One of the funnier sides of doing what I do for a living is cataloging the endless tides of insipid press releases that wind up on my desk. From TRAFON (check it out backwards), a company devoted to gastrointestinal distress, to an inquiry from a singing gynecologist who was anxious to appear on my radio show, eager to preach his message that happy and healthy women needed to understand the crotch-appetite connection to enjoy a wellness-focused lifestyle—well, I get a lot of stuff that you just couldn't make up if you tried.
Parasole Restaurant group is the undisputed king of the double entendres; remember its Chino Latino billboard brouhaha? Well, they have sent me some great releases touting everything from Figlio’s Britney Spears (the asparagus dish, not the gas-station-urinal-hopping, barefooted pop singer) to Chino Latino’s Robata-style, grilled skewered meatball appetizers (“. . . nobody can touch our balls!” is I believe how Parasole honcho Phil Roberts phrased it), but the best stuff always comes from the unintended and underwhelming offerings I receive.
I got a release yesterday at the TV station for a club/restaurant opening in the North Loop Warehouse District. The invite for a private press tour and tasting (I make it a rule to never go to these, that’s how bad they always end up being) of the Visage nightclub and Rosewood Room restaurant offered the following—the sarcastic italics are entirely my own. The rest is, scarily, all too real:
“At last (OK, this will be good, must be something we have never seen before in these here parts, whooooo-eeee), Minneapolis will offer an inviting and creative nightspot with both the comfort of a quiet and secluded lounge setting with sofas, wine tower, and marble bar (WOW! sofas and a wine tower, holy crap!) for cocktails and dining—while the adjoining room will feature the sparkle, lights, action, and musical spirit of a downtown nightclub—each with its own entrance (no way, really?) . . . small plates and elegant wines (oh no. . . not small plates again! Aaaaagggghhhhhhhh!) will be the signature (the most overused word in the biz) for this newly transformed warehouse space with see-through fireplaces and imported Brazilian walls of rosewood . . . .”
Releases of this type, attempting to convince the reader that something unique is actually being created, are my favorite category in the business-to-business literature oeuvre. Whatever happened to the good ol’ days, where people actually tried to create a restaurant that offered something that didn’t exist in the Twin Cities rather than what already does? Here’s my freebie list to all the wannabe restaurateurs of concepts that we currently don’t have in town, that would seem to be can’t-miss killers based on all the e-mail and letters I get from real-life potential customers . . .
A great Chinese restaurant serving high-end authentic foods; think Shun Lee Palace or Mr. Chow’s. 20.21, one of my fave eateries, doesn’t count because it does its own version of Cal-Asian food. It rocks, but it’s not the same.
Indian food that isn’t based on a cookie-cutter menu or offers only a watered-down version of the real thing . . .think Devi or Dawat.
A real full-service delicatessen that makes everything on premises; think Carnegie, Stage, 2nd Avenue Deli, etc.
A real food emporium featuring prepared foods and specialty goods; think Dean & Deluca, Barefoot Contessa, Citarella, Balducci’s, etc., etc.
A Japanese yakitori bar, Robata grill, or shabu-shabu hot-pot restaurant.
A South American–style steakhouse like Fogo de Chao.
. . . Next week, reasons why you might never see these types of restaurants open locally in your lifetime.