The review that changed our entire business – I am not a food blogger, but I’ll take a look…

When a review changes your business perspective.

I strongly believe that when a company has done a good thing, everyone should get to hear about it, this goes for the bad stuff too, but this isn’t the route I am taking today. I have a good news story to share.

I guess you are wondering about the title of my post, the relevance of this will become clear in due course.

The Mrs. and I set out on Saturday to do a spot of shopping, it was, after all, the end of the month so at least one person in the house had a few more Rands rattling around her bank account. We decided to go to Nicolway in Bryanston, a swanky upmarket shopping complex where all our retail needs could be fulfilled – at least on this month’s budget. We also decided that a lunch wouldn’t be out of order either, and I had heard about a new Ribs and Burger place that was due to open soon, ironically called Ribs & Burgers…

Upon arrival at the new venue we were pleasantly surprised to see that they were indeed open for business and there were a number of patrons seated, already partaking in the establishment’s aforementioned Ribs and Burgers. One of these patrons grabbed us before we could locate the matre’d (I am sure thats what they are called, even in Rib and Burger joints) and she told us we simply had to try the burgers as they were the best in town. So, based on that advice, we decided this was definitely the place we would eat.

We grabbed the nearest watron only to be told, “Unfortunately today is only a test day with members of the press, we are officially opening on Monday.” Talk about a let-down.

Our dismay at not being able to taste the “best burgers in town”, according to the press, was obviously very apparent as no sooner had my lip dropped to the floor – figuratively speaking – and I exclaimed my dismay at having to wait at least another forty-eight hours before I could become an official customer, one of the managers stepped over and said, “Please feel free to join us!”

No need for a second offer, we grabbed the nearest available table and for the next hour or so, we became food bloggers, or whatever the official term is for people who get to write about their culinary exploits for a living.

We were given the full PR treatment along with a history of the brand, what they had set out to achieve with this new offering on this side of town, as well as a run-down on all available treats offered on the menu. We were assured that the burgers were some of the best we would encounter and the choice of items on the menu was vast, including something for those who may not want Ribs and Burgers, strange as that may be.

The decor had a very American diner feel to it, and the furniture was comfortable and understated. Naturally, being seasoned food bloggers ;-), we were more interested in the food than the decor and we perused the menu, modeled on a broadsheet newspaper, whilst salivating at the vast choice.

Initially we were drawn to the burgers section, which offered beef, lamb, chicken and possibly vegetarian, although we usually stop reading at that point. Whats more, if you weren’t satisfied with a standard burger, their Mighty Burgers upped the ante further. They also catered for the rabbit in you with a great selection of salads, along with wraps, steaks and a kiddies section, aptly named the “Little Butcher”.

The usual liquid refreshments were also on offer and we were told that the Thick Shakes were one of their specialities, will park that thought for our next visit. Interestingly, and I don’t get out enough to be able to say whether this is the norm nowadays at restaurants, they do not charge a corkage fee if you bring your own bottle (BYOB) of wine, but there is a selection of local reds or white available if your own cellar just doesn’t cut it!

The pricing seemed very good at first glance, which it actually was, however, the sides are not included so remember to add these, although the main course offered sufficient portions for these to maybe not be a necessity. Oh, and they offer takeaways too.

We both settled on the ribs, Mrs. took the St Louis Rib and I opted for the lamb.

We did not have wait too long for the arrival of the food and we were not disappointed. The portion sizes were perfect and the quality of the food itself was amazing. The meat simply fell off the bone and the flavor was outstanding. I cannot wait to return and sample the burgers.

So, having spent an hour or so of great service, and food that certainly lived up to the brief introduction were received from the friendly lady journalist, our debut at the Northern suburb’s newest, and possibly best burger joint, came to an end, as did our short-lived role as Joburg’s newest food blogger.

But the best was yet to come. We dutifully asked our watron for the bill, only to be told, “No need for that Sir, the meal was on us, we aren’t officially open yet!” Once again our lips dropped, and insist though I might, they weren’t having any of this paying malarkey. Talk about surprise endings!

So our first encounter with Ribs & Burgers was, without a doubt, a great experience, notwithstanding the VIP treatment usually reserved for members of the press that we lucked-upon that fateful Saturday afternoon. Go try them for yourselves, you will not be disappointed.

By Richard Sloman –


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