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Comment Archives: stories: Dining

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

Charles is a thin skinned reviewer. Whenever he trashes a place, like he does here, he monitors the comments and then tries to denigrate those who disagree with him. Charles, have some guts. If you want to run a place down, then stand back and see how your review is received by the people who read your columns, don't insult those who disagree with you.

5 likes, 29 dislikes
Posted by Wally on 07/11/2014 at 10:16 AM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

I have no affiliation with Nick and Jake's, but I do have a little experience in restaurant service and reading reviews around here.

I think Nick and Jake's dads as well as the rest of the staff would be the first to admit that they aren't trying to steal the customer base of Bluestem or Michael Smith's. I have been to their other locations and would call it better than average bar and grill food. That is a compliment. There is a lot of money to be made with that type of fare. Arguably the two most successful restaurant chains to come out of KC since G.R. (KC Hopps and 54th Street) have made their money exactly that way. Even PB&J has moved in that direction. Good recipes executed well at a reasonable price never goes out of style.

Nick and Jake's though positions themselves at a price point slightly higher than a 54th Street, Blue Moose, or Red Robin. What justifies that higher price is the service and execution. The food isn't going to blow you away, but the service and execution can justify paying a bit more for the overall experience. If you are not going to differentiate yourself on food (we could start a list of places serving Irish Nachos), you have to do it with friendly servers who make you feel welcome and add to the experience. You have to be able to time the courses according to the preference of the guest and not the kitchen or the host stand. If you think about the casual places that you like to go they are either inexpensive or they have service/execution down pat. Nick and Jake's isn't cheap, so focusing on the poor service and execution is fair in a review.

The good news is that this is an easy thing to correct. They can take some time training the staff on moving service from casual to upscale casual and the problem is solved. I know people who work there that are extremely talented. This review doesn't mean that I will never go there. If he said the food was awful, that would be a kiss of death. Service can be fixed. The employees complaining about the thoughts of a professional food critic and former server are shooting the messenger. If there are things to fix, fix them and get better. This is the lesson not learned by the last two concepts that resided in that space.

24 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Savvy Dave on 07/10/2014 at 6:23 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

My experience was quite the contrary. We had a waitress I believe from Yugoslavia who was fantastic. When Ferruzza raves about a restaurant, I have learned to keep away. When he whines, it's probably the place to go.

12 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by richiepoor on 07/10/2014 at 2:40 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

Did no one ever hear about Amy's Baking Company (Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares)? I only ask as I find the response to a somewhat critical review and some comments that lend credence to the negative aspects of the review, by employees and an owners parent, to be an example of how NOT to use social media. (I'm not comparing the ownership, style or anything other than the misuse of social media. It can be incredibly damaging.)

To have a new Special Events Manager commenting on a review is, in my opinion, disturbing. Stalk Yelp much? I'm sure this individual is incredibly proud of her new position, but responding to a Pitch article is just poor form.

There will always be yays and nays in any business - but if one review and some comments can throw a restaurant (the employees, it's owners, and THEIR parents) into such a tizz...that is more concerning than the bad review.

Take it in, look at the comments, but don't engage. Listen and learn. The internal based responses posted here sound like a petulant child rather than seasoned business owners. Nick & Jake's have established a brand. Whether that brand works in South Plaza remains to be seen, but the internal responses do give me, as a resident of the area and a one time customer of the establishment pause. Maybe this is why the waitstaff is so "in your face", that when you ask for five minutes you're given 45 seconds? Management should set an example for the staff - step back and breathe.

14 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by lissaplazakc on 07/10/2014 at 1:42 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

I just began working at the Nick and Jake's "on Main" as the Special Events Manager. I believe everyone is allowed their opinion and we will gladly take the constructive criticism. I personally get to see how hard the GM, Chef and Managers here work to encourage the staff and kitchen to get better daily. They are taking all opinions into account and trying to learn what the area is looking for. Fact is, people love to hear and read the negative and dislike positive comments on here as that is the culture we live in. I personally highlighted the positives that Charles wrote in my copy of the article. The negatives have been taken in and will only push us to be better. What I love about Nick and Jake's is they offer good food at a very affordable price for all types of people, the owners are awesome family oriented guys, they are focused so much on giving back to the community and always wanting to get better! Bring on the dislikes and negative comments, I am beyond proud to be a part of this team and know that it takes time for a new location to find its way, the right staff and the best food for the area.... and I 100% believe we will get there! Thanks for motivating me to do a better job today and in the future!!!

