Reader: Restaurants should have the kinks worked out when they open

Categories: Cafe Society

tom kha.jpg
Mark Manger
Ace scores with tom kha soup.
Josh and Jen Wolkon and their talented crew put plenty of time and planning into Ace, the ping pong hall/bar/restaurant in a renovated 9,000 square foot garage next to Steuben's, their second restaurant. (They opened the first, Vesta Dipping Grill, fifteen years ago.) And when Ace opened in August, it was an instant hit, with crowds clamoring for a ping pong table. But what Ace has been putting on the dining tables has changed a bit since then, as they adjusted the menu to reflect what worked...and what didn't.

Gretchen Kurtz waited three months, as she usually does, to eat there for her review, which was posted here yesterday.

See also:
- Ace scores with action, drinks and decor; food is a tie game
- Photos: Behind the scenes at Ace

And Denver Dave disagrees with that:

While I take Gretchen's point that new restaurants are "works in progress" my view is that they should have the kinks worked out early on or not be charging full price for their experiments. A three month "soft opening" as is granted by Westword and many other publications, means that all too often diners are paying full price for less than what may or may not become top notch offerings down the line.

Do you agree that restaurants should be ready for a reviewer the day they open their doors? Post your thoughts below, or join the conversation already under way here.

Location Info


501 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

This "experimentation at the guests expense" theory is B.S.When opening a restaurant, and I have opened more than a few, more often than not, a menu items success is based upon availability of consistently sourced product and how labor intensive the prep for that item is. for instance, it is not a stretch for a burger place to make a patty melt. mostly the same stuff, same equipment etc... now for the same burger place to make a beef ravioli, not quite the same thing... sure its beef and sure it is (or maybe not) a good dish, but its more common an issue with production on a larger scale and how successful or popular the dish is which will ultimately justify weather it stays or goes. There are also economical factors like what about the fluctuating cost of beef effecting the low margin of markup for the ravioli, whaen added to the prep time to make it, it just becomes too expensive...I tell people on a regular basis, when asked about running a restaurant, making good food is the easy part, and I assure you new and young restaurants 9 times out of ten are perfectly capable of making good food. The tough part, which nobody can plan for, is all of the other factors. Service, cost of goods, popularity of food items with heavy prep, popularity of food items with high food cost, consistancy of product from even the best vendors etc.For snobby, flash in the pan, trendy restaurant goers giving criticism to new restaurants as though they are being "experimented" on and thusly deserve a discount, give me break.As for publications waiting for however long to review a place, there is another side here completely missed; most often a one week old restaurant will be on perfect behavior for their opening, its only after a few months that they cut back on opening and training labor, lean out food cost by maybe replacing an expensive protein with a lesser one in the same dish, etc... The idea is to give an accurate unbiased review, which is only possible by making multiple visits over a broad time period.

ScubaSteve topcommenter

"Gretchen Shunk waited three months, as she usually does, to eat there for her review, which was posted here yesterday."

Is Gretchen Shunk related to Laura Kurtz, by chance?

ScubaSteve topcommenter


If anyone wants to know the definition of the word "loquacious", this post answers that.

Now Trending

From the Vault