Gusto’s Reader’s Choice Awards

The new Summer 2007 issue of Gusto is out, and it features their 2007 Reader’s Choice Awards for local restaurants. And you all know I’m a sucker for "Best Of" lists, right?

(As an aside, have I never blogged about Gusto here before? Apparently not… it’s the ultra-glossy "premiere" magazine for Central Oregon’s food and drink scene… a la Bend Living. The main difference is, it’s free. I actually rather like it, despite that I sometimes find it overly pretentious.)

Some of the highlights…

  • McKay Cottage was voted 4 titles: Best Service, Best Waitress, Best Breakfast, Best Burger.
  • Toomies was voted Best Asian.
  • La Rosa was voted Best Mexican.
  • Tumalo Feed Company was voted Best Steak.
  • Scanlon’s was voted Best Fine Dining.
  • Deschutes Brewery was voted Best Family Dining (???) and Best Local Brewery.

So what’s up with the Brewery and "Best Family Dining"? I mean, we’ve taken the kids there and they like it, but best? I wouldn’t have seen that coming…

11 thoughts on “Gusto’s Reader’s Choice Awards

  1. I’d also pick Victorian instead of McKay Cottage for best breakfast. And I HIGHLY doubt McKay has the best burger in town…

    Seems like they are a bit biased.

    And what the heck is with the brewery as the best family dining? Over Red Robin? Please…. that invalidates the entire list.

  2. Are all the the folks who were "Best Of" advertisers in the magazine? That might answer a few questions.

    I think Bend Living’s list of "Best Of" for food is probably more accurate. I don’t have it with me, but I know they had Pilot Butte for best burger and Dandys for second, which I would agree with. I’ve never eaten at the McKay (been meaning to), but I think that Westside Cafe has some of the best breakfasts around (we frequent the Breakfast Club as well, mostly because the folks there are nice). Westside makes a mean burger, too, but it’s nothing on Pilot Butte’s.

    And the brewery for family dining? Doubtful. Their kids menu isn’t bad, but the service, especially when busy, is less than stellar, and the bar-like atmosphere is certainly not something you’d consider kid-friendly (in my opinion, at least).

  3. I’d have to agree with Jake too. Bend Living’s list seems far more accurate. Probably because it’s based on *actual* reader surveys – and not on Gusto’s lazy and obvious nod to advertisers…

    Sure – schmoozing your advertisers ensures future revenue, but with proportionally higher ad rates and lower circulation (and abdominally low pay to their contributing photographers), Gusto could really have afforded to put a little more effort into their "Best Of" list…


  4. Back when I started my blog, I was getting so frusterated with all of the restaurant reviews in Bend. They all seemed to be sell outs to their advertisers and you couldn’t find a negative word about any restaurant in town.

    That seems to have changed with The Source and the Bulletin writing better reviews lately. Even still, I think they are trying to please everyone instead of giving an honest and accurate review.

    Gusto is tough for me to read. Every restaurant gets raving reviews. McKay Cottage? Does anyone know anyone that’s been there? Not one person I talk to has been there and my friends go out to eat often. Everyone says "I heard it’s good" but no one has been there. Sounds like McKay has a great PR team.


  5. BOR: We have been there and it is wonderful…with the previous owners and these new owners. You should go, it’s behind Shilo Inn on OB riley rd. They do rate up there for breakfasts with Victorian, we decide between either of those when we do breakfast (which is rare these days)

  6. The McKay Cottage is really good. The service is amazingly, the folks there are attentive and just nice. I love their breakfasts in my opinion better than the Vic’s.

    Tyler, I would have gone with you on Red Robin. But, I think folks have a tendency not to vote for big chains. I’ve never had the burger at the McKay, but my husband says they are quite good.

    BOR, A good PR team maybe, but I think they just have enthusiastic customers. I’ve talked with Pam the owner there. She the type who works 10 hour days 7 days a week. She is all over that restaurant making sure everything is just right. Not sure she has too much time for major PR.

  7. I love how everyone is more than ready to bash another restaurant here in Central Oregon when it does well, instead of championing it, telling others about it, or simply investigating it for themselves. The experience might actually surprise you. The fact of the matter is, what Pam Elmore and Jim Reed have been able to do in the 1 year and 8 months that the McKay has been in business is extraordinary in Bend Oregon, home of the failing restaurant. She has taken an albatross and made it into a phoenix. Get over yourselves Central Oregon. It is completely understandable that you have your favorites, but what isn’t understandable is why intelligent residents of this town have to try and reject something that is obviously succeeding. Don’t you want good food AND good service? Can one not exist with the other? Just because it really hasn’t before here in Bend, doesn’t mean that it can’t now. Who knows, they might be starting a trend. You might just get a smile with your eggs and bacon, not just a whiff of diesel fuel.
    Advertising, schmadvertising, when people recognize that you have a good thing going, they want to let you in on it, it’s called word of mouth and it is the strongest advertising on the planet-oh,and it is FREE. Of course, sometimes people don’t want you to know about it; might make the wait for the Best Breakfast in Bend a little longer. If you have never been there, than you have no room at all to make a comment, just because they were able to find the right formula. Some of the other restaurants should take a page out of their play book instead of badmouthing them for doing what customers have been begging for in Bend for years.
    As for the publications in Bend, I consider most of them fish wrap. They cater to whomever is paying their bills and not much more. The Bulletin, The Source, Bend Living, even Gusto all are on the shelves because their bills were paid for this month. Maybe they should do away with Best Of Lists altogether and let the people of Central Oregon make their own decisions again. Goodness knows I love hearing-"I don’t know, where do you want to go?" I, for one, LOVE the McKay Cottage. No better place in Bend to get a cup of coffee (with a pot left right on your table), a heartfelt "Welcome" when you walk in the front door (right after the small of freshly baked goods hits you), servers that care about you as if you were a member of their immediate family and a boss that respects her employees as much as if they owned the place. Wake up Bend, keep trashing the great places and I assure you, they will go away. Wow, maybe we’ll even get that Red Lobster they have been promising us for years…..

  8. Anon: I’m going to preface this by saying "I like McKay", but you’re on par with the comments *you* are bashing. *You* state that they have the "right formula". That is *your opinion*, just as those stating in the comments here. I’ve only been there a few times since the new owners, but the previous owners did a great job too, so don’t go saying that the new owners are the success, they had it when they bought the business.

  9. Actually you aren’t correct. Business at the McKay Cottage has more than tripled as a result of the business changing hands. True, it is my "opinion" that they have the "right formula", but in turn, they wouldn’t have received the recognition they have if they hadn’t flipped the switch. I am not trying to say that Steve and Vicki didn’t try and run a successful business, but I hadn’t even heard of "that little restaurant on O.B.Riley Road until they were getting ready to sell it. I can tell you this, the service and food I received when it changed hands is much improved. Hats off to the McKay! I can see that the naysayers are still out in full force. Pity.

  10. Because this is my husband’s blog, I’ll be nice and bite my tongue a bit (ok, apparently a lot, which is something I do not do very often)

    What naysayers?

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