Gretchen Kurtz just reviewed Birdcall, the tech-heavy concept that the group beyond Park Burger and Homegrown Tap & Dough introduced this summer in the former home of Tom's Home Cookin' in Five Points. The place is fast and affordable (and, in fact, just introduced an outpost in the Whole Foods behind Union Station). But is the food good? So far, she doesn't think the chicken sandwiches will fly with Denver diners, and some readers agree. Says Susan:
Gretchen got it right. Birdcall is for the birds!
Tech bugs not worked out yet at Whole Foods. Ordered at the kiosk, got the confirmation text on our phones, walked in the, yes, eerie, empty environment and waited....and waited...only one guy working, the other "supervising." Order never went through, he said, oh, hah, tech issues not worked out, asked what we ordered. No offer of apology or even a fries....meal finally came after twenty minutes (with five people in the place). Okay, so worth the wait? Nope, very, very ordinary...like our experience at Five Points. Wine Dive, Steuben's, Post Brewing, we'll stick with you.
Not worth the drive when Chick-fil-A is so much better, cheaper and has locations everywhere.
Tom's Home Cooking, RIP, we miss you....never be the same.
Yet another fine example of crap journalism at Westword. I love the people that are going to hate on this place because it's not the place that was there before it. That's fine and all, I used to be that way, too. This place is new, their food is actually pretty delicious and the folks that work there all had a great attitude and were personable. Just because they're innovating by incorporating tech into the atmosphere doesn't always mean you should just hate it immediately.
I think that most fast-food restaurants will end up like the front of a King Soopers where you can order from the kiosk and not interact with a human or you can wait in a human line. This works out great for me at the grocery store. I am an introverted person unless I am in one of my moods, so I love self checkout. Other times when I don't feel like doing the work or feel chatty, I will go through the human. I would love this option at, say, a Wendy's...but I don't think most of us are ready to make the switch to no humans. I'm only 42 but too old for that shit.
The worst part about this place is the lack of human interaction, especially considering the previous occupant of the space had friendly, personable staff. i don't wanna feel like i'm having lunch in Terry Gilliam's Brazil.
But then there's this from Katie:
I really like the food and they are always friendly. Good music playing. I deliver for DoorDash and I live nearby; they are great guys. They have some tech issues, but that's growing pains. I miss Tom's, but love them and are happy they are on a new adventure. An impatient, socially awkward society is what most of you are complaining about — and I'm an Introvert. I like the way I can customize with a tablet. I'm also a bartender and enjoy table service, but in a fast, quality-driven place like birdcall, I enjoy the anonymity. Shakes are great, too. Give them time; their passion will show through.
In addition, the article is a terrible piece of writing. Gretchen notes she flagrantly disregards the owners' wishes to print the business name to their standard, as well as expresses a great deal of contempt for her even having to write the article. Her personal displeasure with her situation is evident in every sentence. It's embarrassing to have her represent food and dining in Denver.
Keep reading for links to some of our stories about Birdcall, as well as the reason why we capitalize the B in Birdcall and an explanation of how Gretchen Kurtz approaches her reviewer role.
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SHOW ME HOW
"Tom's Home Cookin' Closes in Five Points"
When Jean-Phillipe Failyau, Peter Newlin and Rachel Sanford applied with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses for a liquor license at the old Tom’s address at 800 East 26th Avenue, they registered the name as "Birdcall"...and that's the name we've continued to use through our coverage, for the very basic reason that a lowercase b looks silly at the start of a sentence. And we've started plenty of sentences with "Birdcall" since the concept landed on the scene, in news stories that followed the progress of the new project. The uppercase B was not dictated by Gretchen (in fact, she relayed the owners' preference for "birdcall"); in this review, we followed the same rule we use for all businesses with unusual typographic choices (Twelve/twelve, North/NoRTH).
Gretchen chooses which restaurant she is going to review; in this case, she landed on Birdcall because of the buzz over not just the location, but the innovative technology and the impressive backgrounds of the founders. In the best tradition of restaurant reviewers, she waits several months before reviewing a spot so that it has a chance to work out the kinks (in this piece, she focused on the Five Points location because the Whole Foods outpost was so new) and does all of her work anonymously (and so does not attend media events hosted by restaurants, as she notes at the start).
Have some thoughts about our reviewing process? Want to share your feelings on Birdcall? You can leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.