Friday, December 17, 2010

Chow Baby Ponce Clarification

Recently I tweeted that I felt that the new Chow Baby on Ponce would be an addition to my DeathWatch in 2011. After this tweet, I was contacted by the restaurants PR firm of record, CWPR, Caren West. She claimed it was my schtick to slam businesses and also claimed that my facts were wrong. While I disagree with both of these statements, she is correct that I have yet to dine there. In fact, my issue is not with the food: I think the food is great and very reasonable.

The first issue:
parking - awful... To offer valet only at a value oriented hospitality operation makes about as much sense as offering valet only at a Motel 6. A call to the restaurant provided options of self parking in the back lot of neighboring Java Jive or on the side street Maiden Lane behind the restaurant. While the self park options at Howell Mill are limited, this seems even worse.

Secondly: Attempting the left turn into the restaurant from the opposite side of Ponce... all I can say is, good luck! Not gonna happen. The absence of a turn lane or left turn signal make this turn all but impossible during the day.

Thirdly: The space is not that big and while there is outdoor dining, that only compounds the need for more parking. The location on the westside is bad enough, this is worse. The Big Chow Grill at Cobb Galleria not only offers a dual stir fry line for optimum efficiency, but also has plentiful parking to compliment the optional valet.

Fourth: While the Local, Bookhouse and MJQ may do well, all three of these businesses do much (or in some cases, all) of their business in the late pm hours weekdays and weekends, so they are are in far better shape when it comes to traffic (minimal) and parking (easier). The Local opens after 5pm every day, Bookhouse opens at 2pm on Sunday and 6 all other days, and MJQ doesn't even open til 10PM most days!

Finally, as far as the Westside location goes, its parking situation is not 100% better, but it does have built-in foot traffic with hundreds of residents living in the apartment complex in which it is located. In addition to that, Georgia Tech and Georgia State students, among others, occupy many nearby houses and apartment complexes. The icing on the cake is that the headquarters of both Coca-Cola and Turner Studios are both nearby, providing eateries like the Westside Chow Baby with plenty of customers, especially at lunch.

Blogs are an expression of free speech, and as such, mine may at times express my opinions based on my own experiences having lived in Atlanta my entire life. I've seen what works and I've seen what doesn't, whether one agrees or disagrees, this is how I see it. If you see it differently, agree, or just don't care, feel free to leave a comment below.

15 comments:

Leyla Compani said...

Well said!! :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know...I live about a mile from there and never had trouble turning left into the lot when it was Doc Greens--no matter what time of day it was. I must have been the only one though because you see how well that restaurant did.

Anonymous said...

Your explanation is quite clear and objective and should be applauded. You're not just ranting, but providing clear explanations.

Restaurants assume that all they need is great food at a good price and they'll do well. I live pretty close to this area and don't head this way because of most of the issues you mentioned.

Restaurants that really succeed listen to issues like the ones you've brought up and deal with them constructively. One great example is how Hudson Grille in midtown provides free valet parking right on Peachtree. They're competing directly with Taco Mac across the street, but understood having free valet parking would be an advantage over their competition.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right on the money. Sometimes people don't like to hear the truth. Sounds like the company didn't do their homework before they committed to the location. Time will tell :)

Anonymous said...

I am not entirely sure I agree with your assessment of the restaurant's chances, but I completely agree with this post.

Don't concern yourself with the critics or whatever the professional turd-polishers (i.e., PR folk) are saying, its your blog and your opinion, and so long as you are not reckless or dishonest I encourage you to keep calling it as you see it.

Anonymous said...

who said they have great food? its mall food court slop at best. there is no such thing as a Mongolian BBQ, its made up like everything at PF Chang's. but it will probably survive because people like cheap and unlimited quantity. burgers and noodles. atlanta, the culinary destination right after new york.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

Not saying they have "great food" just that it's a fair price for what you get. I can't speak for the quality as it seems there is a difference opinions when it comes to freshness of both the meats and veggies, but I would tend to think that you would get fresher foods at nearby Doc Chey's in Morningside.

Nerac said...

Interesting here how vigorous Caren works to try to discredit your blog. It shows that your blog has quite some influence in her mind. You've arrived, sir.

DMAtlantaGa said...

You are correct about the location...

Interesting however, i figured that since at Chow Baby, the recipe was in the mind of the beholder, how could one complain about the food?

Urban said...

Th bottom line is- no one goes to Ponce de Leon Avenue for dinner (with the exception of ihop or the majestic after-hours).
There are too many better options in the highlands and Old Fourth Ward. This location may do well at lunch, however.
Also, the I read the PR Lady's comments on twitter, she is completely unprofessional! I would fire her if I owned this restaurant.

Anonymous said...

Went there .. Too small I came out of there with irritated eyes and reeking of Asian cuisine, additionally the atmosphere was strange, and uncomfortable. If I had Chow Baby on my mind, I would much rather visit the Howell mill location.

Sup said...

You can't get upset or defensive about the rantings of a PR company with three employees and a boss who spells Karen with a "C".

Anonymous said...

I eat at the Galleria location 2 times a month .. I like the food. I get a lot of veggie and spice it my way". I like it!it is fun... I like the option of free valet service. $2 tip.. rain or shine.
deal. I want to see them around it is a good concept.

Anonymous said...

The Valet asked me to self park my car next door....i was schocked and left.

Stimpson said...

Not regard to parking but with regard to "making a left turn on Ponce" and the idea that "noone goes to ponce for dinner..."

Eats has been open forever and does well (for dinner and lunch), and requires both the impossible left turn across ponce (if coming from the west) and the dreaded dining on ponce...