Monday, August 28, 2006

Gourmet Burger Bank - a local resident's opinion

I reproduce a comment left this morning to my original posting about the Belmont Road's Gourmet Burger Bank in Belfast.

So far, most of the discussion has been about the quality of the food and service from a customer perspective. Now we hear from someone who lives nearby.

- - -

I won't deny that Gourmet Burger looks the part and on the few occassions that I have been in when it first opened, the food was fine, but you wanna try living in the surrounding streets.

Try stepping out your back door to the smell of burning meat EVERY day! Try living around the corner from this place when they leave out their empty glass bottles much to the amusement of the local kids who use them as ammo and throw them at the cars parked in the surrounding streets.

And what's the attitude when you ring up to ask if they can store their empties more carefully ? [Quote] The kids were here before we (Gourmet Burger) were, so I think you shall find it is not us (Gourmet Burger) who is the problem, it is the kids [Unquote]. Nice attitude eh ?

Try walking past the end of the alley way to see the chef sitting on the ground of the dirty alley having a quick break and then getting up and going back into the kitchen to prepare your meal. Nice. Hygenic too.

Try getting back to sleep at 6am in the morning when the industrial bins are being wheeled out into the next street to be emptied - have you heard the noise a full to over-flowing industrial bin makes?

As well as looking after the customer, the staff are very well looked after too. They have been provided with a large smoking area straight out the back door in the dirty alley way beside the stinking bins. It's very well equipped - deck chairs beside the bins for them to have their fag breaks and then go straight back in and serve you your food.

So, yeah give Gourmet Burger a go if you want your food cooked by someone who sits in an alley way and is "Assistant Managed" by someone who doesn't give a toss about the local residents.

Oh yeah, and if you are lucky enough to take up one the parking spaces in the surrounding streets, cross your fingers that the kids who pile in from other areas don't use your car as target practice with the glass coke bottles that Gourmet Burger kindly leave out. You can always resort to what the residents have to do if you come out and find the kids sitting on your bonnet (glass bottles in hand) - ring Strandtown PSNI station and they shall come and move them on.

10 out 10 - keep up the good work. Seriously.

Posted by pyssed_off_resident to Alan in Belfast at 8/28/2006 11:47:33 AM

- - -

I've been minded to try and interview someone from GBB - since they seem publicity shy (they opened without any advertising and thrive on word-of-mouth recommendation) and opinions on their standard of service and quality of food seems to vary wildly between customers. Something to pencil in for September.

PS: The weather in Newcastle and down the coast to Kilkeel switches between bright sunshine and heavy rain with a period ("T" - for the physicists reading!) of 10-30 minutes. Constantly either soaked or sweltering. But having fun nonetheless.


Anonymous said...

I think the likes of these establishments are lowering the tone of what used to be a respectable neighbourhood. I passed this restaurant at the beginning of the week and there were a number of people congregated at the front door having a smoke. That in itself looks bad enough, but they each had a glass of wine in their hands. As well as lowering the tone of the place, is drinking on the street not illegal ? Sure enough, the patrons supply their own wine, but the restaurant supply the glasses. Shouldn't they be discouraging this?

John Self said...

I wouldn't say they're lowering the tone, but letting customers drink in the street isn't on. I suspect they'll be more careful about things like that when they get their liquor licence (the application is up in the window now, so if you've got any objections, now's the time), when it'll be their licence on the line for letting it happen.

Anonymous said...

Fair comment John, do you live in Ranfurly Drive, Ferguson, Bathgate or Sydenham Drive ? If you don't then put yourself in a residents position - who would you like to have your kids out for a walk and pass 3 adults standing outside such an establishment drinking wine in the afternoon ? Not a great example? I'd say it was lowering the tone. Whats the difference between them and the winos that you see about the city centre ? At least the winos try to hide the fact that they are drinking in the middle of the afternoon by disguising their bottles in a brown paper bag.

