Saturday, May 30, 2009

"No one goes there no more. It's too crowded."

At the Saturday farmer's market here in Fredericton, there's a small prefab hut that houses two competing samosa vendors side by side. (Samosas are a stuffed triangular meat or vegetable pastry in the same culinary family as an empanada, pasty or my friend Lara's Craven Haven Jamaican patties.) A buck each or a dozen for $10.

But from a sales perspective, it's a curious dynamic: Every weekend, Yummy Samosas (shown in the photo) is empty, while Samosa Delight often has 50 or more people standing in line. Samosa Delight has a wider variety of filling options, which undoubtedly has something to do with the difference. On the other hand, after you've waited 20 minutes in line, the service is Soup Nazi-esque. When a window opens, you damn well better already be in motion towards it, and you'll get a dirty look if you give them a $20 and they're low on change.

So, this morning, I tried an experiment and gave Yummy Samosa a try. Instantly, three or four customers lined up with me. Sure enough, each vendor's spicy chicken tastes, spicy chicken. Makes you wonder if Mr. Yummy Samosa should pay people to fake standing in line. That's what I'd do, along with giving out free samples.

The title of the post is widely attributed to Yogi Berra, commenting on an overly popular New York bar, but who knows.


  1. You see, I can't stand crowded places and I especially gather that trends extend even to culinary decisions. This would explain why pasta station places that have fancy kitchens and charge you like $15 a plate of decent pasta,and offer shitty service are in vogue. I could care two fucks and actually prefer places that are quiet, prone to inspiring conversations and have me going often enough to say hello to the owners with a hug or a peck on the cheek. Viva la empty places.

  2. G: For a while, my wife and I joked that we were the Grim Reaper for those types of hideaway joints that (sadly) haven't reached critical mass. We'd show up, have a great time, tell everyone, but then the place would friggin' shut down before we had a chance to go back. It's probably happened to us a dozen times.

    The restaurant biz is awful, God bless the folks who can survive it. I loved Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.