Why don't we have any Filipino or Russian restaurants?
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Q: WITH ALL THE DEVELOPMENT GOING ON IN THE CITY, IT SEEMS LIKE A NEW RESTAURANT IS OPENING EVERY DAY. WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES NEW FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS MAKE?
A: Restaurant owners are under pressure to open quickly (they’ve got rent and other bills to pay!) and figure the kinks will work themselves out in the first few weeks. But a shaky start can damage a reputation. Word spreads fast when the food and service are rocky, and poor early reviews can haunt a restaurant well into the future. The usual problems I see are very green service and food that just isn’t up to par. And sometimes, it’s an impractical interior design that degrades the experience. For instance, the acoustics: Those trendy hard surfaces look cool, but once you have a room full of people and a cranking stereo, you can forget about communicating with anyone!
Q: WHAT ARE SOME GAPS YOU SEE IN THE MILWAUKEE DINING MARKET?
A: The blossoming of the restaurant scene over the past 10 or so years has put this town in the national spotlight more than it’s ever been. And that is fantastic. But in a city known for traditional old-world food, there truly is a dearth of good German cuisine. Karl Ratzsch’s demise is a major loss. And I love that we have a Polish restaurant (Polonez), but I wish it weren’t the only one in town. Overall, what’s lacking here is more diversity. Moroccan, Filipino, Turkish and Russian cuisines are culinary voids here. I think we’re stronger as a community with more and better cultural representation in our dining industry.
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