As for the objections, it's too late- the deadline was 29th of August. Unfortunately I was unaware that this place had applied for a licence until the beginnng of the week. When I enquired as to how to make an objection, I was told that I would have to serve a notice to Laganside Courts, the local PSNI station and the front man of the burger bar (not sure if the guy (Mr Staine) own's it or if he is just the cook). Unfortunately it was too late or I definitely would have done so.

I hope you are correct though in saying that they shall keep a better on things. I definitely shall be.

John Self said...

I live (well, most of the time) a couple of streets up the Belmont Road. I have been looking out (and have been back to GBB) since reading your message and haven't seen any reoccurrence of people drinking in the street. How many times have you seen it now? Maybe they're reading your comments and putting a tighter rein on things.

John Self said...

At Gourmet Burger Bank on Friday night, I got speaking to the proprietor and put some of these points to him. He had been aware that some people were going outside to smoke and taking drinks with them, and said that they had now stopped this. He also was absolutely adamant that they are constantly in communication with Strandtown police about any problems involving kids etc arising from GBB. He said he strives to be a 'good neighbour.'

He also said he plans to open a series of eateries across Ireland and that the reason they don't have a mezzanine floor (a question we have always pondered as we wait an hour for a table and wistfully observe the high ceiling and vast space which could contain another level) was because they didn't have enough money to do so when they fitted the place out...

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Certainly walking up the alley - behind a pram - at the back of Gourmet Burger Bank around midday, the area was pristine, with no staff, no open doors, and the bins all closed and tidy.

Anonymous said...

did this person suddenly wake up from a long hibernation to find that this part of Belmont Road is a almost single handedly representing east belfast as a thriving residential and business community. does this complainant argue that there are no other eateries in the vicinity and that because of the proximity of several local schools there is a large population of young people constantly passing through the area. perhaps the time has come for this person to go back into hibernation and hope that the next time they wake up there will still be a community being serviced by business people prepared to invest their money in the area. DDD

Anonymous said...

The residents on the Belmont Road definitely do not need the pity or charity of "business people who are prepared to invest their money in the area". Why don't these business people invest in their own areas, because as far as i can tell, that's the problem. These people do not have to live in the surrounding areas and therefore have no respect for residents living there ? Or, if they do respect the residents and "want to give something back", why not invest in a more run down area such as the Newtownards Road ? As for complaining about the other eateries, this post is entitled "Gourmet Burger Bar", it would be impolite to stray off the subject.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

> As for complaining about the other eateries,
> this post is entitled "Gourmet Burger Bar",
> it would be impolite to stray off the subject.

Oh, don't let manners get in the way of venting your feelings! On the other hand, don't complain too much about eateries unless you'd not miss having anywhere to sit in and eat on the Belmont Road.

John Self said...

"The residents on the Belmont Road definitely do not need the pity or charity of "business people who are prepared to invest their money in the area"."

As we've already established, Anonymous #1, you don't speak for the residents on the Belmont Road. Fortunately you are outnumbered by people like me, AiB, Anonymous #2 and the hundreds of others who like GBB and are glad that it and other businesses are thriving in the area. It must be cold all on your own in the slipstream.

Anonymous said...

If you are complaining about the staff having a cigarette in open air - i suggest you complain to the govt who have deprived these people of a decent smoking area! (yes i'm one too - and voicing an opinion is the only right we have left).

The trouble with the kids in the area has nothing to do with GBB either - they'd always find some way to cause trouble. They just need a good slap and their parents need one too (and a job mostly).

As a longtime resident - Its great the amount of new business being brought into the area! The Belmont Road has never been as good, our house prices are going up so much the parents of the kids causing all the trouble will soon not be able to afford thier rent - and they can take their offspring to Ballybeen etc where they belong!!!

But I suppose the housing executive will always pay for these families to adversley affect the lives of the vast majority of decent people in this area....

I might open my own meat eaterie but i fear i may be tempted to make some of the kids in this area into 'spide burgers' ;-)

Anonymous said...

It's my birthday on Sat and I'm gona take the kids for a treat no matter what is written here. I only googled it for directions anyway as i live the other side of the city so I'll use my own judgement and I've heard lots of nice things said about it so I'll post my comments after my gbb experience