So most dudes in the industry will tell you not to look at any yelp reviews, chowhound reviews, or basically anything posted online. We don’t believe in that. I read every bit of criticism I can find - while it can be disheartening to read, all citicism is important for growth. We don’t have many yelp reviews, but here is the last one, and I think it is a good opportunity to explain some of the quirks of the restaurant
3 star review from Kay R on yelp:
“Short story: Good food. Varied selection. Pricier side. Few, limited options. Friendly, informed, but sluggish service.
Long story: I really, really wanted to love North. I adored Ama’s and although disappointed when I heard it sold, was excited to learn about the experimental young cooks taking over. Walking in- Ama’s flashback. Except flashback isn’t really the right word because nothing had changed. They have not had either the inclination or the opportunity to put their own mark on the decor; the one exception of the neon ‘north’ sign in the window. Draped rope ceiling, river-stone entrance, and crushed ice still lines the bar for freshly shucked oysters, but only one variety on the menu.
And the menu. It’s small. And different. Don’t come here with a picky eater-different. But there are some really cool options and opportunities to do some taste-bud expanding. Shared dishes for 2-3 of Asian-influenced crab or pork, or a sandwich with ‘squishy white bread’ in the description. We decided on the oyster po’boy, and man - it was good. Warm, light, fresh bread - lightly fried oysters that melted on your tongue and into the burnt-honey-mustard and black-bean-mayo (I think I am remembering correctly). It was not overly-condimenty, although I thought it would be. The flavors were wonderful and all pulled through. But $8 a half-sandwich? The whole of this was smaller than half of Lili’s, for perspective.
No adoration just yet - maybe because they are still finding their groove. North was like that blind date you were really looking forward to, and your neither in love-at-first-sight nor try to crawl out the bathroom window mid-way through.”
This is not an unfair review at all, I am happy it was posted. But let us address some of Kay’s issues with our restaurant.
First on our front of house space: It is basically the same as Ama’s was. We have adjusted some lighting, changed the music, and carry a different set of liquors on the bar. Everything else is the same. This is because we are not allowed to change the front of house, as per our contract with the person who helped finance us. We would love to cut down the ropes and change the walls but we have to wait for five years if we are moderately successful or a bit sooner if we are wildly successful.
Considering the size of our menu, we have no walk-in refrigerator, only two small low boys refrigerators and one sandwich unit. There is physically no room for a larger menu. We also keep our menu small and rotating so that as cooks we stay passionate about it. And passionate cooks make better tasting food.
As far as our prices, it is something that every restaurant is struggling with. So here is the breakdown for our po-boy. The sandwich you had cost $14
6 Oysters - fresh shucked salt ponds cost us $4.5
1 Roll - V-mart bahn mi roll costs us $.50
2 Slices of tomato - hope st farmers mkt $.40
2 lettuce leaves - baldor $.10
Schmear of black bean mayo - house made $.20
Schmear of burnt honey mustard - our own $.20
Pickles - hope st market - house made $.25
Total food cost $6.15
So it only costs us $6.15, so why are we charging $14? Well we need to hit a 30% food costs in order to break even at the end of year. So we should be charging $20.50, but we are taking a wash on it and charging $14. We should be charging $10.25 for a half sandwich for the same reason. We wish we could charge less money than what we do, but there are bills to pay on the space. Our staff gets a fair wage. Our product come from our neighbors, and is never frozen or made by someone else.
So thank you for the crit Kay R., this is why we are the way we are.