Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Shoo-Fly...the Evolution

Since the last time I posted about Shoo-Fly, it has had a bit of a tough go. It received harsh reviews from Richard Gorelick in the Sun and Tom Sietsema in the Post. And the crowds, while not entirely gone, have died down quite a bit.

I've also been a handful of times, both to eat and for drinks, including twice last weekend. While I don't think that either one of the reviews are entirely off-base, my take on the restaurant is a little more generous...especially given all of the changes I've noticed.

Over the weekend, I went once with Cail, Erin, Clark and Dixon for snacks and drinks (after an epic lunch at Petit Louis - do they do any other kind? - that also included my brother and parents) and again with Cooper and Bill, just for drinks. The drinks are not an issue - both reviews note that the bar program is a good one.

Cail did get one drink that wasn't a table favorite (and once we broke it down into "beer milkshake" we realized it was probably a bad order). And Bill did a shot of rye - that we warned him against - that didn't do him any favors the next morning. But the slushy cocktail, which is frozen and involves bourbon and apple cider...I could drink those all day.

But anyway, back to the changes. During my weekend visits, I noticed that:
  • Prices have dropped, most notably for the fried chicken entree ($24 down to $19). I didn't think they were unreasonably high to start with - but I'd heard that complaint.
  • At the bar, lemons and limes are available! There was definitely some pushback from the Belvedere Square crowd about the lack of normal drink garnishes. I heard some of this directly from friends. Apparently Spike heard, too.
  • The menu is not nearly as cutesy-without-explanation as it used to be. Some of Gorelick's complaints - and my friends' complaints - were about the lack of explanation that accompanied the cute names on the menu. "A walk through the alley?" OK, great, but what is that? Well, doesn't matter anymore. It's gone. This is, I think, a smart move - that was only going to grate on people's nerves. And I'm sure the waitstaff are thankful.
When I left on Saturday night, after sharing a few highly entertaining drinks with Cooper and Bill, I spied Spike chatting with the chef, "Opie," at the corner of the bar. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to stop, order another drink, and eavesdrop. The Sietsema review had just broken the day before - I can imagine that even more changes might be on the horizon.

But we had to get out of there - one "shift change" (a draft beer plus that shot of rye) was enough for Bill.

And anyway, I like Shoo-Fly just fine as it is. Do I wish it would open during the day on weekends? Yes, very much so. Have I tried everything on the menu? No, so I can't actually comment on all the food. It's smart for the crew there to tweak based on reviews - but I hope they aren't discouraged.I like it and I think it's a great fit for that space. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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