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Joni Lemke

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Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Joni Lemke » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:25 pm

Hi friends,

We did something a bit unusual (for us) this weekend - ate out both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was an early dinner with my Mom at the new Feast in Jtown, and Sunday was 80/20 @ Kaelin's.

Feast was a bit disappointing. We had heard a LOT of hype about how great it was. We shared a half-rack of ribs, brisket sammich, pork cakes, and mac and cheese balls. Sides were sweet potato fries, creamy slaw, and mac and cheese. The ribs were nicely smoked but less than tender. Brisket had a great smokiness and was just barely short of that tender, sticky brisket that makes brisket amazing. The pork cakes were delicious but VERY rich - we all only ate a few bites. Mac and cheese balls were a highlight - best part of the meal. They were crispy, creamy, and slightly spicy. Awesome. The creamy slaw appeared to be literally sliced cabbage with mayo, and offered nothing special in terms of taste, texture, or appearance. Sweet potato fries were lukewarm at best and lacking in flavor. Mac and cheese was solid: cheesy, nice flavor and texture, slight crunch from breadcrumbs. All of this was about $80 before tip, including two adult beverages (one beer, one cocktail). Definitely not worth the money in our opinion. The ambiance was very BBQ and service was very good. Noise level was acceptable.

80/20 was another story. We hit it after a broiling visit to St. James. Service, ambiance, and noise level were all great. We shared the beer cheese app, and it was excellent. Super-creamy, not greasy, and a unique flavor/sharpness from mustard. I'm not much of a mustard person, but it was very well-used in this case. I had the 80/20 burger and my love had the ribeye burger. His was solid, good flavor, perfectly runny egg, but he preferred the 80/20 he had on a prior visit. Mine was exceptional, flavor was over the top. Drippy, pleasantly greasy, tender burger with delicious sauce and dressings. The fries were just fries, but the beer-battered onion rings were crispy with a great flavor. Following dinner we hit the adjacent ice cream shop and split a delicious strawberry shake. The flavor was amazing and had a rich, creamy mouthfeel. We left in a food coma with smiles on our faces.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!
Joni
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Robin Garr

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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Robin Garr » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:06 am

Thanks for the reports, Joni! I'd give Feast a little time ... they've got a good record at their other shops.
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neal.johnson

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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by neal.johnson » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:00 am

Why people stand in line to pay the prices at Feast is beyond me. I don't get it. It's OK but paying $50+ for two to eat and a beer is not bbq. Royals on the other hand....
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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Robin Garr » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:21 am

neal.johnson wrote:Why people stand in line to pay the prices at Feast is beyond me. I don't get it. It's OK but paying $50+ for two to eat and a beer is not bbq. Royals on the other hand....

I hear you, Neal, but I'd say that "people stand in line" regardless of price is the real test of a restaurant's success. :)

You do know that Feast and Royals have the same ownership, right?
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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by neal.johnson » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:28 am

Quite aware, yes. That's why I threw that in there.
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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Robin Garr » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:00 pm

neal.johnson wrote:Quite aware, yes. That's why I threw that in there.

Got it. Sorry. I'm new to this forum stuff. :oops:
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Ryan Rogers

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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Ryan Rogers » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:40 pm

Normally I don't respond to reviews because tastes are subjective and people are entitled to their own preferences when it comes to taste, but commentary on prices I just can't let slide.

It is quite easy for people to dine at Feast BBQ and order a sandwich, a side, and a drink and be out the door for $11.45++ per person. If you choose to order the most expensive things on the menu, you will pay more. That is a choice you have made. Pricing is not arbitrarily picked out of a hat for us. Everything, including the napkins you use and the lights we keep on is factored into the prices we offer - which means Brisket and Ribs are more expensive because they cost us 2-3X the price of things like Pork Shoulder.

We also pay our employees well over minimum wage, offer free meals to them when they work, 50% off at any of our restaurants, and offer to cover 50% of their healthcare when they work 30 or more hours and week - and I wish more of them would.

We run small locally owned businesses that do not benefit from the purchasing power that large chains receive and we buy real ingredients - not cheese from a can, that take time and labor (expensive labor because we choose to pay people more) to turn into real quality products.

I make literally pennies on the dollar doing it. And still somehow end up donating thousands of dollars every year to local charities since restaurants are always the first businesses to get asked to help.

We have a bigger mission that keeps us going, and it's not providing consumers the cheapest food possible (which would only be possible with paying our employees an unfair wage and using pre-made products). There are already plenty of restaurants doing this service.

https://insiderlouisville.com/lifestyle ... symposium/

We have been honored to be named the best barbecue restaurant in Louisville according to the readers of the LEO Weekly and Louisville Magazine for many years in a row now, despite competition from better funded restaurant groups with many more locations.

You don't have to like our food, that's fine, but you should never complain about any restaurants prices.

