Welcome to the interactive Louisville Restaurants Forum, a civil place for the intelligent discussion of the local restaurant scene and just about any other topic related to food and drink in and around Louisville.
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Robin Garr

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Robin Garr » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:39 am

GabeSowder Wrote:I have been an observer of this Forum for quite some years and have wanted to be a more frequent contributor but time and time again I have been utterly appalled by the complete lack of professionalism and outright shameful comments voiced and tolerated. Again and again I have seen issues that deserve meaningful insight devolve into vicious playground spats. This is called the "Louisville Restaurant Forum" and while there are tons of people with great food knowledge, the most vicious commentary stems from those with no professional food service experience at all and it tends to dominate any reasonable voice.

Gabe, with all respect, I think you seriously misunderstand what this forum is.

I would also add that I sought to support your venture by publicizing your Kickstarter effort here, on Facebook and in Twitter, and I made a contribution myself.

Thanks for your kind response. :oops:
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Steve H

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Steve H » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:04 am

Gabe,
I honestly don't understand the negative comments about your Kickstarter endeavor. It's not like folks are being forced to contribute. I'm hoping that you succeed in building the community connection that you seek!

But for the sake of your blood pressure, please give up the worry about disagreeable folks on the Internet. It's impossible to eliminate the negative, so accentuate the positive!
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DanB

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } DanB » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:17 am

Roger I def think it's news, simply because it's a paradigm shift in what most people perceive as Kickstarter's Raison d'etre. It's up to kickstarter alone to decide if this paradigm shift is appropriate for their biz model and up to its members whether Taco Punk's idealist program is worth a donation.

Edit to say this discussion would have taken place regardless of which restaurant took the step.
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Roger A. Baylor

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Roger A. Baylor » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:43 am

DanB Wrote:Roger I def think it's news, simply because it's a paradigm shift in what most people perceive as Kickstarter's Raison d'etre. It's up to kickstarter alone to decide if this paradigm shift is appropriate for their biz model and up to its members whether Taco Punk's idealist program is worth a donation.


That makes sense. My sentiments would have been expressed better by writing "tabloid news."
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Aaron Newton

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Aaron Newton » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:10 am

I'm just now catching up on this "controversy" so sorry some of my comments feel a little past expiration date.

I've not eaten a lot of Taco Punk - it's just generally a little out of our way. What I HAVE had is amazing and make no mistake I want them to be around for a long time to come. In turn I'm likely to make a small donation to the effort.

That said, I completely understand where critics of the campaign are coming from and I don't find the Eater Louisville piece to be some atrocious "snark fest" that shames its writer or belittles Mr Sowder and his establishment. I also don't believe that criticism should only come from people with experience "in the business". A food based community of insiders is not sustainable. I disagree with the Eater article, strongly, but the concerns expressed aren't entirely without merit, and the best way to respond to such concerns is openly, honestly, and (most importantly) without emotion.
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Derrick Dones

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Derrick Dones » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:59 am

Steve H Wrote:Gabe,
I honestly don't understand the negative comments about your Kickstarter endeavor. It's not like folks are being forced to contribute. I'm hoping that you succeed in building the community connection that you seek!

But for the sake of your blood pressure, please give up the worry about disagreeable folks on the Internet. It's impossible to eliminate the negative, so accentuate the positive!


This ^^^

Additionally, I did not take some of the comments from other members as particularly venomous. Slightly harsh...yes, but not totally unfounded. However, I understand that TP is your baby, and like any good parent, a slight towards your "child" is not looked upon lightly or favorably. Gabe, I would advise that these types of responses (along with Shane's and others positive ones) come with the territory. It is simply a byproduct you opened yourself (and your business) up to upon initiating the KS campaign. With that said, I would hope that the additional info that you provided in your post will at the very least blunt some of the more pointed commentaries.

With that said, now onto the good stuff...My wife and I decided to try and help the old-fashinoned way by dining @ Taco Punk on Saturday for lunch. We had tried your product previously, but usually from stands / food-trucks set up at festivals. Let me say that we left thoroughly impressed.

The service from the guy taking our orders was perfect. He was patient, as we took awhile to decide what we wanted, and provided suggestions as to what was good and what went best with / on what we ordered.

We each had a punk platter (2 tacos, chips, and a side) along with a fish taco that we rec'd free of charge b/c we participated in a promotional text messaging thing. I had the Barbeercoa tacos and she the pineapple pork tacos. These were some of the tastiest tacos I've had, and I love me some el mariachi / los gordiats. The barbeercoa was succulent and moist. The peepers and onioons that were in the braised beef seemed to melt into it, adding a very nice flavor. The pork was tasty too...not sure if it was smoked, but it tasted that way. Each platter had more than ample amount of chips and the side of sofrito beans was huge. Guacamole was a bit smaller, but had a nice flavor, and a sweetness to it that I've rarely had in guac. Toppings of cilantro, cabbage, pickled onions and jalapenos were fresh and complimented the tacos well. The salsa bar included 4 offerings of mild rojo, hot rojo, verde and pineapple habenero. I mixed some rojo with the pinepple habenero for an awesome addition to my tri-colored chips. The beer selection was more than adequate...TP had a variety of styles from Mexican brews, "corporate swill" :wink: and some craft brews like sierra nevad a etc. We opted for a BBC APA and West 6th IPA in a can. Total damage was about $30, sure it was pricey for a few tacos and a beer, but the quality of the product and the ethos of local, sustainable and recyclable / compostable more than made up for the cost.

