Below are some reader responses to Publisher Amy Gillentine's column, A matter of taste, regarding restaurant reviews. Check back in throughout the day for updates. The responses above have not been edited nor fact-checked.
- I enjoy the reviews. It's a 2-edged sword. Yes, there may be some negative reviews, but then again, you introduce us to new restaurants we may never have visited without those reviews.
- No one will do anything other than tell the truth about the experience. We owe that to you. And we owe it to restaurateurs who need to know where they fall short, as well as when they soar. You answered your own questions with this statement‼️
Listing prices would be helpful.
- You asked for readers views.
Is it fair to revisit a place that earned a negative review — and how soon after? Yes I think it is fair to give a place time to correct what ever received a negative review. How soon? Maybe a month, I honestly don’t know as my only experience working in a restaurant was as a dishwasher when I was in high school and college.
Is it selling out to go at the owner’s request? I don’t think so, my experience as a reviewer is as a member of an Air Force Inspector General team, I have had people become very upset over honest and fair observations and have revisited when needed. He was upset and you and some of the staff responded to his invite. In my eyes that is a fair thing to do.
What do and don’t restaurateurs deserve, regarding professional reviews? I have found the reviews provided interesting and useful. We don’t go out a lot but most of the places we go to have gotten good reviews or selected as “Best of”. We did not grow up here, the AF brought us here in 2004 and we found the Indy to be a useful source.
- Read your article and thought it was very interesting. My wife and I will visit a new restaurant 4-6 months after opening and usually will withhold judgement until the second visit. We have consistently found that the restaurants in Colorado Springs are consistently inconsistent. We're impressed on the first visit and the second visit turns out to be a not so good experience and we don't go back.
We went to the Lazy Dog Restaurant, waited almost an hour to get a menu and walked out. Never went back. Tried Bros. Luck ramen on Tejon. Completely un-eatable.
I read Mathew's reviews and need a translation of the ingredients. What turns us off the most are the pictures of the food which looks, in many instances, regurgitated.
To give some background, my wife loves Chicago, and I had excellent food experiences in the Bay Area. I took her to a restaurant off Hwy 1, below the Seal Caves, in Oregon. Walked in and the chef/owner waited on us. It told him my wife had never had Dungeness Crab and he said, "Fix you right up." He brought her a Dungeness Crab Souffle' and she still talks about it 20 years later. What he brought her was off the menu. We used to eat at the King's Island golf course in the Cincinnati area and they employed in aspiring chefs. We could walk in and say surprise us and they would prepare us a meal that was not on the menu which was outstanding. We tried that here with a restaurant that we use to frequent whose menu was boring. "No! It'll cost you." Not quite the answer we were expecting. Never went back.
We don't eat fast food and don't mind paying for a good meal. But I have to admit that Colorado Springs culinary experiences are few and far between. Have you ever eaten at Harrah's in South Lake Tahoe for the Friday night seafood buffet?
- I think it’s lovely of you to give a restaurant another chance, but only if it isn’t a scheduled meal. It should be spontaneous.
We want better, city-quality restaurants in Colorado Springs BADLY! Let’s help restauranteurs in any way we can.
- The fallout from Matt’s review of Trainwreck does indeed present a dilemma! Thanks for making the effort to update the picture. I must admit to being somewhat shocked at just how negative Matt’s experience was – I do always appreciate (and count on) his reviews. FWIW, it didn’t matter to this customer, since we’re not really good prospects for the place anyway :) We do have to give Mitch Yellen credit for being willing to pivot and for staying in the game.
Keep up the great work!
And from Facebook:
- One of the things that would be helpful is to distinguish between professional reviews done by journalists, and the opinions of people who went there to eat. Opinions are not reviews.
- I have found the reviews done in the Indy fair not based on bias. Its a shame that all it takes is a temper tantrum to get an article like this to "explain" the owners reason why he should have gotten a better review. The best the writer could give was "it was good". and the changes made, no specifics on what was good about it. I'm pretty sure this is a first for the Indy and makes it no longer independent if you can discredit the reviewers opinion for whatever reason you decided it was necessary.
- What if there was someone who reviewed the reviewers? What if their job depended upon that review?
- As a restauranteur, I can say our daily sales can and are impacted by reviews of all types. A negative review—especially from a professional critic—can kill the restaurant. But I think what is more vitally important is how we react to the review.
Full disclosure, I know Matt and he has been positive with my store since our first review in 2008. I know that he means well in every review written and wants to see the culinary scene in our city be the best it can be. If the review is negative, that’s definitely a red flag that we as owners have some serious problems to fix.
Not being privy to the fallout from his review, my hope is that Trainwreck took everything to heart and focused on fixing the problems: it certainly sounds like they did. Politely acknowledging our shortcomings and fixing them quickly is the only way to fix the negative review. With every negative review I receive I always gather my managers and leads and we discuss what needs to be fixed. I then ask the reviewer to give us another chance. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But the biggest thing is making sure we are fixing the issues.
Can Matt be faulted for being truthful? I don’t think so. Should there be another review? I think yes. Any independent restaurant deserves a chance to redeem itself.
- Super disappointed that this opinion piece was ever published. Schniper wrote an honest review that the owners didn't like (a review that is in line with other reviews of "Trainwreck", I might add) and Indy leadership cut his legs out from underneath him. It seems like you're giving Yellen a do-over simply because he's a well-connected downtown developer with deep pockets, and it honestly harms everyone's credibility...
And in response to Andy:
- I agree, and it’s not just Matt’s opinion - I’ve heard from several people who never read the review that their food was not good at best, and awful at worst. Matthew should have been the one to go back and re-review the restaurant after they made the changes.
- Once negatively reviewed, a wait of at least 4 to 6 weeks before going back and seeing if the problems had been addressed is warranted. Never go on the owner's request especially if they are setting the day and or time.
- Schniper is a great food critic. I love reading his write ups.
- Let’s review the CSindy, Mayhaps? Used to love it-now just a leftist tripe joke. I’ll give it 4 weeks for a new taste, cuz I’m open minded.