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DeRushaEats: Are Corporate/Chain Restaurants Evil?


I will choose a locally-owned restaurant over a national chain every time. But how do local chains fit into that paradigm? And just because it's a chain or a corporately-owned place, does that make it bad?

Eating last night at Il Gatto, I was thinking about Parasole, and corporate-owned restaurants. Tim McKee is cooking there now, and it's fantastic, so you need to go. The pastas are killer. Absolutely killer. Thank me later.

At any rate, Jim Christensen (who used to work at Sea Change and La Belle Vie) now runs the Il Gatto kitchen, and when he came out to our table, I asked how he felt about working for Parasole, working for "the man." He said he loves it, and he's learning a lot, taking his career to a new level.

I think most of us who love food romanticize the chef-owned single restaurant. But aren't most chefs lousy at business?

In the Twin Cities you have Crave, which opened restaurants in Florida and Nebraska, Blue Plate Group which has restaurants from Maple Grove to St. Paul, and Parasole. What do we think about those guys?

I'm just reevaluating my thoughts on chains. Do we dislike them because they're mediocre? Because of their size? Can you be big and still create amazing food and amazing experiences?

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