This week's print edition includes a few letters about Jason Sheehan -- one taking issue with his very existence, another with his recent review of Bono's Pit Bar-B-Q (shown here). It wasn't the only letter we received on that subject; the following was too long for the paper, but it fits just fine on the web: I do not normally write letters to the editor, in fact this is a first for me. I felt compelled to do so however, after reading the article written by your Mr. Jason Sheehan concerning Bono’s Barbeque Restaurants.
Mr. Sheehan’s comments, I believe, are unfounded and the unprofessional way that he embarrassed the Owners of this establishment was unfounded and, quite frankly, preposterous! Mr. Sheehan claims to be a food critic and so be it, but I speak as one myself being professionally trained at one of the well-known collegiate Hotel and Restaurant Administration programs in the world; as a past operator of major restaurants, concession facilities, cafes, etc, throughout North America; and the Founder and President of a firm that has planned and designed restaurants and other highly-visible commercial food services facilities throughout the world over the past twenty-two years (over 1,500 of them in 22 countries, to be exact)! The folks at Bono’s, by the way, are not clients of mine but their Centennial store is only a block from my office, so I eat there quite regularly.
Like Mr. Sheehan, I am not a Southerner, but that is where the similarity ends. I know great barbeque, I have cooked great barbeque, and, as a foodservice consultant for 36 years, I have helped counsel legendary barbeque places in all the right spots i.e. the Carolinas, Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas, just to name a few! And now to the subject at hand – Mr. Sheehan’s comments. Most if not all barbeque restaurants use frozen potato products irregardless if it’s the sweet or regular variety. The cost to hand cut and then discard product that is not used is unaffordable to most operators. Same in this case – I have had both varieties many times, and they have always been good tasting and hot. The ribs – any good barbeque critic knows to try the baby backs. Bono’s consistently turns out some of the best I have tasted (and that’s saying something when you consider my barbeque history with such classic American Kings of the “Q” like the Rendezvous and Corky’s in Memphis, the Ironworks and Stubb’s in Texas, Sonny’s in North Carolina, and a few others of legendary note). The Bono’s pork shoulder – whether it is on a sandwich or platter is as good if not better than many that the BBQ legends offer – especially with an ample portion of the various good sauces provided every guest.
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I could go on, but I won’t – I guess success is measured in many ways. Maybe Mr. Sheehan had a bad day, or maybe he really doesn’t know barbeque, or maybe the constant stream of people filling the Bono’s stores day after day and sales going up and up suggest that no one really knows good barbeque except a select few people. . .but I don’t think that is the case at all. I just think that people who claim to be food experts/critics or whatever you call them, should think more before they write negative articles about establishments because food is an individual preference and no one individual is the “expert of experts”. Enough said!
William J. Caruso, FFCSI, ISHC President, WILLIAM CARUSO & ASSOCIATES, INC.
Do you agree? Disagree? Let the food fight continue! -- Patricia Calhoun