For comparison:

1 Pulled Pork Sandwich & Macaroni with Cheese at City Barbecue $8.88
1 Pulled Pork Sandwich & Macaroni with Cheese at Mission Barbecue $8.88
1 Pulled Pork Sandwich & Macaroni with Cheese at Feast BBQ $8.95

Also 3 Chicken Tenders and a side at Royals Hot Chicken is $9.00
Feast BBQ - New Albany, IN & Louisville, KY
Royals Hot Chicken
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Willie Myers

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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Willie Myers » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:56 pm

gee Ryan, I thought you made some excellent points in your response about pricing at Feast. You laid out your arguments well and yes, you had me right there with you...on your side! Right up until...
Ryan Rogers wrote:You don't have to like our food, that's fine, but you should never complain about any restaurants prices.

Excuse me?
I should never question restaurant prices?

As a knowledgeable consumer, I not only should - but will - "complain about any (and every) restaurant's prices" when I feel that they are out of line. I suppose you would have us believe that every restaurateur is only in it for altruistic motives but sorry, my friend. It's business and I , as a member of the great unwashed public will continue to complain and share my complaints with fellow diners whenever I'm exposed to what I believe to be over-inflated pricing.

Remember - - your choice is to charge whatever you feel that the market will bear.....
My choice is whether or not to patronize your establishment which, after reading your response here, I will not.
No BBQ sandwich is good enough for me to endure being lectured to by the man behind the grill..
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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Carla G » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:07 am

I got a different take....

Thanks for taking the time to respond Mr. Rogers. Count me in as one that WILL be making a bee line to Feast to try your bbq.
First, I appreciate that the wages you pay your employees are over the usual standard. Couple that with the health care you offer them and I’d say that lands you squarely in the ‘responsible business owner’ area. I am a firm believer that a well compensated employee is a happier more productive employee. Chances are good that’ll show itself in the service diners receive.
Second, your pricing doesn’t seem out of line from others. I don’t know what your overhead is, how much your insurance runs, what pricing you receive from your SYSCO/Thomas/GFS Rep which, for anybody that’s been in the biz you know that can vary WIDELY from restaurant to restaurant. All things that total up to whatever your menu prices are.
Thirdly, your response was business-like, to the point, and not some yoweling, knee jerk condemnation of diners that we’ve seen on these boards in the recent past.
Thank you sir.
I’m looking Feast’s location and hours up on line now.
"She did not so much cook as assassinate food." - Storm Jameson
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Ryan Rogers

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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Ryan Rogers » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:35 am

Willie Myers wrote:
As a knowledgeable consumer, I not only should - but will - "complain about any (and every) restaurant's prices" when I feel that they are out of line.



You are more than welcome to feel that pricing is out of line at any and all restaurants, but the fact of the matter is that restaurants are built on the backs of underpaid employees and lower quality foods and if we continue to insist on cheaper pricing then we are only perpetuating a system that doesn't allow businesses to pay their employees a living wage or buy local, organic, or even non-processed products.

Restaurant pricing is artificially deflated because of a minimum wage that hasn't kept up with inflation.

"$8.68 (in 2016 dollars). Since it was last raised in 2009, to the current $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum has lost about 9.6% of its purchasing power to inflation. Back in 2015, The Economist estimated that, given how rich the U.S. is and the pattern among other advanced economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, “one would expect America … to pay a minimum wage around $12 an hour.”" - http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/20 ... imum-wage/

The reality is most local small businesses want to pay their employees more, but can't because they're constantly fighting the deflated prices and comparisons to national chains with their buying power and ownership groups that only care about returning money to the ownership.

If that's what you want, fine, but that's not what I want and I will continue to champion that. I will continue to fight for restaurant pricing that is more fair and just.

Willie Myers wrote:No BBQ sandwich is good enough for me to endure being lectured to by the man behind the grill..


Also this extremely classest attitude speaks volumes...
Feast BBQ - New Albany, IN & Louisville, KY
Royals Hot Chicken
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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Steve Eslinger » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:58 am

Thanks for expressing these points Ryan. Far be it from a lecture, you are simply pointing out the realities of today's economy. I, for one, appreciate your business model. You've earned my goodwill.
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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Willie Myers » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:28 am

Ryan Rogers wrote:...this extremely classest attitude speaks volumes...
and use of a non-existent term - - "classest" - - speaks....well....the whole encyclopedia?!
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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Ryan Rogers » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:37 am

Willie Myers wrote:
Ryan Rogers wrote:...this extremely classest attitude speaks volumes...
and use of a non-existent term - - "classest" - - speaks....well....the whole encyclopedia?!

Sorry, I meant classist, not classest. I'll pull out the spell check in the future when someone is attacking the credibility of my words based on my job title, they don't typically provide us dictionaries behind the grill.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/classist
Feast BBQ - New Albany, IN & Louisville, KY
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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Kris Billiter » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:06 pm

I liked what I could eat at Feast. Unfortunately my mustard allergy limited me to the chicken but it was excellent chicken! My
Mac and cheese side was also good. It won’t be a place I frequent due to the limitations of what I can eat but overall I had a good experience and thought the pricing was fair.
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Re: Two reviews: Feast Jtown and 80/20 @ Kaelin's

by Robin Garr » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:34 pm

Yeah, just to close up this long discussion, speaking for myself, not trying to take sides, I really like Feast - and Royals. And Ryan is a good guy. Can we call it a wrap? :)
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