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Taco Punk Kickstarter

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Dan E

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Dan E » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:31 pm

I didn't think I was piling on. I thought that in my own ineloquent way, I was simply typing my semi-stream-of-conscious thoughts. I purposely tried to be non-offensive and readily admitted that I was giving an uninformed opinion based solely on the situation, not the man or restaurant.

I also said that I do plan on trying Taco Punk and that, ultimately, I take no issue with what is happening.

Didn't think I was being assholey.

But no hard feelings. Life's too short to hold internet grudges, especially when there are so many real-life grudges for me to get excited about.
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Robin Garr » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:58 pm

Dan E wrote:.Didn't think I was being assholey.

Just for the record, me either. :)
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Shane Campbell » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:40 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I just got this in Email from Gabe. I'm willing to step up. I hope some of you will be, too.


Well Robin, just for the record you said the above. While I don't get caught up in your review scores, I did go back and check what you wrote. It was hardly a ringing endorsement yet you're willing to step up. Is this just charity for you too? If you're worried about keeping some sort of professional distance here, then I would suggest that you should not have posted your willingess to support the effort yourself.

Dan said the restaurant owner was a begger and didn't deserve to benefit from the efforts of the Kickstarter without ever having been in the restaurant. He did this while referencing someone he said was being assholey. Someone you castigated yourself while using only seminary approved wording. I don't believe DanE is an asshole although some on this forum look at that label as a badge of honor. But I do believe he was doing a diservice to Taco Punk by stating his "uninformed" opinion.

While you've got time to support Dan, perhaps you might take a moment to address the colosal sanctimonious jackass on the Pendennis post who was careful to lick your butt while daming every other white guy on the forum who didn't "LIKE" his post.
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Robin Garr » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:47 pm

Shane, can't we all just get along? :)

I put up a few tuppence for Taco Punk's Kickstarter campaign this week, but I didn't feel a strong need to brag about it. I like what Gabe is doing, and if Gabe says he needs help, I'm willing to pull a little weight. Not a lot. I'm not a rich guy. I don't particularly view it as "charity." Maybe something more like "community."

I hope we can all hang out here without having to refer to each other as assholes. That's why I spoke up. :) I hope we can all enjoy table fellowship and good times and good fun without getting into fights. And yet I also recognize that we don't all share the same opinions on everything, and that's all right.

I don't know what else to say other than that I view most everybody here as friends, except possibly a very, very few over the years who seem to come here only to stir the pot. I don't see any of that in this thread. Not from Dan, not from you. I'm just saying, hey, guys, cant we pop open another beer and try not to fight? :)

As for the Pendennis, I've gone on the record in that thread as admitting that my grandfather was a member, and that I'm not. I can't speak for the racism or bigotry of past generations, but I try not to hold those attitudes in my own life.



Shane Campbell wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:I just got this in Email from Gabe. I'm willing to step up. I hope some of you will be, too.


Well Robin, just for the record you said the above. While I don't get caught up in your review scores, I did go back and check what you wrote. It was hardly a ringing endorsement yet you're willing to step up. Is this just charity for you too? If you're worried about keeping some sort of professional distance here, then I would suggest that you should not have posted your willingess to support the effort yourself.

Dan said the restaurant owner was a begger and didn't deserve to benefit from the efforts of the Kickstarter without ever having been in the restaurant. He did this while referencing someone he said was being assholey. Someone you castigated yourself while using only seminary approved wording. I don't believe DanE is an asshole although some on this forum look at that label as a badge of honor. But I do believe he was doing a diservice to Taco Punk by stating his "uninformed" opinion.

While you've got time to support Dan, perhaps you might take a moment to address the colosal sanctimonious jackass on the Pendennis post who was careful to lick your butt while daming every other white guy on the forum who didn't "LIKE" his post.
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Dan E » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:52 pm

Shane Campbell wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:I just got this in Email from Gabe. I'm willing to step up. I hope some of you will be, too.




Dan said the restaurant owner was a begger and didn't deserve to benefit from the efforts of the Kickstarter



No, I didn't. At all.

