Next Gen Olive Gardens
Classic Darden brands, Olive Garden and Red Lobster,
aren't doing so well, especially with youngsters who love "unusual, exotic,
organic or local ingredients" (like those found in specially formulated
Campbell's soups that only millennials can taste) so the company is banking on
its Specialty Restaurant Group even though that portfolio of five chains only
makes up 5% of all Darden restaurants.
What are they? Upscale, ostensibly healthy Seasons
52, the only choice available to New Yorkers, Capital Grille, (curiosity-seekers
should know they're on Savored) Bahama Breeze, where I may been quoted the
longest wait of any chain in my life, Yard House with gussied-up bar food is on
my list, but the closet location is in West Nyack (at the Palisades Center
where I did try a T.G.I. Friday's a hundred years ago) and I prefer my chains
in New Jersey. And lastly, Eddie V's, which is completely new to me and
conjures up Eddie Van Halen or Eddie Vedder–you know, guys popular with Gen Y.
So, you know I totally want to go. Eddie V's
describes its experience as "The world's freshest seafood, masterfully
prepared, and served against a backdrop of cool soulful jazz." Ah ha,
music does play a role! Sadly, there won't be any Pacific swordfish steaks with
fresh Jonah crab, avocado and red chile vinaigrette in my immediate future
because the nearest one is in Texas where there are six locations (La Jolla, CA
and Scottsdale, AZ each also have one) and they are meant for under-35s
apparently, despite resembling a hotel steakhouse and not serving any soups with crazy flavors.
Photo credit: Eddie V's Houston