Well, the news keeps rolling on in on the Barrio/LBV/Solera/Bar La Grass story and my sense is that the next few weeks will be the trough between the waves as this story sorts itself out. I do believe that there is more here still than meets the eye and some of it is of no interest to me at all (salacious rumor mongering) and some I am keenly interested in (who else in the company knew what and when, how will this affect the product at the restaurants, why aren't more people covering the many angles to this story etc., etc.) and will be keeping an eye out in the days and weeks to come. Last week I caught up with Isaac Becker and you should read my posts from last week as a prelude to this next graph if you haven't already.
Isaac has a simple and succinct point of view on the whole deal, just like his food-style: "Money was stolen from us. No one paid us back." Isaac is of course referring to Josh Thoma's alleged fleecing of BLG to pay bills at Solera. Thoma also is reported to have done the same at Barrio, but Becker cares to speak only about his restaurant and what went on there. Smart man. I think Isaac deserves to be as pissed off as he wants to be; the Strib even said last week that Thoma cashed in equity to pay back BLG, but Becker reminded me that real dollars, cash, was taken and he is still out real dough. He further went on to point out that Thoma was stripped of equity and fired, not the softer version being cast around town both in print and online. It's a fine point but one that is important to make a distinction on. Most importantly though Becker told me that "everything here at BLG is going great. This is, in the end, the restaurant of my dreams and I have the greatest staff in the world.” He's right. He will be fine, and so will his restaurants, despite the recent headaches.
Found this story on the corner of Ridiculous Road and Sophmoric Boulevard.
Punch Pizza, maybe the single greatest foodstuff our town offers (that's an interesting thought . . . if someone held a gun to your head and said "Quick, pick one local food that's the best single thing to eat in our cities,” what would you pick?) sells Izzy's Ice Cream at several of their pizzerias. Izzy's is also in that conversation, I would think, about best of the best, but I digress. The folks at Grand Ole Creamery, taking a page out of my five-year-old's Pre-K playbook were so outraged that Punch was selling Izzy's product just a stone's throw from the Creamery's front door that they decided to sell pizza from a space next to the scoop shop. Vengeance!!!!
Bert's opened for business yesterday at Grand Old Day and I tried a slice. It's OK, not bad, not great. Totally decent admirable stuff. But come on GOC, Punch is a restaurant, and like many they sell some high quality desserts made off premise, in this case Izzy's. In my opinion the "I'll show you . . .” attitude of opening a pizza place in a clearly moronic tit-for-tat move is juvenile behavior at best. Additionally, Izzy's and GOC both make great ice cream, but only one makes great pizza. At the end of the day, quality is all that matters.