I'm not upset or whatever, Robin.

I just want it to be known that when Shane's unabridged Dan E story hits bookshelves, it is not at all a licensed biography, but in-fact fan-fiction.

Carry on.
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Dan E » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:53 pm

also, Shane said he kicked puppies and shops at wal-mart and drinks bud light. I'll, uh, find the post later.
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Robin Garr » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:54 pm

Dan E wrote:drinks bud light.

Hey now! This is getting serious ... :mrgreen:
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Shane Campbell » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:02 pm

Robin,
We are getting along and stop putting all those smiley faces in because it's really hard to stay annoyed with someone who just keeps smiling at you! :|

I'm not trying to pressure anyone into supporting this effort. I haven't even supported this effort yet. I might after Saturday or I might not.

I'm disagreeing with someone about something and if we aren't exactly smiling at each other while doing it we aren't really disrespecting each other either. The person on the other post has seriously disrespected a lot of us. His opinion doesn't really matter but if you're going to police up Dan and mine's mostly cordial post, I think you might want to address that one as well.

If I offended DanE, that wasn't my intention and I appologise. But I think he was being assholely- if slightly less so than the person he referenced. If DanE comes to Taco Punk on Saturday we may well have a beer together. Whether we do or don't I don't consider our interaction any kind of fight. :)
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Shane Campbell » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:05 pm

Dan E wrote:also, Shane said he kicked puppies and shops at wal-mart and drinks bud light. I'll, uh, find the post later.


I'd never did say that bud light thing. Cheers Dan!
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Doug Davis » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:00 am

Me and my wife went once. Havent been back and I eat lunch in the Market/NULU area at least once or twice a week.

Problems we had were-

A) Decor fast food bland looking box location. Not some place I would go on business lunch or meet someone. Doesnt really fit for that neighborhood or its clientele.

B) Food. Meh. Given the quality-amount versus the price Ghyslain and Please and Thank you both offer much better options for lunch.

C) Over all the impression to me was Gabe was trying to create a franchise concept right out of the box, rather than create the best local taco place he could. Given his supposed commitment to locally sourced ingredients and being green, this might not be true. But its the initial impression I got when I walked in.

I dont see us going back. And we solely support local restaurants. Other then eating at locally owned franchise Mellow Mushroom last week, I cant remember the last time I ate at a chain restaurant.
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by TP Lowe » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:25 am

Robin Garr wrote: I don't particularly view it as "charity." Maybe something more like "community."


While I generally think asking folks for "free" money to operate a business is a bad idea, this is the first thing I've read on this thread that makes sense to me. Thanks, Robin.

As for the Pendennis, I've gone on the record in that thread as admitting that my grandfather was a member, and that I'm not.


I was a member when I worked on the block next door to the club, strictly for the quick in and out lunches. I wouldn't join again just for the food ...
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Shane Campbell » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:48 pm

Jeeze Louise! Not long ago the concern on the forum was that every review was pie in the sky. Suddenly we're all just carping because we're in a bad mood? Not even.

Donna and I had lunch today at Taco Punk. We both thought it was very good in all respects. We got there just after it opened and parking was a breeze. Its location is easy to get to from the bridge and there are other interesting things nearby by if one wants to walk off their meal. While the late morning sky was bright and sunny, it was a bit too chilly for a walk. Never-the-less, we noticed quite a few strollers popping in and out of places along the street.

We had already downloaded the menu from their website and used the Menu and Hours app to confirm they would be open, so we already knew what we wanted. I still asked if there was a special that might not be on the menu.

I passed on the various fibrous meats on offer as they have a nasty habit of getting hung up in my braces. Not a pretty sight! I selected the Yucatecan Style Fish Punk platter which meant I got two tacos and a side. When asked what fillings I'd like, I said, “Whatever goes best with the fish.” The result was cabbage, grated cheese of some kind, and a chili lime mayo that he said was made for the fish. Then he asked if I liked cilantro. I nodded and my tortillas were dressed. I suffered the slightest pang of regret to leave off some other tasty fillings but less is often more and I trust that the people making my food are aware of this. I chose guac for my side. This was a generous serving that was accompanied by an equally large amount of colorful nacho chips.

