Food for Thought
I agree completely with Kyle Wagner's December 21 and January 4 Mouthing Off columns on the restaurant critics in Denver, particularly Pat Miller. Paging through Miller's 1995 restaurant guide, I felt as if I were reading one of those cheesy hotel "Things to Do" guides, which list/promote glowing restaurant reviews next to that restaurant's full-page ad.
Worse yet are the Denver fluff magazines which, after you take away the scant number of ads, consist of one or two extremely lame book excerpts/articles on Colorado and the all-important Top Ten lists. These glossy, self-serving rags tout any place that opened in the past two months and requires at least an hour wait to be seated. One such magazine recently even knocked Coors Field for prompting the expansion of burger and beer joints in its vicinity. What kind of food do these people expect baseball fans to eat? Angel-hair pasta?
Kyle Wagner focuses on what is the essential appeal of a good restaurant: the quality of the food and the service. She doesn't hesitate to slam a place if the service is poor. She gives detailed descriptions of what ingredients make up a meal instead of researching a thesaurus for variations of "to die for."
Thanks, Westword, for letting Ms. Wagner step outside the boundaries of Cherry Creek North and LoDo.
As the owners of the Roundup Grill in Evergreen, we would like to respond to Kyle Wagner's recent Mouthing Off columns. Our experiences with Pat and Mark Miller are drastically different from the experiences described in Kyle's column. After opening the Roundup Grill in October 1993, we were contacted by Pat in May 1994 regarding an appearance on her Channel 7 television segment. We had not contacted her previously, and Pat explained that she had heard great things about our place and thought her audience would like to know about the Roundup. We agreed to a day for taping at the restaurant and then supplied sample plates for the studio segment. Pat was impressed with the food, and she asked if we would like to host a "Gabby Gourmet Dinner" at the Roundup. We happily agreed, and in July, sixty paying guests of Pat and Mark's came to dinner.
We have known Pat and Mark Miller for many years. Because of her high profile, Pat cannot review restaurants with anonymity. However, it is our experience that when treated with the same respect and hospitality as other guests, the Millers are reasonable and fair critics. Perhaps some of the problems experienced by other restaurateurs stem from an overanxious need to please Pat Miller rather than a concentration on pleasing their guests.
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Terry Obrey and Ross Shandy
The Roundup Grill
My wife and I enjoy going out to various restaurants for lunch or dinner. We depend a great deal on restaurant critics for their honest reviews. We cannot cover the restaurants like the critics can.
The Mouthing Off column in the January 4 issue certainly set things about one would-be critic in the right direction. I don't think most of us have taken the Galloping Gourmet very seriously for ages. It is time to expose these charlatan critics for what they are and give the honest critics and restaurant-goers an even break. Thanks for speaking out.
Joseph H. Lutz