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A blogger today seems to have gotten his hands on our essay that I circulated about Mighty Quinn’s in Brookfield Place’s Hudson Eats and is writing about it himself. In it, I made the novel observation that our satellite Mighty Quinn’s lacks the aroma of the smoker in the Second Avenue store. Maybe we just think alike. Who knows.
Anyway, I was not going to publish this yet, but I have to now. I wrote the following on June 5th.
The Mighty Quinn’s team got a good review in the NYT and it put them on the map. They were shocked that they got a real restaurant review because of their Spartan cafeteria style restaurant.
The reason their Lower East Side store is so good, and why Pete Wells of the NYT gave them a full review with 2-stars, is the smell of the smoke when you walk in. They have a rare real wood smoker in NYC.
I recently realized something important about BBQ: In the Brookfield Place Mighty Quinn’s, where they ship in the smoked meat from their other store, it is just meat. There is nothing special about it, because there is no smokey aroma.
The Mighty Quinn’s team seem to believe their own NYT hype, sadly. The chef thinks that he can get away with serving nothing but meat. They have no side dishes other than unremarkable baked beans and French fries (pretentiously called Pommes Frites). Some of their other “sides” are pickled products served either as a full side dish or as a garnish.
I don’t get it. That will get old by August.
Mighty Quinn’s can get away with this in the Lower East Side, because the smoke and the meat is the star attraction. However, I think it is totally different over here. People will demand more.
Also, they are trying to expand to other stores in New Jersey and New York. Unless they have a smoker in each one, like the Cinnabon aroma concept, this won’t work as a chain.
In stark contrast, across the street is Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke BBQ, which offers an extensive array of full menu items. Their macaroni and cheese, excellent salads, awesome vegetables of the day, make it a full restaurants that just so happens to be barbeque.
I think that Mighty Quinn’s does serves a niche market. A a person can walk away with a quality protein dish for under $10, whereas Blue Smoke will set you back $20. But in order for Mighty Quinn’s to expand to other full restaurants, as they are trying to do, they can’t rely on the New York Times hype. They have to make a real restaurant with a real menu.