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Thread: Secret Restaurant Cartel

  1. #1

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    Secret Restaurant Cartel

    When I lived in Michigan one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Kalamazoo had a completely different menu than the one in White Pigeon or the ones I ate at in Chicago or in Georgia. But every Mexican restaurant I have eaten in Georgia has exactly the same menu. Same items, same specials, same numbers. Doesn't matter where. Even the first lunch special is always the same: it's always the Speedy Gonzalez.

    And yesterday we were out of town in an attempt to get "good" Chinese food and dammit if it wasn't the same menu as back home (all 3) or Rome GA. Same numbers, same little red chilis indicating which dishes were spicy. Even the same lunch special each served with the same choice of soups with your choice of egg roll or two crab rangoons.

    I realize ALL Mexican or Chinese restaurants are the same. I can get different food and menus from here if I go to Chicago, probably Atlanta, but why are SO MANY OF THESE RESTAURANTS EXACTLY THE SAME!!!

    Is there a secret syndicate of Mexican or Chinese restaurants? A faceless cartel that recruits families to move here and sets them up with a small restaurant with a prerequisite menu?

    Am I the only one who has noticed and pondered this? I realize that I am at risk if I do learn the truth of being placed on a secret cartel's hit list, but I WANT TO KNOW!

    -AJ

  2. #2

    knyfeknerd's Avatar
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    When you disappear after asking all these questions, can I have those Suisins you just bought?
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  3. #3
    A lot of times its the suppliers creating restricted options.

    I can go into a pizzaria and know in minutes if its just another craphole that buys everything from Lisanti.

    Btw, Speedy Gonzales? What's that? Other than a ticket to get your ass kicked in South Texas.

  4. #4

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    LOL! Speedy Gonzalez is always the same: one taco, one burrito and something else, chalupa maybe?

    -AJ

  5. #5
    Sounds a little sketchy to me. At least with the Chinese restaurants, you should ask if they have a secret menu. I've run into a few places that don't advertise everything they make because it doesn't sound appealing to most westerners.

  6. #6
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    SpikeC's Avatar
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    Yes, Hung Far Low (I'm not kidding!) had pressed mandarin duck that was not on the menu, butt boy-howdy was it good!
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
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  7. #7
    Lol. Not the exact same thing, but among mid- high end restaurants in Boston, you can very much see who is supplied by the same vendors...same dinner rolls, same micro greens, same shellfish specials, same summer tomatoes etc. That's not really anything bad, just a function of people using the available supply.

  8. #8
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    I have been lucky in finding a few decent Mexican restaurants lately, when I had given up long ago. One was a truck I drove past in a sketchy neighborhood late one night, they had no menu, didn't speak English and may have ripped us off, but those were some good tacos and tortas. Also found a couple of restaurants that will serve brain and tongue and anything else if you ask for it, a friend who speaks decent Spanish is helpful. If I could find great Chinese food, I would be even more happy.
    Anyplace that just has the standard Mexican restaurant or Chinese restaurant menu is usually not going to be good, in my experience.

  9. #9
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    sachem allison's Avatar
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    well, here in New York, most of the Chinese restuarants have the same menu more or less. They even have the same photos on the menu board and the same sauces. One day I asked a friend who owns a couple of these places, what gives? He said that most of these places are owned by immigrants from inland China straight off the boat. They get a bunch of family and friends together and pooled their finances. There are government run companies or schools that teach them how to run a chinese restaurant in America. You pick the package you want( Szechuan, Mandarin,Hunan style) and they will, teach you everything you need to start a small Chinese restaurant from accounting, ordering,approved vendors,equipment, menus, signage, recipes and they will even teach you enough English to get the job done. In exchange they get a huge chunk of change at the beginning and a percentage of sales, they even require you to train other people to open their own places. They smuggle you into the country, give you a place to live until you make enough to get your own place, they sometimes become your businesses landlord and they will spot check to make sure they are getting theirs and you ain't. The same things happen here in the city with Chinese nail and hair salons and dry cleaner/laundry mats. There really is a secret Restaurant cartel it is called the Chinese government and sometimes, the Chinese Consolidated benevolent Association and the Tong. They exist, I know. In China town you can walk by all the vendors and markets and notice that the prices are almost always within a few cents of each other. There is a reason for that.
    I haven't lived the life I wanted, just the lives I needed too at the time.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by sachem allison View Post
    well, here in New York, most of the Chinese restuarants have the same menu more or less. They even have the same photos on the menu board and the same sauces. One day I asked a friend who owns a couple of these places, what gives? He said that most of these places are owned by immigrants from inland China straight off the boat. They get a bunch of family and friends together and pooled their finances. There are government run companies or schools that teach them how to run a chinese restaurant in America. You pick the package you want( Szechuan, Mandarin,Hunan style) and they will, teach you everything you need to start a small Chinese restaurant from accounting, ordering,approved vendors,equipment, menus, signage, recipes and they will even teach you enough English to get the job done. In exchange they get a huge chunk of change at the beginning and a percentage of sales, they even require you to train other people to open their own places. They smuggle you into the country, give you a place to live until you make enough to get your own place, they sometimes become your businesses landlord and they will spot check to make sure they are getting theirs and you ain't. The same things happen here in the city with Chinese nail and hair salons and dry cleaner/laundry mats. There really is a secret Restaurant cartel it is called the Chinese government and sometimes, the Chinese Consolidated benevolent Association and the Tong. They exist, I know. In China town you can walk by all the vendors and markets and notice that the prices are almost always within a few cents of each other. There is a reason for that.
    Holy Sh..... I was half kidding but... Wow. I should take pictures of the menus. I can drive to three different towns and eat at three different restaurants owned by three different people and the only difference in the menu is the name on the front. I'm not kidding. You guys were making me feel it was just a Georgia thing.

    -AJ

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