When asked, Donna admitted that she liked her food rather plain. She would have a Grilled Adobo Chicken taco with only lettuce and cheese for fillings. The young man responded cheerfully and complied with a complete lack of condescension. Donna is often asked “Is that all?” as if she's done something wrong. The young man earned big points with us for his easy manner and obvious competence. I was disappointed only in that he said that tipping was not allowed. He suggested we just come back if we were happy. I hope we get the chance to.

The drink selection at Taco Punk was extensive and I actually had trouble deciding which beer to have because there were so many good options. I couldn't resist the West 6th IPA in that beautiful can which I believe is an iconic design sure to last a decade at least.

Our food came out quickly and we sat along one of the elevated metal counters where I could see outside while we ate. I like the atmosphere at Taco Punk and Donna commented on the colorful swathes of fabric hanging from the ceiling. Oldies but goodies were playing at a comfortable background level yet I wished slightly for Mexican fiesta music instead. I hope I get the chance to have a meal here alfresco in warmer weather.

The fish tacos were very good. I asked Donna how she liked the tortilla and she said “muy bien!” showing off her high school spanish. I told her that when the place first opened the tortillas had not been perfected and had a tendency to fall apart. That's what happened on my first visit. They've been perfected now I'd say. Donna really liked her chicken taco as well. My guac was good but not as good as I remembered it from my first visit and not as good as that I'd had a week ago at Manny and Merle's. Guac is very dependent on the batch of avocados and can vary greatly. I ate every bit of the guac and was full even though there were still plenty of chips left. I made myself stop eating even though I didn't want to. I think this visit was even better than my first visit and I'm looking forward to my next.
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by GabeSowder » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:11 am

It's fairly difficult to compose this post with any delicacy but I will do my best. 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.

I deeply thank members like Shane who actually go to the effort to give me a chance. I am a modest man who prefers to let the food do the talking. 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.

The truth is we are not that far away from making a profit. When I do the math, all TP needs to break even is an average increase of 35 diners a day. In our experience, events pull diners to NuLu so creating an event space makes good business sense. Supporting the development of the alfresco dining garden and performance space would grant us the opportunity to close this small but crucial income gap. We are also experiencing positive results from our catering program but without a proper marketing campaign, it is impossible to compete with giants like Panera, Qdoba and Jimmy John's.

I have two refugees from Burma and Nepal who I hired before I even opened. They have incredibly compelling stories of adversity and represent the constant changing face of America. They are ideal employees and set the bar for performance. I don't treat them like PR pawns and use them to show how "good" Taco Punk is. Like me, they have a family to support and I am fighting for their jobs as well as mine. Someone who has spent the better part of their life in refugee camps needs someone to fight for them and I am that man. I will do everything I can to make sure Renuka and William do not have to face one more challenge. Taco Punk has been a community focused restaurant from its inception, it only makes sense to turn to that community to develop the capacity to stay in business.

Six months into my operation, I realized there would be no meaningful income from arena and sports events. I began a consultation process with the ECD, DDC, and GLI. All of these experts had access to my biz plan and financials. Upon review, I was encouraged to undertake a Kickstarter campaign by all parties. Furthermore, all of these resources found no "trouble spots" with my operations other than it is located in a developing part of the city and simply needs more revenue. For the record, I have also undertaken every traditional route to securing additional capital. Before I opened TP, I applied for a $20k loan at six banks. While four of them liked my concept and loan officers fought to get the loan, because all of my collateral (my 1000 sq ft Germantown home) was tied up in a METCO loan, nothing could be approved.

This Forum could be a tremendous asset to the food culture here. With each passing day, the food in Louisville only gets better. The people who are taking the personal risks to make a creative statement and cultural contribution deserve better than baseless personal attacks. Any professional will always be open to constructive criticism from qualified sources and make according adjustments. But so long as these crude, insulting comments are made and tolerated it makes the professional community reluctant to participate in this forum.

