Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: "Stoughton House of Brews"

Since this blog is international, it seems a bit silly to be posting a review of a place in a very small town in Massachusetts. The reason I am doing so is because I want to have enough space to write a review that I think fairly expresses my opinion in a space where the owner of the place can't delete it because it may have some things that he don't like. I posted to their Facebook page earlier and it seems that post has disappeared and the owner got a bit defensive - which I understand - I didn't come off well and he's just trying to defend his business.

Let me start off by saying that this is a rather lovely place. While small, I think that the owners have made nice use of their space and have done a great job creating a warm, inviting and welcoming atmosphere. The staff that I have interacted with are wonderful and even the owner, I should say owners, were both on premises both times I've been there are do a great job of making rounds to everyone and seeing that everyone is happy. I have no doubt that both care deeply about this business and both clearly work very hard.

I love the idea that by day they operate as a café and by evening, I hate to just say a bar - perhaps lounge is a better word. I'm not certain, but it really is a lovely place and I do recommend you all check it out.

Here's where I do have a problem, and I can only speak for the evening fare since I have not gone during café hours, they are terribly over priced, I mean, severely overpriced.

While in my Facebook post earlier, I gave specific examples of menu items and price, I will not do that here. I actually don't mean to discourage you from trying out this place and despite a comment that the owner replied with, this has nothing to do with what I felt was an over reaction on your part to my friend wanting to video tape the performer. If you look at some of the comments on Yelp, others feel the same way.

I know what I ordered last night and I know what the check came to. I love to support small, local business but when your charging prices that are so outrageous, especially for what you are giving (and folks, I am only referring to portions size, I must say everything I have eaten here has been delicious), it's just not affordable (for me); certainly not as a place I can frequent. Perhaps there is a rationale behind it? If so, there is a comments section here - maybe someone will care to comment, perhaps the ownership?

Perhaps you have enough of a clientele that can afford to pay those prices, if so, hey, all the best. I just like the idea of this place and while the distance from my house makes it a place I can't come to often, I will travel to see performers like Jessie Albright and stop in when I visit friends in the area, most important, I like to recommend and refer people to establishments just like this.

I wish this place great success but I also ask that the owners review their menu and their prices for everything. Regardless of the net effect, I would encourage everyone who might be in the Stoughton area to try out this place and offer your own take to the owners, they will most likely be there. I know they care about this business and I wish them great success - maybe I am off base, but I think they can make a good thing really great.


Leo Fay said...

Chris as you can tell we do care greatly about The Stoughton House of Brews and work hard to make it a place everyone enjoys when they come in. I did delete your comment on Facebook because of the way it came across, not because of it being critical of some of our prices. That said I will address your comments. Our goal is to provide quality , fresh , local products as much as possible. We try to have items on our menu for all price ranges. We have beer from $3.50 to $11.00, scotch from $6.55 to $24.00,wines from $6.00 glass to $88.00 bottle, coffee, lattes, and cappuccino from $1.79 to $6.00. Our food we could buy cheaper and sell for less but feel the quality is more important. We also carry in the cost live entertainment 4 days a week weds - sat. Our average customer much like you and your friend can sit for 3-4 hours be entertained, have some food and a few drinks for approximately $30 each. We know we can't be everything for everyone, but work hard to satisfy those looking for a unique experience without having to go into the city, pay for parking, cover charges, minimum tab charges, etc. I hope you can now look at $30 spent apiece for 4 hours of entertainment as reasonable. Lastly. I did not tell your friend he had to take down his video camera and tripod. I explained to him that he should have contacted us ahead of time before showing up and setting up this type of equipment, blocking some chairs and views. He had even gone as far as to plug into our mixing board for audio without ever asking me. I told him he didn't have to take it down, and suggested in the future he should check with any venue ahead of time. He took it down on his own. Please feel free to contact me if I can answer any other questions.
Leo Fay

Chris said...

I truly appreciate that you took the time to reply thoughtfully Leo. To everyone else reading, there are many good points made here. As someone who has worked in, with and for local business, I can attest (and in hindsight, should have in the original post), the simple cost of doing business is higher than that for the corporate conglomerates. I also alluded to the fact that the physical space inside is limited. I believe that they have done a great job in creating a fine space but there are only so many paying customers that can fit inside at once.
I want to reiterate that all of the food I’ve eaten have been both fresh and delicious and I applaud and support the efforts of buying high quality local products. The fact that Mr. Fay took the time to reply and do so the way he did confirms to me that he cares. I will continue to patronize this establishment when I can.
I do believe there can be a few tweaks to the menu and maybe even some of the pricing but it’s also easy for me to say that as a consumer without seeing the same picture as the owner; hopefully this dialogue will at least encourage the Fay’s to take a look and consider it. I’d love to be able to order the sliders and get a little side of those sweet potato fries would be one example of a tweak. I suspect I am not alone but that said, Mr. Fay responded very honorably and I have great respect for that and for him and his wife and I believe they are working hard to run the type of business that I want to do business with and that I hope you all will check out.
Next time I am at Stoughton House of Brews I will seek out Leo and his wife (and I apologize for not recalling your name and only referring to you as Mrs. Fay, I assure you that no disrespect is intended) and shake their hand, apologize for any miscommunication and wish them continued luck.