Monday, June 1, 2009

Revisiting Bud Foster's Restaurant

Almost a year ago, I visited the then-newly opened Bud Foster's Restaurant in Blacksburg, Va., named after Virginia Tech football's defensive coordinator. I decided to share my thoughts about the experience in this blog post.

If you don't feel like reading, I'll summarize it by saying me and several of my friends had been less than impressed with the restaurant, finding the atmosphere lacking, the service terrible, the menu limited and the food bland. The operator of the restaurant had contacted me about the post (probably because it's negative, and it shows up third in a Google search for the place), and I had promised to revisit when my life slowed down and do a new post. Well, now that I'm finished with grad school and had to run some errands in Blacksburg the other day, I decided to have lunch at BFR.

The first thing I'll give the place kudos for is finally getting a Web site. Being online in a college is town is a must for survival, as students are going to hop online and check out your menu and drink specials before they even bother heading to your restaurant — especially if it's not in the downtown strip of Main Street Blacksburg, which BFR is not.

BFR redid their menu in January of this year, five months after my blog post and after they received comments from several visitors, according to the About Us page on their site. Regarding that menu, it is less limited than it was before, allowing a bit more in the way of choices for customers. However, prices do seem to have gone up about $1 since the restaurant's opening (at least for the dish I ordered last time). Given the current state of the economy, I guess that's not bad, but the portions weren't really reflective of the prices before. I felt, however, that I got a pretty good value for my lunch of a Philly Cheese Chicken sandwich for $5.99 with fries and a pickle.

But what about the taste? Well, it really wasn't anything to write home about, but it certainly by no means was bad. The one complaint I had was that the bread on which the sandwich was made tasted a bit stale around the edges. There still seems to be a little problem with seasoning at BFR, as the chicken didn't seem to have any spices or marinated flavor to it. Which, maybe that wouldn't be traditional, but BFR really needs something to set itself apart from the rest of the sports bars in Blacksburg. Right now, it seems like they aren't willing to take that step to use unique flavors to do so, aside, that is, from having a dish like their white chicken chili. I really wanted to try that chili, but it was such a hot day when I dropped in for lunch.

As far as service goes, I had a very attractive and friendly young lady as my server who I can't complain one bit about. I did hear someone in the back yelling at her to hurry up and get drinks out to some customers, but I was catching up on some reading and didn't really notice.

The atmosphere of the restaurant doesn't seem to have changed any, so if you're interested in that, you can check out the old post. The only other thing I would mention is the host who greeted me as I came in the door. Talk about a way to make a first impression — this guy had a curly mustachey thing creeping up the side of his face and some tribal braided goatee to top it all off with his long hair. Not only was I creeped out, but I wanted to laugh at how ridiculous this guy looked (and at how naiive the management must be to think that someone like this would make a good first impression on customers in rural southwestern Virginia). Seriously, this Halloween costume almost represents what the guy looked like, but the costume is definitely cooler. Oh, here's where he got the goatee idea, I guess — I get it, he was a pirate! But Bud Foster's team isn't the pirates....

Overall, BFR has improved. Before, I would have given it a 4 out of 10. I'd say now the restaurant warrants a 6 out of 10. It's a nice little joint to stop by once in awhile to mix things up, but I doubt it'll be on anyone's favorites list in the NRV.


dbwms9 said...

The pirate greeter guy is likely a holdover from Boston Beanery, the restaurant in that space prior to BFR. I went in there many times, usually to be greeted by a unique individual matching your description exactly.

LR said...

You sound like someone extremely hard to please. I've been to BFR many times, and I can safely say I haven't come across any other place which offers as large a variety and portions for $5.99.

Also I'm not sure what rural southwestern Virginia has anything to do with their staff, but that seemed like a very tacky thing to say. I have been greeted by that 'pirate' guy you refer to, and I found him and their whole staff to be pleasant, polite and helpful. Great food, great atmosphere, I'd say one of the best spots in town.

LR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JD said...

Thanks for reading and sharing your viewpoint!

Breadstix said...

I don't think he looks like a pirate at all, and find the look creepy/ ridiculous. I wish he'd find a new facial hair style. It makes me recoil every time I go in there, and I tend to avoid the place.

Joshua A. DeLung said...

He's still there, eh? I don't live in the NRV anymore, but glad to hear he's still creeping out the locals! Ha.

ChxWingz said...

I was just googling the restaurant's name when I came across this blog. I must say, it makes me ashamed to be a part of the same community as the rest of you who have said such vile and inappropriate things.

I'm not even sure why everyone's negativity seems to be surrounded around one individual, but I had thought this was supposed to be about the restaurant, not the facial hair of some greeter.

I've been there a few times with my family, and I thought their food was great! They have an incredible lunch menu, and only like 6 bucks!

The only down side I've seen in relation to the restaurant, has been to come to this blog and see the close-minded, and deeply conservative views of the ignorant locals. To live in a melting pot like Blacksburg, filled with crazy college students, you'd think neanderthal views like this would have faded away.

Joshua A. DeLung said...

Well, thanks for reading and sharing your comments. However, you might want to read the rest of the blog before you start thinking how "conservative" I am. Heh.

Look, no one ever really said anything "vile and inappropriate." Only a couple folks other than myself actually mentioned the guy, and I'm sure he's a nice dude. I never said he wasn't.

But the fact of the matter is that if I rolled up at my job looking like that... I wouldn't have my job very long. It's a completely unprofessional look, especially for someone they were using as the greeter at the door (when I still lived in the NRV anyway). If some of you want to run around looking like the flower children of the mid-20th century, that's fine, but don't get pissy when we're chuckling at you.

Personally, I'm not like you; I don't think the people of the NRV are all "crazy college students" or "neanderthals." In fact, I found the NRV to be a very classy place for the most part when I was there, and that's why I'd think any restaurant that wants to be a sit-down, dine-in type and be taken seriously might want someone who cleans up a little more nicely as the first person customers see. Does it change the taste of the food? (Unfortunately) It does not. Does it change how nice folks are or what the service is like? Nope. It's just best practices, and having someone grungy as the first thing that frames the rest of the dinner isn't making the best first impression that the restaurant could.

Breadstix said...

OK, OK, I was in there last week---the host has trimmed the beard and mustache, and looks great now! So everyone can find something else to write about.


J. F. LaVey said...

Joshua A. DeLung, you are the most shallow and pretentious individual I have ever read the reviews of about Bud Foster's. I think your approach in trying to ridicule a restaurant because of the "mustache" of the host is childish, and as I previously said simply shows how shallow and immature you are.

Joshua A. DeLung said...

Lol. Wow. Thanks for reading... Or ignoring everything but one paragraph and then talking about the author (who you don't know) instead of the content. Oh well... Hope the weather is nice under your bridge today. Have a good one.