Our Kickstarter campaign is focused on getting a great deal of small pledges. We are really not asking for much from you. If you value a local, independent restaurant with great food and social commitments, support us with a small contribution. The choice is yours.

Gabe Sowder
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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by DanB » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:37 am

I didn't see any "baseless personal attacks" other than some normal speculation given the unorthodox method you've chosen to address the circumstances.

GabeSowder wrote:This Forum could be a tremendous asset to the food culture here...... The people who are taking the personal risks to make a creative statement and cultural contribution deserve better than baseless personal attacks. Any professional will always be open to constructive criticism from qualified sources and make according adjustments. But so long as these crude, insulting comments are made and tolerated it makes the professional community reluctant to participate in this forum.


You don't get to pick and choose who criticizes you, only who you listen to. Also, I don't think you're helping yourself by implying that those outside the gastro-business don't have anything valuable to say. One, we're consumers of your product and two, you'll find that there are a LOT of folks who spend time analyzing business models much more complex than a standalone small enterprise restaurant. A lot of us can easily surmise what your hurdles are without being sector insiders. All that being said here's my $0.02 on your joint:

On my last trip to the 502 yours was one of the first places we went, specifically because of the tirade written by that twit at the UofL paper. Two adults and six teens. I probably wouldn't have heard about you had it not been for the (lively) discussions at LouisvilleHotbytes.com. Food was good but didn't blow us away..... probably a bit expensive for an incidental bite to eat after shopping with teens. Would be more inclined to stop in with the lady only. My memory may be faulty, but I don't recall your various commitments (organic, sustainable, etc) being prominently mentioned inside the restaurant itself (again, something I only knew from a lively discussion at LouisvilleHotbytes.com). Perhaps it was on the menu somewhere, but the whole composting, sustainable, recyclables, etc didn't really come across to me at the time. If all these things are just a personal commitment.... good luck competing with lower cost competition. Personally I'd promote the HECK out of them.

NuLu hasn't really grown fast enough to overcome your location deficiencies. The outdoor thing does look like a potential game-changer. Personally I'd try to make it a bit of a popular watering hole to get the alcohol topline way up. That's probably the best way to survive til NuLu grows enough to truly justify the proposition.

We'll probably stop by on our next Stateside visit in April. Frankly I think being discussed in a lively LHB thread is a lot better than the alternative... not being discussed at all. Just sayin'.
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Roger A. Baylor

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Re: Taco Punk Kickstarter

by Roger A. Baylor » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:33 am

GabeSowder wrote:The truth is we are not that far away from making a profit.


As pertains to Bank Street Brewhouse, I've been saying this for about three years now.

We, too, need to furnish and complete an outdoor area, and prior to this hue and cry over nothing, I'd been considering whether Kickstarter might be an option for us, as specifically targeted toward getting the beer garden up to speed more quickly. I still am. If anything, the Taco Punk controversy about nothing is confirming my own instincts, because anything that annoys the stodgy is worth considering.

I'm still shaking my head in amazement that this is even news. While I honestly can't explain the phenomenon whereby a Taco Punk bid at Kickstarter morphs into the snark-fest at Eater Louisville Wonka (other than to note that my praise for Mr. Everson was premature, indeed), here at the forum, it strikes me to some extent as generational. You're supposed to take your lumps the old-fashioned way, Gabe. Get raked by bankers, donate some more of your own blood, and grovel the accepted financial system fashion, not seek fresh alternatives outside the business as usual model. Seriously, can a Kickstarter project be more humiliating than bowing to a loan officer as he or she looks at you like you've just tracked mud into the office?

But don't worry. You cannot violate a code of ethics that doesn't exist.

Good luck. I don't know you, and I haven't been to Taco Punk (I will, as soon as I can), but let me say this: Combative is good, and you have to fight every single day, but push back against the urge toward bitterness. It's just wasted motion.

Yes, and one other thing: Don't go franchising on me, okay?

Just kidding. Maybe. :wink:
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