Jen Trompeter

32 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by jent on 07/10/2014 at 10:44 AM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

So-so food and a wait staff that can't, apparently, wait. I suppose it is a step up from the places that serve lousy food and take forever to get it to you.
Unsurprisingly, most of the "you don't know what you're talking about" comments are from people who have never commented about anything else The Pitch has ever published. My conclusion is not only are they "homers," they have no idea what a good dining experience is supposed to be about.

7 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by extremus on 07/10/2014 at 10:15 AM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

but a real review SHOULD bring out positives....as Ms amgkime, wrote. She needs to learn to read....3 or 4 times he offers great praise....if you work for the PR firm we get it is the job to spin...but short of that if you read the review you would see he did do what you suggested makes something a "real review"....wow how some just have to say something even if it is baseless....

14 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by silly on 07/10/2014 at 9:52 AM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

It sounds to me that Charles Ferruza's review of Nick & Jake's on Main was pretty doomed before his first of three visits. Walking into "a cursed building?" Really?
I'm born & raised in KC & have worked 20+ in the restaurant business (Westport, KC, Overland Park, Leawood & Plaza) & have read several of Charles reviews. After reading several of his reviews in the past, my opinion is that he is not very good at what he does. Anyway, I even worked as a Server at Nick & Jake's OP for the first two years they opened. I know Kevin & Doug as well as the Managing Partner & the Chef at the KC location. I can honestly say that each of them strive to be better, do better & show better every day. What have they been doing since opening just a few months back? Learning about their demographic & the people that live and/or work in South Plaza. Growing & making changes is a constant in this business. Giving each & every Guest a great dining experience. A phenomenal & seasoned restaurant partner looks forward to a REAL & HONEST restaurant review. The 1st one can really only go one way or another... good or bad, but a real review SHOULD bring out positives (usually given in a twisted form) & negatives (should be constructive criticisms.) N&J's on Main only being open 30-60 days, it's very unfortunate & sad that Charles Ferruza had a negative opinion before even stepping in first. 1) unintentionally or intentionally doomed from the get go (I.e. "doomed building") 2) Attentive service (Really? So train the servers to not show hospitality?) 3) "blah food" is a work in progress & those menu items are improving daily. Overall, a not so good review with easy opportunity to rectify the issues.

In closing, please do not allow the words of a restaurant review bully from "The Pitch" to dictate where u choose to dine in our great city. -Ang Kime

16 likes, 30 dislikes
Posted by angkime on 07/10/2014 at 4:59 AM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

Just go to the one in Parkville. GREAT food, honest drink, and an impeccable staff to boot. If you want something that creates a Pavlovian response, try the Bondo's tenderloin or anything on the specials menu. If you are fortunate enough to peruse their location at a time they serve cinnamon roll bread pudding, treat yourself to this small slice of heaven. I've tried the their new location only once, but I think it's a bad mix of Americana food with a contemporary "je ne sais quoi". If it's not broken don't fix it. Hopefully they will turn it around.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Dick on 07/09/2014 at 5:02 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

this reiew along with the comments has actually made me WANT to dine there. Just to see how bad it is. I can't look away. (as I eat my Irish nacho)...

10 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by scotch breath on 07/09/2014 at 4:48 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

It's tough when your kids bring home a bad grade card. It's really tough in the restaurant biz to get a rough review. So many people have put their heart, soul , and many hours into making something good. But ,that is the nature of the restaurant business . You can't please everyone every moment. None the less , that is one of our goals. We 've talked this over as a team and have some real opportunities to improve. Hospitality is what we do.
Thanks for the pros and cons.

Doug Watkins
Jake's Dad

56 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Doug Watkins on 07/09/2014 at 4:26 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

I don't agree with this post. Nick and Jakes has become one of my go to places. All of the staff is very friendly and accommodating and the food is decent.

6 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Dee on 07/09/2014 at 3:50 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

At least when I was there a couple months ago, the menu had "gremolata" misprinted as "germolata". That was the best part of the visit. Service was ok at a slowish lunch time, food was just ok too.