Best of luck Gabe...I will certainly return to Taco Punk, and will probably suppoirt the KS campaign. BTW, I love the TP logo, with its colorful mexican skull...do you guys have / sell T-shirts???

Thanks. DD
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Doug Davis

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Doug Davis » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:55 pm

GabeSowder Wrote:But I will say this: No quick service restaurant in this region operates with Taco Punk's commitment to the environment, local sourcing, employee welfare, and the health of the customer by offering an affordable nutrition focused, fresh made menu.
Gabe Sowder



From one business owner to another, let me give you some advice. The stuff above? No one cares.

Will they tell you they care? Yes.
Will they sing your praises on facebook and twitter for your commitment to the environment and composting and recycling? Yes.
Will they love it so much that they are willing to constantly shell out $30 for tacos and a beer for two people in what feels like a upscale fast food establishment? No.

True story. We sell two different "brands" from the same inflatable kayak Manufacturer, AIRE Inc. The house brand AIRE is made in the US in Idaho and comes with a ten year unlimited manufacturer warranty. The off brand, Tributary, is made in China and comes with a one year warranty.

I have customers come in every day all day crying about not wanting products made in China. But when they find out the US made version is twice as much as the China made version, guess which one they walk out with? The Chinese made version.

As a liberal I admire your ideals. But you being a new business owner need to understand that your ideals are going to continue to hurt your business if they continue to add such a cost to your product that customers go somewhere else. And flat out that is what seems to be happening.Given the lunch/bar crowd in that area you should be doing better than you are.

Im not an "industry insider" so take the advice or leave it. Just my two cents.
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Jamie O » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:41 pm

I don't see what the big deal is. If you like tp support them, if not kick rocks. Whenever I have eaten there it has been good. I really appreciate his practices as far a local fresh food goes. It takes alot of guts to start a business and it takes alot of guts to admit you need help. However,it takes no guts to sit on the sidelines and point fingers at other people trying to make their dreams come true. I wish him nothing but the best.
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Derrick Dones

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Derrick Dones » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:46 pm

Doug Davis Wrote:
GabeSowder Wrote:But I will say this: No quick service restaurant in this region operates with Taco Punk's commitment to the environment, local sourcing, employee welfare, and the health of the customer by offering an affordable nutrition focused, fresh made menu.
Gabe Sowder



From one business owner to another, let me give you some advice. The stuff above? No one cares.



Based on my post above, people do care, so in this instance Doug, you are wrong.

My wife and I both noticed that prices were a bit higher at TP, but we also noticed the high quality ingredients (excellent beef and fresh veggie toppings), and the fact that the "silverware" and salsa cups were all made of compostable / recyclable materials...I didn't throw a single thing in a garbage can when we were finished with lunch. Thus, we were OK with paying a premium, because we felt like we rec'd a premium product. As far as "nutrition focused" goes, that wasn't of our concern. We simply wanted some good tacos and cold beer.

I agree that some folks could care less about the stances that TP takes on ingredients, the environment, its employees and a high-quality end product. For those people, feel free to go to Taco Bell or El ______ (fill in the blank with your choice of standard mexican place). However, these things do make a difference to some. I certainly hope there are enough people who think like this to sustain Taco Punk, because aside from all this, they turn out some very very good tacos. I would also add that $30 for a lunch with a beer each for the wife and I is not much higher than normal. We could each get two or three tacos and a michelada at El Mariachi, and with tip we'd be looking at nearly $24 - $25. For me the extra $6 or so is well spent.

For full disclosure purposes, this is coming from a guy who enjoys a few Meximelts with no meat late-night every few months or so...and I probabaly eat lunch / dinner at El Mariachi once a week. I just think Taco Punk has a good thing going, and the food I tasted was excellent...the other stuff is just the cherry on top of the mexican fried ice cream sundea.

Let me add, and this is not a knock on Ghyslain, but we went across the street after lunch for my wife to have a coffee and of course could not resist two or three of their beautiful chocolates. Total for a small coffee and 3 (half-dollar-sized) candies was like $11.00. To me Taco Punk was a far better deal...although one chocolate was probably the best I've ever had.

DD
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Eric Hall » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:12 pm

The wife and I tried TP for the first time this weekend. It was Friday evening and the place was busy.

We thoroughly enjoyed the food and didn't think the price was out of line.

Now onto my constructive business advice.

The fast casual setup does not encourage hanging out, drinking more beer and ordering dessert. If you want to encourage the outdoor seating and performance area, you need to get the grazers to spend more money. The only way I see to do this is table service or at a minimum, drink service.

