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Doomed restaurants

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby chercheurdereves » Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:48 pm

Thusnelda wrote:How has La Rocca's survived this long? Roman Candle isn't the be-all, end-all of pizza by a long shot, but it at least has the requisite attitude for the neighborhood. I wasn't that impressed by La Rocca's when I stopped by, but that was several years ago. Still, it strikes me as being run by people who don't really know how to market a restaurant.


I have long thought that we have an odd relationship to food in this country. We confuse quantity for quality; popularity for excellence; and trendy wait staff wearing bling for good service. Luckily, at La Roccas, you are guaranteed a high quality meal served by friendly wait staff or often the owners themselves in an atmosphere of peace and warmth like you would find at home around the kitchen table, if people still ate that way.

Vito and his wife, the owners, are two of the most charming people you could hope to meet. They have spent 33 years in the business and have raised their family on what they have earned the honest old fashioned way. They were among the first people we met when we moved to the neighborhood, and we are glad to count them among our friends.

What they seem to lack in "knowing how to market a restaurant" isn't because they are fools. It is because they believe in delivering a quality product every time. What they have understood in three decades of being in the restaurant business is that you can't leave the restaurant in the hands of a "substitute cook" when you go on vacation just to keep the money coming in while you are away. If you close the shop, your customers will wait for you to get back with photos and stories to share; likewise, you won't have angered any new customers who were expecting the same quality that they would have gotten had you been there.

What they have understood in three decades of being in the restaurant business is that you can't over advertise just to draw people in to the shop if the shop is small and having people waiting out side the door would only anger otherwise repeat customers.

What they have understood in three decades of being in the restaurant business is that a faithful repeat customer filling the seat in their shop is worth far more than the curious foodie who only recently discovered the restaurant's existence thanks to an advertisement on the Metro bus, and who likely will never make their way back to the shop.

Most importantly, what they have understood in three decades of being in the restaurant business is that a good meal and good conversation delivered with excellent service and attention to detail is what makes for a good business and neighbor. Vito and his wife believe strongly in being good business people who work hard and who turn an honest profit. What they don’t believe in is short changing those people who put their faith in them at meal time.

The reason that La Rocca’s has lasted as long as it has is because they are just a darn good restaurant, and those of you who are reading this series of posts and think that they are doomed to failure, I encourage you to stop by and try a pasta dish, or one of their pizzas made-to-order. You’ll be back there, trust me.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby Average Joe » Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:17 pm

Folks 'round these parts don't take kindly to first posts that are nothing but thinly veiled stealth advertising.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby boston_jeff » Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:21 pm

I do find it annoying that whenever I call La Rocca to order a pizza its always a guess as to whether someone will pick up the phone.

That said, Cafe LaBellitalia and La Rocca are by the best pizzerias that deliver to the near east side. Roman Candle and Glass Nickel aren't even close.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby Gregory » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:29 am

Thusnelda wrote:How has La Rocca's survived this long? Roman Candle isn't the be-all, end-all of pizza by a long shot, but it at least has the requisite attitude for the neighborhood. I wasn't that impressed by La Rocca's when I stopped by, but that was several years ago. Still, it strikes me as being run by people who don't really know how to market a restaurant.


I think Thusnelda has an ax to grind, and chose this site to make it. It seems that she/he has little knowledge of the many components required to juggle a restaurant business in this time of economic downturn. There are many factors in play always for a business owner, and few if any of them are visible to folks like Thusnelda.

Having stated the obvious let me say something that many not be aware of about La Rocca's.

The first time I stepped into La Rocca’s was about three years ago, which seems about the time Thusnelda last visited. In fact, this was the first place we ate at in the area after we moved into our home we bought in 2007. My partner and I have been to La Rocca's often as it is only a couple blocks away, but we also enjoy their meals delivered to us on those cold or wet days.

I can tell you that the first visit to the restaurant was like a warm cozy feeling enveloping me as if I were going into someone’s home. It was soon thereafter I learned that a family from Sicily operates the restaurant where everything is homemade, and can only be described as awesomely authentic.

