I happened randomly across a new sandwich shop for lunch today called Bite of Boston. It is a shop that recently opened that is trying to bring New England charm and food to the west coast. Their website claims that it is the bread that separates the east coast subs from the west coast subs.
As a detailed oriented (aka anal retentive), communication background, ocd-ish person, I of course have some analysis and hypothesis of this establishment and its first impressions on me.
I went to lunch with Joeyand Ray. The place is decently arranged and has Boston sports memorabilia on the walls including jerseys, helmets, pennants and pictures. However, out of place were a few San Diego items such as Dan Fouts framed jersey, a couple of Padres and Chargers pennants, and the strange Arizona State University pennant. For a place trying to replicate the East Coast and the flair of Boston, this was out of character.
They had artistic and individualized menu boards with clever boston sandwich names. The boards seemed too particular, and too specific and frankly too costly for a sandwich shop. Granted, they were cute, and I liked their flair, but for a company that I predict (more on my predictions later) will fail within a year, this seems like too high of an early expense. A few of their sandwich boards even had color pictures of 2 females (which I am guessing are family members) offering “Casey’s Buffalo-Chicken Wrap” and “Justine’s Chicken-Caesar Wrap.”
I ordered the sandwich called “North Ender.” It is prosciutto, sopressata salami, capicola, provolone cheese, roasted peppers, tomatoes, oil and seasoning on sliced Italian bread. It priced at $7.35 I purchased a soda – they only sell bottled sodas- of which I was also charged a crv fee (yes, three manual entries into the cash register). My total price was $9.72.
This price seems much higher than it should be. I can get a really good, customized sandwich, chips and a refillable soda at Submarina for dollars less. You definitely are paying for the “charm” of this place.
My sandwich was actually really tasty. The guy behind the counter – who seemed like the proprietor – was really friendly. He sliced the bread and came over and asked me if it was too thick or thin for my pleasure. He chatted up customers as they came in, asking how they had heard of the place. And he loved saying “the CHOWDER” when people needed a bowl. Back to my sandwich, it was delicious. It was a great blend of meats and cheese, and the bread was surprisingly soft and perfect (it appeared to be old and stale upon sight). The roasted peppers were a great addition to the flavors of the meat, and really gave it a unique taste. It’s presentation was on a paper plate. On taste alone, I would definitely eat it, and here again. However, if you know me, you know that I place a high value on, well, value. The price of this sandwich seemed rather high to me, and I was frustrated that refills were not available, and even more irritated that I was charged a crv fee. Wouldn’t it be better to just include the crv cost within the price of the soda so the customer is unaware?
Speaking of the soda situation, a customer came in and asked if they ever forsaw them switching to fountain drinks. The person who seemed to be the propieter stated that they would not. That even tho it was much more profitable, it was “messy” to have a soda machine.
|-Good Bread||-Over Priced|
|-Unique Offerings||-No Soda Fountain, CRV tax|
|-Happy Spirit||-Inconsistant Design and Theme|
|-A Good Product|
I hypothesize that this restaurant will not last very long. I give it 6 months to a year tops. It will not become a mainstay of Rancho Bernardo. My hypothesis is not just related to the soda or the price. I just get the feeling that it is a restaurant that was always someones dream to open, and they threw their passion into their desire, went very specific into many details, but fell short on the details that mattered.
The decorations are not completely to theme. The menu boards are extremely customized. The employee uniforms and hats seem too specific. They lay claim that their bread comes from a specific bread store in Boston. They have all these framed jerseys and helmets. It just seems that they had this vision, this dream and spent a lot of capital up front on meeting these “requirements” in their heart. Which is great, I am not knocking that. It just seems like there are some inefficient costs and details that hurt the bottom line. And in this economy, and to break into the restaurant business, is a detail that cannot be overlooked.
I love the entrepreneurial spirit, and I love that they are following their heart. I hope I am wrong in this hypothesis. For myself, I was frustrated with the designs and the inconsistencies and that I will not eat there again due to the price and the soda situation.