Where’s the Restaurant Guy?

The Restaurant Guy shares some thoughts around changing up the blog

A number of folks have reached out asking what’s happened to “The Restaurant Guy.”   The truth is I’m still out here….and would like your indulgence to change up the reviews.  Here’s why.

My Westborough Patch blog started on June 5, 2011 with a review of the movie Bridesmaids.  Yep, when I first started, I did reviews of events, movies and restaurants.  Over the course of the 110 posts Patch kindly shared with you, my focus was voluntarily narrowed.  Movie reviews have a limited shelf life, as do events.  Yet restaurants survive, evolve and sometimes perish.  Having people stop me on the street to debate or support a review is fun, and you’ve always been good sharing suggestions for places to try.

Over the course of the 102 restaurant reviews, we’ve agreed/disagreed and always had fun.  That’s the good news.  Now to the serious stuff.

Back in November, I went to the Dr for my annual physical I go to every five years.  My Doctor has been my doctor for 30 years, she knows me well.  While I’ve always been to the large side, my Doctor would say things like:

  • 2002 - “You’re big, and your numbers are all good, so your body is used to it.  Your biggest challenge is you’re a guy.  Guys don’t live as long.”
  • 2007 – “You’re big, and your numbers are all good, and you should think about this.  Diabetes is a big issue in the US today.”
  • 2012 – ““You’re big, and your numbers are all good, and you need to change something. NOW.”

You see, over the course of the 102 restaurant reviews I’ve added about a half pound a review to my frame.  It’s my doing; nobody forced me to do this.  And still there are a bunch of guys from Goodyear chasing me as a runaway blimp.

So, I’ve made some dramatic changes in nutrition, and am going to the gym with a personal trainer.  I’m optimistic and have still have miles to go.

What to do with the restaurant blog is the question.

I’ve decided to stop producing the videos.  While a blast to make, the actual views are in the 300 range. It takes a lot of time and effort to produce, so we are going on hiatus.

I also stopped writing the blog.  And yet so many people reached out, I feel like I’m not being fair to you or myself.  And my concern is I am not convinced there are healthy restaurants, so what to do?

As I spoke to a very good friend about this, she challenged me.  She’s suggested an exploration of healthy choices when dining out.  As I was thinking on this, Regional Editor of the Patch, reached out.  Sharing my quandary, she replied, “I don't think you need to find healthy restaurants, only healthy options at the ones you visit. People, I think, would love that, myself included!”

And then my thankfully challenging friend reached out with references for healthy eating while dining out.  She couldn’t be more supportive, as is the case with my kids (with the exception of the bag of Oreos on Christmas morning!)

So, with your indulgence, let’s shift the focus a bit.  This means we’ll revisit some restaurants already reviewed, and certainly we’ll stop by new ones. 

Getting out weekly is a challenge right now for me, too, as my company has some travel needs.  While the posts won’t run weekly, hopefully you’ll enjoy them!

Your help with suggestions is always welcomed….it helps these blog posts be something we can discuss when we bump into each other around town.

What do you think?  Should we make this journey together?

