April 3, 2011

America's Next Great Restaurant (Episode 1)

This blog is sort of co-written. My hubby & I are watching this show together. I decided to blog with the help of my hubby on how we personally feel about the concepts. I'm a little bit behind in blogging, so hopefully over the next couple of days I'll get everyone up to speed. Obviously I'll be expressing my personal opinions of the concepts so feel free to comment if you are watching. Episodes are available "on-demand" via Comcast or on Hulu.

So whats the basic premise of the show?
Who has the idea for the next great "fast-casual" restaurant in America.

The hosts, judges & investors ?
Bobby Flay - Chef & Restauranteur
Lorena Garcia - Chef & Restauranteur
Curtis Stone - Chef & Entrepreneur
Steve Ells - Founder/CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill

Whats the catch?
The winner will go into business with the 4 hosts.
They get to open 3 brand new fast-casual locations of their concept restaurant.
They will be located in Los Angeles, Minneapolis & New York.
Their concept will be open as of May 1st!!! (Thats 7 weeks from start to finish.)

What is "fast-casual"?
A reasonably priced, want to go back often, restaurant. (AKA: Chipotle)

Episode #1:
The top 21 concepts get pitched in Los Angeles.
The judges immediately issue a challenge to all the Top 21: Go cook their signature dish to show off their concept. (A majority of these contestants ARE NOT chefs...they would hire one.)
11 concepts get eliminated and the top 10 are selected.

TOP 10:

  1. "The Sports Wrap" - Healthy Organic Wraps Made to Order or Selected Off Menu. (Fran)
  2. "Saucy Balls". Meatballs/Pasta. (Joey)
  3. "Limbo" - A sublime diner w/bad options vs good choices. (Sandy)
  4. "ComplEAT" - Nutritionally Balanced, Fixed Calorie Food (Stephenie)
  5. "Hard n' Soft" - Fusion Taco Bar (Alex)
  6. "Wok" - Stir Fry For The Healthy Heart (Marisa)
  7. "Hicks" - Small Bites/Tapas of BBQ/Southern Food (Greg & Krystal)
  8. "Meltworks" - Grilled Cheese! (Eric)
  9. "W3 - Woods, Wings & Waffles" - Chicken & Waffles. (Jaman)
  10. "The Tiffin Box" - Modern Indian. (Sudhir)
I'll save you the gory details of this episode. It was pretty funny though. Most all of the eliminations were totally predictable.

What I will tell you is that we've already got a resident dirt-bag nailed down in the Top 10...aka: Alex. Even if hes just eliminated for his attitude/mouth then I'll be happy. His concept is also already being done in most places where tacos are offered....or you can do it yourself.

I can also tell you right now that "Wok" won't make it too far. Sorry Marisa, but your concept is everywhere. Maybe its not obvious to you but "make your own" style Mongolian Grills exist everywhere.

Also "The Sports Wrap"...really pretty much everybody makes a wrap nowadays. Subway & pretty much every sandwich place offers their full menu in wrap form. Sit down restaurants offer wraps too. This concept is dead in the water sooner than later. 

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