What about people who always have to chase the new restaurant?
At a party this weekend, a friend handed me a page torn out of a magazine called “Details”. I spent a good amount of time on their website trying to find the article, to no avail, so I’ve copied a portion of it here. This is what I call “The shiny new ball syndrome.” I think it’s really interesting, and totally agree with their premise. I’d bet a lot of restaurateurs would too.
“An ugly subspecies is loose in the restaurant world, behaving in increasingly alarming ways. We speak, of course, of the foodie who absolutely, positively has to be there first. You know the type: The greedy little piggy starts drooling the second the latest hot join is heralded on DailyCandy. for this omnivore, dining out isn’t about a great meal of a satisfying experience, but rather the crotch-dampening pleasure of being ahead of the curve, of bragging, been there, eaten that — and then moving on to the next feed bag. Jeffrey Chodorow, who owns Asia de Cuba and two dozen other high-profile restaurants in three countries, has been tracking the migratory dining habits of this breed for years. “you know how some people are wannabes?” he says. “I call these folks the havetobes.” The havetobes’ shallow dream in life is to deflower a fork. “They’re scum,” says one acclaimed chef who refused to give his name “because business is business.”
The havetobe may think he’s eating on the cutting edge–Wow! You’ve already been to L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon? — but he’s actually a fool. After all, a restaurant isn’t a film. It’s an intricate web of moving parts that requires the well-oiled synchronicity that comes only with practice. When the havetobe insists on infiltrating a place so new you can still see the price tags on the furniture, he might as well be throwing his money away. Would you pay for the privilege of being herded like a cow by half-trained waiters who can barely pronounce Pinot Grigio. Would you let yourself be condescended to by a harried hostess who believes her shit doesn’t stink because she turned down 100 requests for reservations this afternoon alone? Would you wait two hours at a bar and then be rushed through dinner only to have the check slapped on your dessert plate because the maître d’ is trying to squeeze in another seating before closing? No, you wouldn’t. But the havetobe couldn’t care less. He’s already blithely moved on to next week’s hot spot because tonight’s place is so over.”
The article goes on to talk about the benefits of picking a few places you like, and sticking to them; the benefits of becoming a regular. You can read the whole thing in Details, August 2006 edition.