I contend that unscientific and uncritically examined results of “Best of” polls are harmful to restaurants that are far superior to those that win such polls. These polls are not just fun diversions, they actually impact the bottom lines of restaurants, positively for those that are not deserving and negatively for those that are far better, but not as widely known. There needs to be some quality control.
I have already discussed the results of Augusta Magazine’s and Metro Spirit’s Best Of results for BBQ restaurants. Perhaps the most egregious result (except perhaps the wine list selections) is for Italian restaurants. Drum roll please, here are the results:
- Olive Garden
- Macaroni Grill
Olive Garden making any Best Of list is beyond belief, the food is bland, overcooked and not worthy of being called Italian. This is one of those places I will actively resist going to, even if everyone else is pushing for it. It is also a franchise operation. So are Carrabba’s and Macaroni Grill. Carrabba’s has restaurants in 32 states, Macaroni Grill in 49 states and 12 foreign countries. Carrabba’s food is far better than these other two, but, as I’ve stated before, no great food ever comes out of a franchised restaurant. Good food, yes, great food, no.
I was at Augustino’s in the Marriott Hotel a couple of weeks ago for Sunday breakfast (a good value if not the greatest breakfast in the world). They had “Best Of” wins framed and all over the walls at the entrance. I thought it a bit ironic that they didn’t get any recognition this year. I’ve never eaten Italian food at Augustino’s, but I bet it is a lot better than Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill at a minimum.
The only real Italian food I have ever had in Augusta was at Luigi’s. Unfortunately, they have been around so long, their location is not suitable for the suburban masses who think Olive Garden is Italian food and Carrabba’s has an authentic Italian atmosphere. Luigi’s is for real, both food and atmosphere. If you have never been, please try it or don’t vote in next year’s Best Of polls.
Mediocre franchise restaurants can afford to advertise in a big way. Their gift cards are available everywhere. Stupid people vote in stupid publication’s Best Of polls. Bad restaurants get praise and goods local ones often get left out just because they aren’t as well known.
It is the job of local publications to do honest reviews of local restaurants. In a small market like Augusta, you aren’t going to ever see a bad restaurant review from any newspaper or magazine. In fact, one often reads a good review of a crappy restaurant and wastes their money. So, such so-called objective publications screw you coming and going and screw most of the best local restaurants.
People need to stop listening to these worthless voices. Look on the Internet for more objective reviews or just give the local restaurants a try once (you know the franchises suck, so that narrows the choice down).
Tags: augusta, Augusta Chronicle, Augusta Georgia, Augusta Magazine, Augustino's, Best Of, Best Of Polls, Carrabba's, franchise, franchise resaurant, Italian, Luigi's, Macaroni Grill, Metro Spirit, Olive Garden, restaurant review