It's an odd headline, I know. But bear with me.
Milwaukee is blessed with an incredible food scene, passionate locally owned restaurants and operators and chefs who care. We have variety, quality and quantity. This is all good.
So, when it comes to deciding where you're dining out tonight (or any night) what's the number one factor in your selection process? We've said many times that you should create a "places I need to try" list. There are so many great places and even with resources like OnMilwaukee.com, Yelp and others it's hard to keep track of the restaurants that you must try or "always forget about." So, make that list. Now.
Getting to my point. Finally. Make a list. Check it twice, but I'll argue that there's one driving factor that over rides all others when you're deciding where to dine.
Admit it, you go to the same handful of restaurants because they're easy, close to home or work or you're just comfortable there. Routine rules and when it comes to dining, deciding based upon quality, locally sourced ingredients, design, personality of the chef, price, etc., all sound great. Yet, many of us decide where to eat based upon simple convenience. Where the restaurant is. Is it close? Do I know where to park? Do I know the menu? Done.
Take my dining habits, for example. I eat lunch at spots that are close: Beans and Barley, Alterra, Izumi's, Subway, Whole Foods Market, Hooligan's. And, yes, I have a list. But we usually end up going to the places we already love. This list is long, but full of favorites like Calderone Club, Buckley's, Cubanitas, Cephazuchi and others.
Yet, when we just need to dine out and don't want to cook convenience rules our decision. Is it close? Can we get in and out quickly? Is the food generally good? If yes on all accounts. Done.
This isn't bad. This isn't good. It is, as "they" say, "what it is."
Do you agree? Do you dine out mainly based upon convenience or does your restaurant decision go deeper?
I disagree. My husband and I keep a "check out" list and we regularly try new places. But when it comes to our regular haunts, the number one driver is whether a place has consistently good food and service. We've never, ever had a bad meal or bad service at Cafe Lulu or Riviera Maya in Bay View, same with St. Francis Brew Pub in St. Francis. Conversely, Cafe Centraal and the Palomino are also close to our home as well, but service and quality have been hit or miss for us so we hit those two less often.
I agree to a point. We have our favorites and many are close to home, but we go to the theater. Often with friends and we end up swapping the right to reserve before or after performance dinning spots. I also buy the "City Tins" every year and honestly I think I do it to force myself to try new places as much as enjoying the discount
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