new story in the eugene weekly: meat and greet at benedetti’s

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It’s been a while, I know, but I have a story in the quarterly Chow! food edition of the Eugene Weekly on Benedetti’s Meat Market in Springfield!

It’s been a rough few months with school, conference, and publishing deadlines, but I’m nearing the end of road on all that, so I hope I’ll be up to more cooking and food writing soon.

Check out the print edition, on the stands now, or at least read the excellent article on Dickie Jo’s online.  As one of the “Misinformed” bloggers who don’t like the concept or the spreadsheet model of creating chain restaurants, I think one can read quite a bit into the reportage here.  The word “Misinformed” is an interesting choice, and it speaks to exactly what rubs me the wrong way about the nascent Westraunt Empire.  I don’t want to be “informed” by a marketing team that is trying to get me to buy into a concept that hits emotional buttons (e.g., good ol’ days 50s-style burger joint dedicated to parental love), calls its customers “focus groups,” and cuts costs on food and labor with an eye on expansion into bigger and more lucrative markets.  I want the food itself prepared with love and respect and creativity, and I want to be able to make my own judgments about the quality of what I taste.

So.  Benedetti’s.  I did a bit of research for the story before I left for Buffalo v 1.2, and I took one rather sad picture (see storefront below), so I was worried that the deadline wouldn’t allow me to get more photos after I came back, so the EW photographer got the action shot of James Benedetti.  I thought it turned out pretty well, don’t you?

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But I did get a chance, upon my return to get a few shots of lunch, so I thought I’d share them here.  Really nice ribs that unfortunately had Bulls Eye as a dip that day due to running out of the good stuff, and a slightly tough cut of lamb sirloin (I think they’re always tough), with side salads that met Retrogrouch’s approval.

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The pork, as I mention in the article, is all from Sweet Briar farms, and the lamb is Anderson Ranch.  You can see the ribs and pulled chicken waiting on the grill.  Waiting for you, that is.

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Check it out for your July 4 BBQ!  Great prices, friendly meat guy, premium meat.  The trifecta of BBQ bliss.

9 thoughts on “new story in the eugene weekly: meat and greet at benedetti’s

  1. Veronica 2 July 2009 / 11:40 pm

    Great EW article! I must get myself to Springfield.

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  2. cheezilla 3 July 2009 / 11:17 am

    can’t wait to visit Benedetti’s…yummm. As for the Dickie comment by Mr West, I couldn’t agree more with you Eugenius – “misinformed” speaks volumes about their attitude towards the customer. Anyone have a firm count on the number of Westaurants that are now closed in this town? 8? 10?

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  3. brandon 3 July 2009 / 8:23 pm

    I think you are thinking of west brothers bbq, mona lisa, and river ranch steak house, all of which were sold, not shut, and none of which were owned by the “westaurant” west bothers at the time of sale.

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  4. clayton 6 July 2009 / 10:36 am

    The mere existence of Dickie Jo’s makes me angry. I used to live in the apartment building next door to Dickie Jo’s and for months before they opened, that rod-and-cone-searing wall would reflect red onto my ceiling throughout the afternoon. So my girlfriend and I went shortly after they opened hoping the food would be great and make up for the existence of the wall. $24 later and still hungry, we left defeated.

    The thing that rubs the most, though, is the tireless defense of the value at Dickie Jo’s. The West bros. and their defenders don’t seem to understand that value to a customer is not related to the gap between cost of ingredients and sale price, but to the quality and taste of the food relative to the market and sale price.

    Just over a year ago I was eating Shake-Shack burgers in Manhattan with REAL ice-cream milk shakes and quality, as opposed to Quality(TM) ingredients with the total price falling well below Dickie Jo’s.

    Dickie Jo’s is the physical manifestation of a Sarah Palin resignation speech.

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  5. April 6 July 2009 / 5:00 pm

    I love your blog!

    I went to Dickie Jo’s about a month ago. My burger was, well, close to uncooked. I love rare steak, but not uncooked ground meat at a restaurant.
    I saw both owners so I went up to one of them and quietly told him about my burger. He was SO UPSET with me(!) — he told me the beef they are using is “the safest meat on the planet” and went on very loudly (also spitting). My kids were freaked out, so was I. (My husband thought the food was great and enjoyed his burger, as well as the fries, onion rings and malt.)
    I had to assure my kids I won’t die of food poisoning and if I did, they know who to blame! ;-)
    I cook for living and I am very aware of food cooking temp. I know mistakes happen. But talking to me like I am a bumbling idiot didn’t sit well with me at all. Just a “Sorry, would you like us to cook this a little longer?” would have made me very happy.
    I won’t go back there and won’t be giving them my hard-earned money, that’s for sure!

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  6. Eugenia 6 July 2009 / 6:23 pm

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. FWIW, I didn’t think the food was *that* bad, just too greasy and served without an eye for detail or much care in the presentation or taste. The pickle was good. I also liked the cheery and overworked floor runner, a high school girl with short, boyish hair and a cheery smile. It’s the Westraut Concept I find offensive.

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  7. Veronica 6 July 2009 / 7:39 pm

    The “misinformed” comment was stupid. Doesn’t he know it’s a bad idea to piss off bloggers! :p

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  8. Clayton 15 July 2009 / 10:45 am

    It’s become clear to me through correspondence that the West Bros. believe Yelp reviews, constitute blogs, so don’t take their comments too personally.

    And their burgers aren’t *that* bad, but their hot dogs surely are. I can say equivocally that the Dickie Jo’s dog I had ($6.49) was the worst I’ve had in years.

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  9. Eugenia 15 July 2009 / 11:12 am

    I had a feeling that was the case about the blogs, Clay — thanks for the confirmation. Too bad they’re not taking their customer base seriously.

    I’ll take your word on the hot dogs. I don’t eat hot dogs, myself. :)

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