Kevin Alexander once wrote an article for Thrillist ranking the top burgers in America. He named the restaurant Stanich’s in Portland, Oregon, as the home the best cheeseburger in America. That was last May. Stanich’s was not ready for the fallout of the article or the video about the honor.
Apparently, after my story came out, crowds of people started coming in the restaurant, people in from out of town, or from the suburbs, basically just non-regulars. And as the lines started to build up, his employees — who were mainly family members — got stressed out, and the stress would cause them to not be as friendly as they should be, or to shout out crazy long wait times for burgers in an attempt to maybe convince people to leave, and as this started happening, things fell by the wayside. Dishes weren’t cleared quickly, and these new people weren’t having the proper Stanich’s experience, and Steve would spend his entire day going around apologizing and trying to fix things. They might pay him lip service to his face, but they were never coming back so they had no problem going on Yelp or Facebook and denouncing the restaurant and saying that the burgers were bad. And then the health department came in and suggested they do some deep cleaning (he still got a 97 rating, he told me), and the combination of all of these factors led Stanich to close down the restaurant for what he genuinely thought would be two weeks.
Stanich’s has been closed since January. It’s like that old tale about the fisherman who only worked until noon, although he could have started a great business by working all day. Why should he, when life is good already? But the story goes deeper than that, as Alexander uses the story of Stanich’s restaurant to look at the power of the internet in setting trends that spin out of control in a hurry. -via Kottke
(Image credit: Emiliano Ponzi/Thrillist)