quote:I don't really think it would be because I think the biggest issue is the facility itself. I've seen successful restauranteurs, like Danny Meyer in NYC, fail simply because they rolled out a concept in a space that was too large. He closed Tabla, a restaurant that by all accounts was very good and well reviewed, a few years ago simply because the economics of the business make it difficult to support a large space. I think that site was pricey, they built a first class, large capacity facility on it, and the economics are a challenge. Cochon failed, I wouldn't be surprised if Ruffinos fails, and if they do, each subsequent tenant will face the same problem. Because of the primo geographic location the rent on that spot is going to stay high and every restauranteur will think they can make it work. I wouldn't be surprised if that site is a banquet/special event facility in five years.
Here is the follow-up, if Ruffino's cant make it at that location, does it turn to an indictment of Lafayette?
I would think one is looking for a very different dining experience when going to Ruffino's or going to Carraba's.
the average diner was a "new money" customer who wanted more of a steakhouse atmosphere
My impression was the average diner was a "new money" customer who wanted more of a steakhouse atmosphere. Plenty of highballs, and BS like that. Dining is more of a social scene then just a great meal. Plus the younger crowd is completedly unfamiliar with upscale dining. My .02
quote:Oh I don't think that size in and of itself isn't necessarily an issue, it's size coupled with high overhead that is a problem. Tabla was right next to Eleven Madison Park, on the next corner, in what I imagine was pricey real estate. Big restaurants do fine all over the place. I think the size of the Cochon/Ruffinos space, plus the fact that it is prime, and they built that place out to nice specs, means they've got a big hurdle to get over, and I just think that is going to be hard for anyone to over come. The huge fixed cost is likely the difference between a place like that succeeding relative to a big place out in the country somewhere that can survive on lower margins, or even thrive with a seasonal business. Having said all that, I hope they do well, they seem like nice people.
Agree on your example with Tabla, but there are plenty of restaurants that are both large and difficult to get to, which do very well. If the food is good, why shouldn't people go just because a space is large?
they've got a big hurdle to get over
People from the surrounding areas and people that are new to Lafayette have to get drunk there a couple of times to appreciate it.
For a city its size, Lafayette and the Lafayette area have a significant number of dining options. The only competition Ruffino's will face however, and the only restaurant that should feel any concern is Carraba's.
The only indictment on Lafayette, if Ruffino's fails, is that they chose another option, around the corner, that's easier to access.
How does being large equate to success? Just curious.
quote:The only place at that location prior was Cochons. The place restaurants go to die in Lafayette is on the corner of Johnson and Vital. The latest to close there was Gabe's LaFonda spin off.
I believe that that spot on the river where Ruffino's is located may be one of them.
quote:I'd skip EMP in its current iteration. I've probably eaten there a dozen times and five or six years ago, it was my favorite restaurant in the world. As Humm increased his imprint on the place and ultimately purchased it, it's become a cold, "event" type restaurant, which I don't care for. I've not been to Colicchio and Sons but from what I've read lately, it has apparently hit its stride after a rocky start. I'd also recommend Del Posto, which is a few doors down. It's Batali's take on three star level Italian dining. I had dinner there last week and it's as good as ever: great service, beautiful room, stellar wine list, and fantastic food.
Tried to get into EMP for dinner next month, no dice there or at per se. Colicchio and Sons instead, have you been?