewer who doesn’t think your restaurant is the best in the city. Furthermore, I’m not even a critic, I know it and all my readers do too, this is my personal quest to find the best burger in Boston, so my standards are higher than most, I want the best and wont settle for less than that. It’s also right there on my home page, I am not a professional writer, I never claimed to be and I never will, I’m not getting paid here, it’s all in good fun and is meant to be taken lightly. I’m sorry if you think I’m trying to ruin your business, I assure you I am not, I should be entitled to forming my own opinions on my own website without worrying about hurting the feelings of anyone. I realize people’s lives and businesses are at stake, it is not my intention to be rude or destroy a business, but if you’re going to go through the trouble of opening a restaurant, maybe you should make sure you’re as best prepared as you can be before you open, versus “figuring it out as you go.” In summary, maybe my standards are higher, and maybe it is just burgers after all, but I’m glad we live in a part of the county where people feel so strongly about their food choices, this is my voice, read along if you like, but don’t blast me because I don’t like your food.

Sincerely,

Richard A. Chudy

18 Responses

  1. mike steele says:

    I’m a chef and like most chefs we love a good burger…your blog is something I wish I had time to do ….Richard you rock it ! keep up all your good work ,don’t let the little bitches at these hash slinging houses get you down…oh by the way last nite i made myself the pate burger (a small patty with 2 nice slices of country pate and aged gouda on top…one of my best …cheers

  2. mark chudy says:

    You just wrote what I’ve always thought! Keep up the good work!

    Hope

  3. Phil says:

    I think you should take your own advice and just relax; paranoia is not a good quality. That said, I enjoy your blog.

  4. BBQGuy says:

    I enjoy your blog and please keep up the good work ! But, can you speak to your specific criteria for burger judgement-composition, construction, cooking methodologies…

    • Sure, first and foremost, I want beef flavor and lots of it. If it’s cooked on a griddle, I want that nice crust, if it’s more of a thicker pub style burger, I expect some kind of smoke. If it’s cooked to order, it better be spot on, I want fully melted cheese, fresh toppings that complement and not overwhelm the burger. If there are fancy condiments or aggressive ingredients, they better act as support, not take away from the beef itself. I want a bun that works, I want to taste everything in each bite, not alternate between ingredients. I want to feel and taste the passion, the dedication. I want crispy, salty fries. And I want great service, if applicable, a clean environment that makes me want to come back again and again.

      • Rebecca says:

        “…I want fully melted cheese, fresh toppings that complement and not overwhelm the burger. If there are fancy condiments or aggressive ingredients, they better act as support, not take away from the beef itself.”

        OMG! This is why I usually don’t order burgers when eating out. Have you noticed the list of ‘toppings’ is longer then most wine menus? It’s getting ridiculous! I’m waiting for ‘where’s the beef?’ to come back into vogue. Where is the beef, because I can’t find it under the 20 toppings…..

        Oh, and keep reviewing…. secretly we all do reviews too

        • couldn’t agree more. I think we’re forgetting it’s a burger, in its simplest form it’s meat, cheese, a bun, and maybe lettuce and tomato. Shouldn’t we be taking extra care and effort to at least get the meat right, before we pile on multiple toppings?

  5. Porter says:

    BBQGuy is spot on; the criteria used for judgement are generally pretty subjective. From your reviews it’s pretty clear you do _not_ prefer a brioche bun. It can be exceptionally difficult to separate individual preference from actual execution. As a result it’s pretty important to have some description of what you’re looking for in a burger (as well as personal preferences) so that readers can filter ratings accordingly. I see you’ve attempted to provide some description of your ideal burger above – so that’s a start. =)

    I completely agree with you on the Yelp/Chowhound front. Reviews tend to be too glowing or too mean. I often see 1 star reviews for factors that were not even part of the dining experience at those sites. Keep it up – and also consider multiple visits to confirm or deny high or low execution on burgers. As someone who previously worked in the business, I recognize that “consistency is the key to success” as much as anyone – but also realize that one meal does not constitute much of a sample size for judging quality.

    • Good comments, Porter, on all accounts. You’ll have to dig a little deeper into specific reviews to really understand my preferences, but mostly it’s all about the beef and the execution. Nail those two components and you’re in pretty good shape. I would love to make return visits, but budget restraints often prevent that, however, I have returned to a majority of the establishments, and I can say my opinion rarely changes. I hear you on consistency, I’m aware off nights may exist, but I also think that’s a strike against a place, I can’t realistically expect perfection every night, but I should more or less be able to get the same burger experience each and every time.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adam Gaffin, Adam Pieniazek. Adam Pieniazek said: RT @universalhub: Some burger-joint owners are steaming one blogger's buns http://bit.ly/bu6u2I […]

  7. Esure Michael Winner ‘Calm down dear’…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  8. Daisy says:

    Were restaurants attacking you? that is awful. everyone is entitled to an opinion. I am interested to follow this quest! Very cool idea. Great to meet you last night!

    • Yeah, I get the very occasional “hate mail” from restaurants that disagree with my review. It is what it is, sure makes for good blogging though. Great to meet you too, let’s grab a burger soon.

  9. jill says:

    Richard,

    AHHH…I’m on week two of the South Beach Diet!!! ALL I WANT IS A BURGER (with the friggin’ bun). I must say I kind of like the idea of the stuffed burger! Never had one but if /when I do, make mine with carmelized vidalia, cheddar cheese, please. What is your take on this?

    Best burger I’ve ever made is mixed with 7 dried greens (Iranian spices purchased in Watertown, sabze?? sp?) and grilled to perfection. I also enjoy those new thin whole grain buns (of course, showcasing the MEAT). Quite tasty!

    I plan on purchasing vouchers on Buy With Me today so please come cook with me!

    Look forward to meeting you.

    jill