Monday, July 13, 2009

Trendy Monday: What Recession?

For reasons that I will get into later, Cooper and I had brunch yesterday at the Rusty Scupper. It's an older and famous, if not quite venerable, Baltimore restaurant, though neither one of us had ever been there. I'd always thought of it as kind of a touristy place (it does have a great view) or a place that people took clients from out of town (though I never did - people in advertising consider themselves too cool for a touristy restaurant.)

It's also expensive. Brunch was a buffet and, at $37 a person, not one for the faint of wallet. When we arrived, I expected a dining room that was half-full, at best. Maybe some tourists, maybe a handful of special occasion diners.

What we saw, instead, was a packed dining room filled with a mix of people, both local and otherwise. Couples, families, groups of friends. Some dressed up, as we were (somewhat), some dressed way, way, way down. But nobody seemed to be sweating the price tag.

That makes me wonder: what, exactly, is the Rusty Scupper doing right? It's not the only brunch buffet in the city, so is it selection that keeps it busy? Location? Marketing? Some combination of all three?

All I know is that maybe some of the more struggling restaurants around town might want to check out the RS as a bit of a case study. I'm not suggesting that everybody should start serving four kinds of oysters on the half shell every Sunday, but there just might be some lessons to learn from this spot.

[Photo from the Rusty Scupper website.]

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