Friday, November 23, 2012

New Year's Resolution

OK if you think it is still too early to be listening to Christmas music then you'll definitely think it is WAY too early to be making New Year's resolutions, so just skip this post...or pretend it is about unicorns, or apple pie, or kittens.

Let me preface this by saying, I think NYE resolutions are kind of pointless.  I also think NYE is amateur night and you couldn't pay me to go out and "party" on that night.  Been there, done that, have the social scars to prove it.  The whole holiday reeks of desperation, sort of like Valentines Day but without the wrist slittingly depressing emphasis on relationships.  I like to stay home with family and watch movies, eat good food, and just relax and have fun.

Several years ago, I'm not giving exact dates because I'm too brain dead to remember exact dates...besides this isn't history class so lay off...what was I saying?  Oh yeah, so several years ago I made a New Year's resolution to eat only at local establishments when I was here in the valley.  And I did it, I went a whole year without spending money at TGIMcfunday's mega corporation evil empire type restaurants.  It did annoy the heck out of several of my friends and family, but they've forgiven me, right guys?  Guys?  Uh, guys?

Um, moving on.  Cache Valley is receiving yet another chain restaurant (Buffalo Wild Wings is building on the pad that was vacated when Ruby Tuesday's tanked), and there are negotiations right now for a 5 Guys franchise as well, but that one isn't set in stone yet. 

I am getting sick of hearing people gush about chain restaurants.  Yes, they are good and consistent and have slick advertising to suck you in, I get it, heck I even eat at them sometimes.  That doesn't mean I have to join the chain cult.  These same people who are clamoring for a TGI Friday's, Applebee's, Marie Calendar's, and all other national establishments are usually the same people who give me a blank stare when I ask if they've been to Jack's, The Factory, or any of the local food trucks.  Heaven forbid I suggest meeting for lunch at Sweetly Divine, Pupuseria El Salvador, or Kamin Thai, because none of those restaurants have mozzarella sticks, chinese chicken salad, or fajitas.

This year my New Year's resolution will be to vote with my dollar by eating locally when I'm here in Cache Valley.  No homogenized chain restaurant fodder for me in 2013.  When I choose to part with my hard earned money, it will be at a homegrown Cache Valley original.  So if you ask me out on a date, be prepared to take me to a mom & pop restaurant.  If you are planning a meetup or party at a big franchise, please don't be offended if I come but don't order anything.

Eating local isn't hard and it isn't restrictive.  Cache Valley has amazing and unique eateries from Hyrum to Lewiston.  You could eat out once a week at a local spot and not repeat restaurants for the whole year.  I don't personally know a single person who has eaten at every local spot in the valley.  Heck even I haven't made it to all of them, I still need to visit Paco's and Mundo's before I can complete the list.  Don't forget that Jack's is almost done with their remodeling/expansion and will be opening soon (probably next week, but  don't trust me on that).  Also Savannah's BBQ is moving into the former Firehouse Pizza location in Providence and they are hard at work getting the building ready for opening.

The national chain restaurants won't be hurt by 1, 5, 10, or even 100 people taking this challenge, they won't even know you're gone.  But the local restaurants can survive and hopefully thrive if you do this.

So, one question remains: who's with me?


Abby (Diligent Joy) said...

I really believe in buying/eating local. Sometimes, buying local can be hard because the price tags at local boutiques or markets are higher. Eating local should never be difficult, though, since most mom and pop joints are around the same price as big chains. Don't get me wrong- I frequent Taco Bell more often that I should but I do prefer to support local spots as often as I can. It's easy, too, since chains are usually not as good to me as local places. Chili's and Applebee's have never been on my favorites list. I have never had anything I truly loved at a big chain like those. When I hit Porcupine or Red Butte, however, I always have a hard time choosing just one thing from the menu! This is one of the best resolutions I have seen over the years!

The Suzzzz said...

And then there's the added bonus of becoming a "regular". You can't replace the feeling of the owner or servers knowing your name, where you like to sit, that you want ketchup instead of fry sauce or that you hate pickles, what you like to drink, and they make a genuine effort to make you feel at home.

Case in point, one of my favorite local Mexican restaurants also offers door to door tamale sales if they know you. At least once a week I have a tasty and inexpensive hot dinner delivered to my house and not having to cook on a busy night is priceless.

Recently I watched a news story on KSL that said that on average up to 30% more of the money spent at a locally owned and operated restaurant stays within the community. Instead of being filtered back to corporate headquarters. That same report said that if the restaurant locally sources their ingredients that the figure could be as high as 60%.

slimegreen said...

This is a really cool idea. Next time my family wants to go out, I will try and think of a local place. There are so many great ones around, and it would be fun to get everyone out of their ruts and try new things!

The Suzzzz said...

SG, I'm a strong local supporter because, sadly, so many of our great places have died a slow painful death. It always surprises me when people say "I've never been there" or "there is nothing to do here". People saying that need to pull their head out of the sand and explore. Every place I've lived I have explored and researched and learned about and found something to love. Because why live in a place that you hate?