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Everything posted by JoRic

  1. As I understand it, basically Gimmee Jimme's new owner had a dispute with the landlord regarding the lease. Don't know why the lease wasn't addressed before he bought the business- he had only been there a couple of months.
  2. Just had an incident with my lead cook who is Mexican. He came out of the kitchen in a panic saying "Joanne! No more gus!!" I now panicked because Gus is not only a good waiter, but the absolute best expediter we've ever had. "What happened?? why did he get mad??" "No, Joanne, we have no gus!" Well, this went on a la Abbot & Costello until I realized that construction workers in the building had turned off the GAS. We've been laughing about this all week.
  3. I'd like to give you this restaurant owner's perspective if I may. The last two ads we ran for a chef netted at least 150 responses each. That is a lot of information to sift through, and it can be overwhelming. Here's what we look for: Keep it very simple and concise. As stated above, give concrete stats if you can. I don't want to hear that you have leadership abilities. I will be more impressed if you say that you managed a staff of 20 at X labor percentage and increased productivity resulting in X reduction in food cost. We are able to tell more about you from 1.) the trajectory of the places in which you have worked, and 2.) how long you have been at each job. Have you tried to work in places that will further your culinary abilities, or just worked in "average" restaurants. Do you hop from job to job in a year or less? I've seen resumes for applicants who have worked at 10+ restaurants in 10 years. If those two things are out of line, it's doubtful that the rest of the resume will be read. I also am not impressed by resumes that are padded with basic things that should be a given (I don't need to read that you know about sanitation) or mean nothing on paper- I can't tell you how many times someone has talked about their plate presentation or understanding of flavor profiles and not been able to back these claims up. Also, I don't need your photo. Really. Personally, I prefer to see a thoughtful, sincere, intelligent cover letter followed by a simple resume that includes the kind of experience that I have stated I am looking for. You would be surprised by how many responses to our ad for a chef with experience in "American regional and ethnic cuisine" have been from chefs who have only cooked in, say, Italian restaurants. Honest to God, one guy kept sending a resume who only had done sushi. I know this has been a bit of a rant, but I'm really just trying to make the point that it will help to consider who is on the other side reading these resumes. Try to make it easy for them to see your strengths clearly. Good Luck!
  4. I won't get into the ethics of posting the letters, but I do want to address the restaurant owner. She'd better get used to this kind of thing. I can understand indignatoin if this was a "professional" review written by a paid employee of a publication, but it was not. These user-based reviews are everywhere these days, and culinary qualifications are not necessary for the reviewers to post. These negative reviews used to drive me nuts, but here's how I handle it these days. If it is a review where you have to rate the restaurant in order to post, I just let it go, and take it for what it's worth. Keeps my blood pressure down and allows me to go about the business of running my restaurant. Also, I don't think it's right to rate my own restaurant. In other forums, I usually respond if I need to clear something up, like a factual error, if the situation was misstated, or if I need to apologize for something. Lately, I don't even do this- who has the time? Especially since there seems to be a new restaurant review site every week! Honestly though, I have actually had some useful feedback from some of the more critical reviews. I don't really think that the site owner owes the restaurant owner anything other than a reiteration of why her response was not posted, and a sympathetic reminder that these reviews come with the territory these days, like it or not. Besides, who cares if this was only one negative opinion in the midst of numerous positive ones?
  5. I agree with TheFoodTutor that your gratuity may not have been added. At my place, the servers often don't add the grat if things have been going especially well or if we know the customer well. When it is added, our policy is for the servers to mention to the guest that the tip is included when the check is dropped. Since a manager has to add the grat to the check, the server is reminded of this as well. This clears things up nicely, and we are sure that any additional gratuity is intentional.
  6. You most definitely should not have been charged. The only time I have ever refused to take back and not charge for an order was the person who wanted to send back their BLT because it had bacon in it. Not kidding.
  7. I do know Ariane. We both live in the same town and both own restaurants in Montclair, NJ. Her restaurant, CulinAriane is wonderful! Ariane is extremely talented, and a lovely person. We even "share" a server who works at both of our restaurants. She has nothing but high praise for her as well. I'm so happy that she has achieved so much and am rooting for her!! (No, I can't get inside info, but my understanding is that filming is over)
  8. I recently saw online that Ariane is one of the contestants in the new season of Top Chef! I checked the Bravo site and sure enough, there she is. (Maybe someone with more computer skills than me can post a link) How exciting is this? Congrats, Ariane- we'll be rooting for you!!
  9. Just deleted a double post- oops. (just proved my point about my computer skill!)
  10. My comment was not directed at the choice of where to advertise; it was the bias toward the advertisers in the reviews published in the magazine with the readers left to assume the impartiality of the review. That's what's shameful... ← I really find it hard to believe that there is a direct correlation between good reviews and advertising in NJ Monthly. Our restaurant has been very favorably covered- in reviews, readers and critics polls and other articles, and we have never advertised there.
  11. Montclair's Nicky Messiah makes the best toffee in the world! It's really outstanding and can be found, I believe at Spice it Up on Bloomfield Ave in Montclair. If not, check her web site missnickys.com- although I didn't see anything about her toffee there, there is contact info.