From the wait staff that chats and makes easy conversation, to Vito the owner who comes out with his apron on to see how the meal is tasting, there is a sincere desire to make an Italian food memory. I love his wife Caternia who never fails to raise her hand from the kitchen and wave when we enter. It is like walking into the home of a relative where there is recognition you are there, but ‘my hands are in the dough so just make yourself at home.’ That causal charm is part of the dining experience.

There is a warm loaf of bread and a plate of meat lasagna waiting for you………even for Thusnelda. (They have veggie lasagna too, just in case.....)

Really, we must have better things to do in Madison than beat up on a family business that has been here for many years, and one that gives back to the community.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby TheBookPolice » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:36 pm

Dear La Rocca's--

If the previous poster/s is/are employees of your establishment, please tell them to stop. The Daily Page--itself a local business--charges for advertising. And as has been said, the readers who populate this forum truly do not appreciate being bullshitted. They also don't appreciate when some new member with a clear agenda starts taking absurd potshots at long-time members of the community.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby Gregory » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:03 pm

I may be a new member here, but my words should have no less standing than a long-time forum member. How long does one need to be a member to challenge a long-time forum writer? To even suggest such a thing is most remarkable. That all sounds a little elitist to me. Since I was not offensive in my writing, I am some what stunned by your response.

To show that I am not a worker at La Rocca's, and that my words are sincere, you can go to La Rocca's and see them on his wall for the review I did for his place of business many months before I even knew here was a person named Thusnelda.

Case closed.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby rabble » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:05 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:Dear La Rocca's--

If the previous poster/s is/are employees of your establishment, please tell them to stop. The Daily Page--itself a local business--charges for advertising. And as has been said, the readers who populate this forum truly do not appreciate being bullshitted. They also don't appreciate when some new member with a clear agenda starts taking absurd potshots at long-time members of the community.

Are you including me in that? I'm not an employee, but I am a little biased. I haven't found ravioli that good for that price anywhere in town and I would like very much for La Rocca's to stay until that isn't true any more.

After that, they can leave if they want or stay, I guess. But definitely I need them to stay until then. It's very important to me.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby Average Joe » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:22 pm

rabble wrote:Are you including me in that? I'm not an employee, but I am a little biased. I haven't found ravioli that good for that price anywhere in town and I would like very much for La Rocca's to stay until that isn't true any more.


ob·tuse /əbˈtus, -ˈtyus/ [uhb-toos, -tyoos]
–adjective
1.not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby rabble » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:06 pm

Average Joe wrote:
rabble wrote:Are you including me in that? I'm not an employee, but I am a little biased. I haven't found ravioli that good for that price anywhere in town and I would like very much for La Rocca's to stay until that isn't true any more.


ob·tuse /əbˈtus, -ˈtyus/ [uhb-toos, -tyoos]
–adjective
1.not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.

You mean there IS ravioli that good for that price? Great. Where?

I'd still rather they stayed, though.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby TheBookPolice » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:40 pm

No, rabble, I wasn't talking about you. You didn't even appear on this page of comments until now.

Yes, Gregory, the case is closed. Now that you've weighed in, the conversation clearly has nowhere else to go.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby swoon_queen » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:16 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:No, rabble, I wasn't talking about you. You didn't even appear on this page of comments until now.

Yes, Gregory, the case is closed. Now that you've weighed in, the conversation clearly has nowhere else to go.


C'mon, Book, methinks you're being a little harsh to the new guy. I think I alluded to this before in the Madison Sourdough thread (wherein another brand new forumite who stepped in to defend a favorite place of theirs was met with suspicion, condescension, and sarcasm) but to reiterate: Honestly, sometimes I wonder how/why/if anyone even bothers making a first-time post on TDPF with the oft-instant dressing down they're likely to get, should they write anything impassioned, political, or well-informed. Should it really be only long-time posters that are allowed such license while sharing their opinions on an entirely free, mostly anonymous forum?