The beer list was varied but minimal. The usual macro suspects were absent and replaced by the usual microbrew subjects served in bottles/cans only. If I am drinking an ipa, I want it in a glass. Recycled utensils/plates are great but reusable is ideal. Pint glasses, real plates, forks and spoons might save costs in the long run.

Another thing to consider is a draft system. A 4 tap box is not expensive and the profit on draft beer is higher than bottles. Draft beer allows you to further hone the locally sourced concept. Beer brewed a mile down the road will always be fresher than beer brewed across the country. Chances are it will be cheaper too.

Just my two cents.
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Doug Davis

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Doug Davis » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:31 pm

Derrick Dones Wrote:
Doug Davis Wrote:
GabeSowder Wrote:But I will say this: No quick service restaurant in this region operates with Taco Punk's commitment to the environment, local sourcing, employee welfare, and the health of the customer by offering an affordable nutrition focused, fresh made menu.
Gabe Sowder



From one business owner to another, let me give you some advice. The stuff above? No one cares.



Based on my post above, people do care, so in this instance Doug, you are wrong.


You are one guy. Unfortunately there arent enough like you to support a business based on that model. And Im not wrong. The ENTIRE outdoor industry went through this a few years back. Companies came out with recycled material tents, sleeping bags, kayaks, all kinds of stuff. Very few customers were willing to pay the higher prices, the business model simply wasnt sustainable.

I agree that some folks could care less about the stances that TP takes on ingredients, the environment, its employees and a high-quality end product.

And at present its a majority of the consumer public.

And Im not saying these things because I want him to fail. While I admittedly wasnt particularly enthused by the food when we went during his first month of business, I support local businesses and restaurants. I own one. I am though trying to give him some advice that he could look at dropping some of the stuff he is doing, in turn lowering his operating costs, lower his prices and become more popular. Or stick to his guns on all of it and possibly see the business close.

For example the recycling. Did you know businesses, even in the NULU and Highlands area had to pay for recycling? Im all for recycling and advocated for it with our elected representatives, but my business isnt going to do it when we have to pay extra for it. Its an expense we cant afford.
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Deb Hall

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Deb Hall » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:19 am

Doug,

There are successful restaurants in town that focus on local, sustainable ingredients ( Harvest immediately comes to mind) and many people who support this. The massive success/ growth of local farmers markets (which are inherently more expensive than agribusiness produce) is another good example. This has been a major food trend across the US for several years- I don't know if the same is the case for canoes.

I agree that a significant segment of the population is only interested in the cheapest food options a la Taco Bell and Papa Johns. But that doesn't mean that there are not enough people willing to pay a little more for high quality, locally sourced ingredients.

Deb
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Doug Davis

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Doug Davis » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:20 am

Deb Hall Wrote:Doug,

There are successful restaurants in town that focus on local, sustainable ingredients ( Harvest immediately comes to mind) and many people who support this. The massive success/ growth of local farmers markets (which are inherently more expensive than agribusiness produce) is another good example. This has been a major food trend across the US for several years- I don't know if the same is the case for canoes.



Deb



Yes Deb and sourcing local ingredients is one thing. He is also composting, recycling, paying higher wages, using compostable dinner ware (this stuff is super expensive) and other things.

Its not "one" thing he is doing. Its all of them combined. They all increase production costs. If he stopped doing all the others and just concentrated on using local ingredients then he might be okay.


Suzi Bernert Wrote:Since I am retired and have a lot of time on my hands, I just read all your posts. The post you are so proud of is from 2009. Since 2010, a majority of your posts have ranged from sniping to outright nasty. You have the right to your opinions, but you have to remember so do others. If you dish it out you gotta take it, too. Not taking sides, just pointing out facts of life.


Suzi. Ive been on the internet long enough and run enough forums to feel confident in saying J Dylan is a sock puppet. If you are unfamiliar with the term it means "J Dylan" is a fake account for some other regular forum user, and they like using it to post anonymously and generally act like juveniles.
I havent been here that long and Im even fairly certain who its a sock puppet for.
I bet if Robin did an IP address comparison/check he would catch who it is.
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Robin Garr

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Robin Garr » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:36 am

Doug Davis Wrote: sock puppet.

On the whole, Doug, I would probably be happier not knowing.

I'm at the point with J. Dylan, though, of admitting failure and banning this poor, troubled person. Compassion calls me to give her a chance for repentance and reformation, but looking back over her posts leads me to wonder if I've given as much slack as I can.

Can anyone offer me a compelling reason not to ban this person? This is not a vote. I'm just looking for advice here.
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Steve H

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

{ POST_BY_AUTHOR } Steve H » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:01 am

Robin Garr Wrote:Can anyone offer me a compelling reason not to ban this person? This is not a vote. I'm just looking for advice here.


I've got a couple possibilities...
She only shows up occasionally.
She doesn't stalk folks from thread to thread stirring up trouble like a real troll would.

Seem's like she gets whatever it is off her chest and goes back underground, only to emerge again much later.

That doesn't seem like too much trouble to bear.
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