The Author

Gary Kelley has lived in Westborough since 1994. His reviews are what he would tell friends, and are not an academic analysis. You can follow him @glkelley or www.garylkelley.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Steven Palmer January 07, 2013 at 01:45 PM
We all need to go out and most of us need to be healthier, now. So, lead the way, Gary!
Gary Kelley January 07, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Thank you Steven
Danielle Horn January 07, 2013 at 04:33 PM
A personal trainer, nice! I agree with Susan: seek out healthy (or healthier) options when you're doing your reviews: or, get whatever you'd like, and commit immediately to putting half of it in a doggie bag. You have my support!
Gary Kelley January 07, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Thank you Danielle. I found a nutritionist to work with, and she told me, "Until we get together, track what you consume, eat whatever you want----just cut the volume in half." 3 weeks later she fired me...(conflict as she knows me)...but I found the advise very useful. Is it perfect? Not at all. But it is a good start and simple (simple is good.)
Ron Goodenow January 07, 2013 at 08:07 PM
I think it would be useful if we could compile some things that restaurants can do to make their food healthier, and then take it upon ourselves to talk to them about doing so. For example, I had very good luck persuading Cheng Du to start serving brown rice (one result being that when I enter I am sometimes greeted with a friendly laugh as Mr. Brown Rice...). I know that some Italian restaurants, including the Olive Garden (sorry Gary, you probably gave that one a red light), are serving brown pasta, which is now pretty good. Other things that are important to many of us include: - gluten free (increasingly common) - options to order small plates (great feature at Romaines) or sizes. - brown bread for sandwiches and hamburgers More? Haven't found any low cal vodka, but did see a 'light chardonnay' in Florida the other day.
Gary Kelley January 07, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Thanks Ron....I did speak with the owner of Burnams in Ashland and he brought in a wonderful swordfish one night. He ran it as a special....not as a regular fare. My Jack and Gingers have given way to just wine. Sharing an entree is decent, too.
Susan Manning January 07, 2013 at 10:05 PM
One place I love (as I am a Chinese food fan) is Nancy Chang in Worcester. They cook with better oil, no MSG and have pages and pages for diet restricted fare/healthier options. I also found that in terms of Weight Watchers, which is something to which I adhere, Chipotle for fast food is great! Obviously it's about choice, and you can choose to order less healthful food, but they have delicious options even when you're trying to be health-conscious. But one of my best tricks I use is planning ahead by looking at menus online. That way I can go to a restaurant with anyone and know in my head 3 things I can order without stressing about its contents. But Gary, best of luck! I have told you before that this is a lifelong journey for me and it must be for all of us. It's difficult with the temptations, but the pros of living a healthier, longer life outweigh the fried food comas I used to have :)
Colleen Lombardo January 08, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Tavolino offers small and large portions of many of our entrees, a gluten-free menu, healthy menu options, and of course, makes everything to order, which gives you the opportunity to modify any dish to suit your dietary needs. We know you've tried the pizza and fried calamari, so now come in and try some fresh seafood, steak, salads...........the list goes on and on.
Amy Buttiglieri January 08, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Great idea, Gary - and good luck to you! I agree with Susan: folks will love reviews of restaurants with "healthy options". Of course, define "healthy". Low Fat? Vegetarian? Paleo/Primal? Whole Grain? Organic? Care to take up the challenge and blog about that? Bet you'd get 200 comments! ;-)
Gary Kelley January 09, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Thanks, Colleen. The last time I was in Tavolino (a couple weeks ago) I split an entree of Wild Mushroom Boscaiola with someone, and there was still plenty left over for a doggy box. While delicious, it is not on a healthy choice menu! We'll be back!
Gary Kelley January 09, 2013 at 02:41 AM
Amy, great questions, and some of the ones we're going to have to wrestle with. Also, how many times a day to eat? One article I read says back in the dark ages we'd get a decent meal every few days.... The Trainer (who can't recommend anything) suggests (listening to a nutritionist and) eating every 3 hours (so the body doesn't think it needs to store food.) This is all very foreign to me, and honestly a new challenge. It's all good.
Gary Kelley January 09, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Thanks, Susan. Chipotle isn't on my go-to list as it's already been red-lighted! http://westborough.patch.com/blog_posts/restaurant-review-chipotle-mexican-grill This is going to be an interested challenge for me....and thanks for all your support.
Ron Goodenow January 09, 2013 at 11:18 PM
Gary, pretty soon you will transcend your conventional role and become the 'healthy eating out guy', which would be winner. Make it part of a personal journey, sharing, as you have here, struggles with your health and nutritionists, quests for improvements for us all at local restaurants, and reviews of those beaneries in terms of how healthy they are. A rating system based on overall quality and overall healthy options. Green light for one, red for the other. I think readers would be excited by this. I thought of this at our Rotary lunch today, where it was virtually impossible to find a healthy option that one would want to eat. We need pressure from you and readers.
julie Labbe January 11, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Good for you! I, for one, will thoroughly enjoy learning what healthy options are available at the great restaurants that grace this area. I'm happy that you're taking care of yourself. As Ron Goodenow said, you can become the "healthy eating out guy" and it WOULD be a winner. It's very trendy right now to eat healthfully.
Ron Goodenow January 11, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Hi Julie, good reinforcement. Not only is it trendy to eat healthfully it is increasingly required, if we look at all kinds of life expectancy, disease, and many other factors. We MUST do it and to be successful there must be a joint effort between consumers, people like Gary willing to go out on the point, and restaurants. There are many signs this is starting to happen, though like getting rid of tobacco, stupid sugary stuff in schools, dangerous weapons, etc. it takes a lot of time and effort. The important thing here is that we all pitch in! And share our own experiences so Gary isn't alone.
Gary Kelley January 11, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Sorting through the conflicting information is a challenge. A client shared a story today of dining at "LTK" (Legal Test Kitchen) and having an 8z Tuna entree, on noodles. He asked how many calories, and was told 2800! His view is he would have left the restaurant feeling he had a healthy entree, and only when looking at facts & meal prep did he see the underlying issue.
Gary Kelley January 11, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Thanks Julie...I've never been much of a trendsetter, to be honest. Yet need this to work.... I appreciate your support....


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