A separate point: Yes, I understand that The Daily Page charges for advertising. However, just as most Madison kiosks are free and most bulletin boards are free, this internet forum could be seen for tech-savvy yet teeny tiny or "Mom and Pop" businesses as a great, cost-effective way to do promotion (local bands, themselves local businesses, come to mind) and in my opinion, they should not be berated for doing that.

Juuuuust sayin'. I will jump down off the soapbox now. :)
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby TheBookPolice » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:15 pm

I wouldn't have said anything--the reasons why these posts draw suspicion and occasional scorn are well-known--except for the bizarre accusation that a long-time forum member is somehow hacking away at a little Italian place from this fortified bunker of the internet.

That shit's just stupid.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby jman111 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:32 am

Average Joe wrote:Folks 'round these parts don't take kindly to first posts that are nothing but thinly veiled stealth advertising.


TheBookPolice wrote:Dear La Rocca's--

If the previous poster/s is/are employees of your establishment, please tell them to stop. The Daily Page--itself a local business--charges for advertising. And as has been said, the readers who populate this forum truly do not appreciate being bullshitted. They also don't appreciate when some new member with a clear agenda starts taking absurd potshots at long-time members of the community.


Alright, against better judgement, here goes.

You arrogant, elitist, judgemental pricks!
(OK, maybe not Joe- if he's merely giving a warning about OTHER folks 'round these parts. But there remains an accusation of "thinly veiled stealth advertising". And there are others who have not weighed in on this particular thread- you know who you are.)

So, it's okay for "forons" to ridicule others' business practices and criticize food quality, but when someone comes along (employee or not) to defend an establishment- they're out of line? WTF? A newcomer has just as much right to express his or her opinion as you who claim dominion over TDPF. Get off your collective high horse.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby Thusnelda » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:41 am

Geez, I want local businesses to survive! I'm not trying to go all Kitchen Nightmares here, but if my experiences can tip people off that a restaurant puts out some kind of a vibe, so much the better -- for the people who want to avoid that sort of thing, but also for the people running that place who can respond to it (or ignore it altogether). I'm one person who may be PHENOMENALLY POWERFUL or completely off my nut, but I'm still just one person. I highly doubt that my words on some forum will sink a place.

(And if I'm wrong, ooooooh doggies!)

As to what swoon_queen said about mom-and-pop advertising, sure -- I'd point out the recent PorkyPine Pete's posts as a good example, and the reason I went in there the other day. But the difference between those and some other posts is that the owner clearly identified himself and developed a rapport with his potential customers. Anything else just feels creepy.
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Re: Doomed restaurants

Postby wack wack » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:24 am

jman111 wrote:
Average Joe wrote:Folks 'round these parts don't take kindly to first posts that are nothing but thinly veiled stealth advertising.


TheBookPolice wrote:Dear La Rocca's--

If the previous poster/s is/are employees of your establishment, please tell them to stop. The Daily Page--itself a local business--charges for advertising. And as has been said, the readers who populate this forum truly do not appreciate being bullshitted. They also don't appreciate when some new member with a clear agenda starts taking absurd potshots at long-time members of the community.


Alright, against better judgement, here goes.

You arrogant, elitist, judgemental pricks!
(OK, maybe not Joe- if he's merely giving a warning about OTHER folks 'round these parts. But there remains an accusation of "thinly veiled stealth advertising". And there are others who have not weighed in on this particular thread- you know who you are.)

So, it's okay for "forons" to ridicule others' business practices and criticize food quality, but when someone comes along (employee or not) to defend an establishment- they're out of line? WTF? A newcomer has just as much right to express his or her opinion as you who claim dominion over TDPF. Get off your collective high horse.


Alright, against my better judgment, here goes: do you really not get it, jman?

If each poster had gone on to post more messages in other threads, in other areas, that may indicate a genuine attempt to join a forum and become part of a community. Then they'd be "newcomers."

One or two hit-and-run posts pimping your own interests is hardly reasonable. It's an asshole move that deserves scorn. These are not "newcomers," they are trolls.
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