Review Wars – Restaurants 2016 (Week 2)

March 25 , 2016 by in Website
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review wars

review wars

Week 1 results

We aren’t here to discuss the crazy results from NCAA basketball (Michigan St, you’re killing me). We have our own week one story to tell about America’s Favorite Restaurant, according to the officials who matter most – the people who eat there.

Last week, we explained how this works. The short of it is that each restaurant in the competition will compete in single elimination against other popular places to dine, striving to get more and better reviews during their week-long matchup. Week one puts two restaurants from each of eight cities against one another to see who will move on to the regionals. Here are the results from the eight games in our week one lineup:

*week to week, some of the data may change as Yelp filters out reviews or they are changed by the user. Matchup results are from the time we check only.

Game 1 (Boise)- Fork VS Goodwood Barbecue


Fork: 2 reviews, 2.5 average

Goodwood Barbecue: 2 reviews, 3.5 average

I expected Fork to come out on top of this match. They have a reputation for being a classier, nice place to dine and began with a commanding lead in the overall number of reviews. While their overall ratings were the same (4 stars), the current monthly average made Fork the favorite by .5 stars.

That’s not how it turned out, however. Both restaurants received two reviews during the week, but Goodwood Barbecue easily takes the win with an average of 3.5 stars vs Fork’s 2.5 average.


goodwood barbecue review

Game 2 (Santa Clara) – Orenchi Ramen VS Cheesecake Factory


Orenchi Ramen: 4 reviews, 4.0 average

Cheesecake Factory: 5 reviews, 1.8 average

Similar to the reasons I favored Fork in Game 1, I was pretty sure that Orenchi Ramen was going to take Game 2. Their beginning rating was already higher and they had many more reviews that Cheesecake Factory, so it is reasonable to predict that over our one week match that they would receive more reviews, and better ones at that. And that is what happened. The only surprise is how bad the beating was.

Five reviews over a single week is a great result for any business, but when they are mostly bad reviews and you have a monthly average of 2.3 stars, it is time to start evaluating what you are doing.


orenchi ramen review

Game 3 (Spokane) – The Flying Goat VS Frank’s Diner


The Flying Goat: 1 Review, 5.0 average

Frank’s Diner: 4 reviews, 5.0 average

Much in the same fashion as the NCAA bracket that my girlfriend filled out, I had picked The Flying Goat as my predicted winner primarily off of their mascot and the fact that they had a slight edge in the numbers before the match. Even so, I almost gave Frank’s the nod since the restaurant is in an actual train car.

In this matchup, both restaurants are doing very well overall, regularly taking in reviews and high ratings. In fact, during this matchup every review for both restaurants was for 5 stars. However, as you can see from our scorecard, Frank’s Diner received four reviews the Goat’s one.


Frank's Diner review

Game 4 (Colorado Springs) – Shuga’s VS Phantom Canyon County Brewing


Shuga’s: 7 reviews, 4.0 average

PCCB: 3 reviews, 4.0 average

As I was investigating these two restaurants, I realized I probably would want to go to both of them, just under different circumstances. If I was wanting to treat a female companion, based on what I saw of both places I’d take her to Shuga’s. On the other hand, if my objective was my sole comfort or going to a nice place with army buddies, I’d choose Phantom Canyon County Brewing. That said, I favored Shuga’s in the end because I was really tired of typing “Phantom Canyon County Brewing”.

Of all of our games, this matchup was the most even, with their current ratings separated by 1/10th of a star and number of reviews within a couple points of each other. Both of our competitors did very well in this matchup, but the nod has to go to the restaurant that got the most reviews.


Shuga's review

Game 5 (Columbus) – Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace VS Northstar Cafe


Dirty Frank’s: 2 reviews, 2.5 average

Northstar Cafe: 5 reviews, 4.5 average

Prior to the start, this looked to be a pretty close matchup, and I love the boldness of any entrepreneur that would name their business “Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace”. While I was really looking forward to being able to use that name again and again, Northstar Cafe shut them down pretty hard over the last week.


Northstar Cafe Review

Game 6 (Syracuse) – Pastabilities VS Alto Cinco


Pastabilities: 8 reviews, 3.5 average

Alto Cinco: 3 reviews, 4.6 average

Research has shown that a 1 star increase can lead to 9% more revenue, and as Pastabilities began the matchup favored by such a margin, I expected them to win this round. In yet another upset, Alto Cinco let their opponent punch themselves out with eight weaker reviews, and then KO’d Pastabilities with just three blows.


Alto Cinco Review

Game 7 (Birmingham) – Saw’s Soul Kitchen VS Highland’s Bar and Grill


Saw’s Soul Kitchen: 4 reviews, 4.5 average

Highland’s Bar and Grill: 0 reviews

It was only two years ago that the Seattle Seahawks destroyed the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII 43-8. There are sports blowouts all the time, but you don’t expect them at that level, and it was cringe-worthy to watch. I actually felt kind of sorry for the Broncos.

This matchup was kind of like that Super Bowl, but worse. No kidding, I actually checked to see if they were still in business or had closed for repairs or something. Apparently they just had a bad week. Their place looks great, it has high ratings, but they simply didn’t show up to play this week.


Saw's Soul Kitchen Review

Game 8 (Chattanooga) – Maple Street Biscuit Co. VS The Terminal Brewhouse


Maple Street Biscuit Co.: 4 reviews, 4.25 average

The Terminal Brewhouse: 5 reviews, 4.4 average

This matchup was close both pre and post analysis. The Terminal Brewhouse looks to be as American as it gets, with delicious burgers, nachos, and beers all as finely crafted as you are likely to ever see. If you are in the mood for breakfast, based off of what I have read there might not be a better place to go in the country than to Maple Street. Seriously, just go read the reviews (link). I might need to go to Chattanooga just for some biscuits and gravy. That might seem a little far-fetched, but to their customers it makes perfect sense.

Both of our restaurants in Game 8 did very well, and the margin of victory was small. But with one more review during the week and the average rating being slightly higher, it is close, but clear!


Terminal Brewhouse review





About Matthew Biss

When not lifting cars or throwing large rocks, Matt escapes the disappointment of his life with nerdy games such as Magic, Warhammer, or Dungeons and Dragons. He is a history buff with several podcasts in the works, and hopes to live his dreams through his young son who was taught how to squat before learning to use the potty.

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