  12. That's why this competition is so brutal. It's not a cumulative thing, you have to kick ass week after week. ← Yeah, kind of like the restaurant business!!
  13. We have this problem at my place, and it's gotten even worse since Starbucks opened down the street. We have a casual but very nice BYO in NJ. I have had to post a sign at the door that outside beverages are not permitted. People still try to bring their own coffees in, especially during weekend brunches when there are waits for tables- even though we have take out coffees and espresso drinks. The quality of our coffee isn't an issue, either. We use very high quality products and most people comment on how great our coffee is. I think that people really don't think about what is or isn't appropriate. They just want what they want. On our end, we sell food and beverages (no alcohol). Period. Believe me, it's not easy without liquor sales. And our servers earn their living from tips based on what they sell. Period. Bottom line- bringing your own beverage (or food for that matter) into a restaurant is almost never appropriate.
  14. You not only did nothing wrong, you acted admirably in calling the restaurant to let them know you'd be late. If only everyone was so considerate!
  15. I use InDesign for my menus, and find myself using it for almost everything. It's Adobe software, so if you know Photoshop, you're halfway there. It's really easy to use with Photoshop, especially on a Mac- you can just drag the photos into the document.
  16. Nope...you're thinking of Venue, which closed over a year ago. Different chef. ← Yes, thanks! Does anyone know what's become of him? Or whether he has opened or will open a new place? Since NY is famously lacking in places in this category (slim pickin's after WD-50 and Tailor until Paul Liebrandt gets back in the act), I'd think it would at least need to be discussed in an NJ must visit topic. ← FWIW, Paul Liebrandt's very first executive chef job was in.....New Jersey. At (the late) Twentyeight in Montclair.
  17. It seems to me that there are two issues here. One is whether or not laptops are appropriate in a certain type of restaurant or bar, and the other is whether or not the owner of this bar handled this stuation appropriately. Chris sems to state that he was seeking input on the first issue, but I'd like to address the second issue. Unless you've actually been in the position to own or manage a restaurant, it's hard to understand what a slippery slope it is to start making exceptions to policies. I can't tell you how many times making "just one exception" for someone has turned around and bitten me in the butt. As an owner, I do understand the need to bend the rules sometimes (yes, hospitality is our business!), and do- but try to do so infrequently, since this not only sends mixed messages to other customers, but can get very confusing for my staff. I want them to be empowered to uphold our policies (whatever they are), whether I am on the floor or not and it can truly undermine this when exceptions are made. You have to realize- it's never "just this once..." when you are dealing with hundreds, or in our case thousands of people a week. There are sooo many scenarios that could have taken place in the past that led to this owner's actions that I think it is really unfair to second-guess him or call him inhospitable and grandiose. Believe me- no owner wants to say no to a paying customer, and it's a very difficult thing to do. You wouldn't believe the things I've had customers feel entitled to do- then get offended when politely told they can't. Regardless, sometimes you just have to stick to your guns and remain polite (whether you want to or not!!)
  18. JoRic


    I find my Zagats extremely useful.....in the car, as a directory for phone numbers and addresses. You really have to take everything else in there with a huge grain of salt. I own a resturant and can't tell you the amount of misinformation they have published about us- and that is with fact-checking. Right now, according to the guide, we are closed on Sunday. Funny, but Sunday brunch is our busiest service of the week!! And that's just one example of many- just from one restaurant.
  19. I loooove this place!! I have not been able to drink any other tea since discovering them late last year. They are a greaat addition to our downtown!
  20. I noticed the same thing! At first I thought I was losing it, too!!
  21. Just wanted to clarify a couple of things about Raymond's. We serve our brunch on Saturdays and Sundays until 4:00. We do close in between lunch and dinner, but only for 90 minutes. There are both breakfast and lunch items on our menu. Also, while we are known for our French toast, it isn't stuffed (sorry, Curlz). You can see our menus at www.raymondsnj.com Thanks, Joanne
  22. Another option is a new "virtual" bakery- www.basickneadsbakery.com. Although Cat (the owner and EG member) is actively looking for a space, right now she will take orders and deliver. All of her baked goods are wonderful!
  23. My faves are Aozora and Nori, both on Bloomfield Ave.
  24. [Hello to all. I don't post often, so most don't know me, but I am one of the owners of Raymond's. Thanks so much Tamar for the kind words (waits aren't really long except maybe on weekends, though). I've been reading this thread with interest and have been thinking all the while how lucky Raymond and I are to have the location that we do. I wouldn't trade it for the world. We are in the middle of a very active downtown with plenty of parking, and a great movie theater across the street. What happened to make Raymond's a reality? Well, Ray started the business 18 years ago when this was a risky area to be in. People told him he was crazy to take a business to Church Street at that time. There really weren't any restaurants down here at that time, but Raymond's became a destination because Ray (I wasn't working with him then) has always had a good understanding of his niche and been a stickler for quality. Of course, there is much, much more to the story, but I do have to get back upstairs to the dining room right now. I would be more than happy to answer any questions, though. Is it reproducible? We certainly hope so- we would love another location some day!
  25. I have my fantasy restaurant. Now if only I could get that fantasy staff...
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