there was a press conference the other day announcing that the legendary joe muer's is reopening downtown - well, kind of. joe muer has sold the rights to the name and logo to joe vicari, the owner of the andiamo family of restaurants. the place will be in the old sledom blues space in the ren cen.
the old joe muer's was one of my favorite places downtown back in the 1990's. i cannot count how many times i had lunch or dinner there. loved the white beans and cole slaw in silver trays that the professional waitstaff would bring out as soon as you sat down. they had many great things on the menu, but my all time favorite and go to dish was their seared salmon with carmelized capers in a parsley butter sauce. i miss it so.
however, i am skeptical that joe vicari will be able to restore the old glory. first the seldom blues space is a great room with a stunning view of the river, but i think the ren cen is a huge pain in the ass - and my office is within walking distance. if you are not within walking distance, you are already out $10-$15 for parking (in the deck or the valet) and then you have to navigate your way to the right elevator or stairs to get to the place. at lunch, you have to factor in 10-15 minutes for logistics. if i am driving somewhere for lunch (i.e., roma, slows, mex village), i want to get out of my car and wlak in - no parking deck, no valet, no maze to get to the front door. i find it easy to overlook the ren cen when it comes to lunch or dinner.
the big thing will be the food and the prices. the old joe muer's was not cheap by any means. by the end, he was losing tons of money - a combination of diminishing lunch business (as the days of two to three hour lunches with cocktails faded away), a dying dinner business, and high costs (union employees that averaged $20/hour!). and he owned the building. the new place will be paying ren cen rent to gm (unless gm and/or the city is subsidizing it). the ultimate challenge will be the food. will it be old school goodness or will it be a fish version of andiamo/rojo mex? unfortunately, i am betting on the latter.