12 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Don Clark on 07/09/2014 at 2:29 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

Best example of an unintentionally scathing review goes to Lolly...."Bland Food for People in a Hurry".

20 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Zeemanb on 07/09/2014 at 2:28 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

The Irish nachos are a gooey mess. The service is non existent. Maybe that is the new normal. But it can really spoil a meal. There is no timing. I am a food service veteran. It is obvious to me that management has not a clue about training or service for the staff. The review is accurate. They have a long way to go to get it right at Nick and Jakes. As of now , they are heading off a cliff...

15 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Clotilde Abernathy on 07/09/2014 at 12:53 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

Sounds like Lolly Drinking-Wolf O'Manakul is an employee! (A couple others on here may be as well, from their tone.) That's sad when you can't let the neighborhood and actual customers of this location speak and, instead, have to have your staff comment on a review.

25 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by lissaplazakc on 07/09/2014 at 12:41 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

Disappointed to hear the news. Have never been that "wowed" by the original Nick & Jake's but thought the opportunity for them south of the Plaza would encourage them to bring their A game. I think the service as described sounds like Nick & Jakes, we ate at the original one fairly recently and experienced the same. My husband is crazy about this central location and really enjoyed the atmosphere when it was The Beacon. I'm sure he and his buddies will enjoy some meals here but, I won't be running out to join him if the food isn't a notch up from distributor's heat and serve fare. I can do Costco at home.

12 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by foodsnob on 07/09/2014 at 12:24 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

I disagree with this review. Its an example of what whiners people have turned into. I have experienced many many restaurants in the KC area and I have to say that Nick and Jakes has some of the best service around. Service is not entirely based on "timing" which was all you griped about. As a matter of fact you never mentioned any other issue with service other than "timing" First of all it is hard to find genuinely "friendly and attentive service. You mistake attentiveness as "rushing" you out. They arent rushing you anywhere, they are simple trying much harder than other establishments to not neglect you. Its a casual American comfort dining experience, NOT a 5 star $100 a plate show. Most of there clients are families who are rushing in and out with their kids or business people having quick meetings. For your typical White bread, chicken and bacon fed American the food is right on. They cater to people who don't want spice or too many exotic flavors to mess with their palate. As a matter of fact, their Irish Nachos are the #1 seller across all 3 locations as I have been told. So unless my math is wrong, the majority of people would disagree with one very opinionated and close-minded review. Oh and for those of you who would like extra time to look over a menu and dine... All you have to do is tell your server, "We're going to need some time" Its not that hard. So if I were to rate this review I would give it a -1 out of 100. The focus was based on pure one-sided opinion without any mention of positive. This is not a review, this is a bad day taken out on a restaurant. No wonder nobody reads the Pitch anymore

16 likes, 47 dislikes
Posted by Lolly Drinking-Wolf O'Manakul on 07/09/2014 at 12:19 PM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

I too have tried and actually wanted to like this place. Sadly, I agree. The service is out of control! The servers are either hovering at your table, or at the front staring at you. It is like they're just waiting to pounce to get you out. And seriously, five minutes to decide on what we wanted - with that varied and slightly odd menu - is not a lot to ask. The servers can't seem to help themselves - every 45 seconds "have you decided? let me recommend...". Let me recommend you back off and let us relax! Sheesh! We would have stayed for a cocktail if we didn't think we'd get the bums rush on sitting in a half empty dining room sipping a cocktail for 15 minutes. Not relaxing and the food is "meh" at best - definitely a lot of distributor/pre-made food. (Former industry person!)

I make my own meatloaf, and I'll still go to Minsky's if I want a hang out spot in the neighborhood.

Color me disappointed.

12 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by lissaplazakc on 07/09/2014 at 11:53 AM

Re: “Nick and Jake's on Main: a location with a curse, a menu with potential, servers with an itch

NOT everyserver there needs improvement! The service is great. People may need to brush up on things a bit, but talented people work there! From the front of house to the back of house. I love this location and its food. Reguarding the yes sir you can "You can measure a dining experience here in bites rather than in portions" when you order off of a menu that is specified " SMALL PLATES" I will always return to this location! GOOD LUCK NICK AND JAKES!

7 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Samantha Gibilisco on 07/09/2014 at 10:08 AM

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