Friday, December 08, 2006

"Da Boss" making changes at Capone's?

While driving down Gateway this afternoon, I couldn't help but notice that the sign on the old Capone's building and the sign in front have both been removed.

As you may remember, Capone's had a fire a couple of months back. They seem to have been spending the time since cleaning up after the fire. Now, with the removal of both signs, I can't help but wonder if the owner has come to her senses and ditched the kitschy name and theme.

I've never understood the whole idea behind Capone's: probably the most expensive restaurant in town locating themselves on ugly Gateway Drive across the street from the smelly Simplot factory and then choosing a "gangster" theme. Really, can't we make some better choices here?

Before you nag me for "picking on" a local establishment, keep in mind that the owner's daughter doesn't mind calling anyone critical of her mother's business formula a douche bag. I mean really, grow up. I just don't feel overly sympathetic towards people who treat their potential customers in this manner.

Regardless, I'll be interested to see what direction the restaurant will take when it finally re-opens under who knows what name and format.

29 comments:

wendian said...

I'm wondering the same thing. I like Capone's, I really do. The food is great and the overall atmosphere (minus the kitschy fake gangsta accents) was pleasant. You're right, the location just stinks (literally). The "build it and they will come" mentality just doesn't work in this situation--they are inconveniently located for their target customers, who all live on the south end. I think the restaurant would do much better if it were located either downtown or down south.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the Capone's name came from her great grandfather or grandfather or somebody once was a chef for Capone. There was some pictures and memorbilia in the restaurant showing the connection.

Anonymous said...

i heard gossip it was going downtown next to that new salan that just opened up. wasn't their a pizza place or smoething there?

Elucidarian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elucidarian said...

Oh, that place next to the salon is a little cursed. Several incarnations of restaraunt have existed there, my favorite being the initial Red River Cafe which was 8 years ago. Rumor had the place being an indulgence of the Subway/Little Ceasar's/TCBY owners in town; it lost money, but they had money to burn. That's how I heard it, but anybody can correct me if I'm wrong.

Too often a business owner's vision competes with the community's desires. Any place that wants to make it in this town needs to do two things.
1) Recognize and cater to a target demographic
2) Provide a consistently good product

These can dictate the following:
- Appropriate hours
- Advertisment placment
- Price range

Then, make sure you've got an intuitive bookkeeper who understands the business' direction.

Late and Lamented from recent years:
Lola's
Kozmo's Cafe
Red River Cafe
Paulo's
The Blarney Mill
Planet Pizza
Westward Ho

There's more, but these are some I really miss.

Anonymous said...

If you want to put up with the crap, I think any food offering downtown after 2 a.m. would make some decent cash.

cvl said...

"Before you criticize me, the owner's daughter doesn't mind calling anyone critical of the business a douche bag. I mean really, grow up."

Do don't criticize you or else we'll be just like the owners daughter? C'mon, everyone together, "LOGIC"

GrandForksGuy said...

I just revised that section a bit to better convey my intended meaning.

Anonymous said...

While I have no empathy for this totally flawed concept, the idea that someone won't leave the south end for a nice dinner is puzzling. Is that true?

dale said...

As someone who lives on the south end, yes, we come up to eat at GF Goodribs and the Boot once in a while, but most of the places on the north end tend to be "out of sight, out of mind." Unless there's a compelling reason, we'll likely stay on the other end of town.

mattfacingsouth said...

Anonymous said...
"While I have no empathy for this totally flawed concept, the idea that someone won't leave the south end for a nice dinner is puzzling. Is that true?"

There has to be some truth to that. I work at a store on the Northwest corner of town and we get people who complain about the "drive all the way across town."

I have two points to make:

1) If the traffic lights on Washington, Columbia, and 32nd Ave were anywhere near sync'ed up it would take less than 10 minutes to get anywhere in town. I think this is some sort of conspiracy enacted by the south-end businesses to attract more customers because their store-front and signage gets a heck of a lot more exposure when you have to stop every three feet. And what the heck is with the Target parking compl(icated)ex? I'm sure glad they didn't put another box store like Kohl's emptying into the same 2-lane feeder - right across from the Target outlet. Genius! [/sarcasm]

Stick to the point, Matt...

2) I grew up in California - "across town" has an entirely different meaning out there. Think 40 minutes to an hour to go anywhere from 15-30 miles to get "across town." That always included going to my favorite music store, which, like the one where I work now, was not in the greatest location. GF'ers, you have it easy.

wendian said...

Easy, yes indeed it is, but in the minds of the folks here, out of sight truely is out of mind.
Furthermore, what do many people also do when they go out to eat? Go shopping, go out for cocktails, go to a movie. Capone's is far-removed from all of those things, once again making it a tough sell when compared to Green Mill, Applebees, etc.

vcsuvike said...

When the Green Mill had that location it was busy all the time. I don't think it's the location necessarily, but what type of restaurant is there.

Anonymous said...

True, but the Green Mill had a few things that Capone's doesn't...a national reputation, a strong and identifiable brand, name recognition and an already-established customer base.

Anonymous said...

True, but GF residents hunger (sorry) after new places to dine, so if the small-town buzz had been good, the place would have been able to draw from all over town.

mattfacingsouth said...

I wasn't impressed with the idea of going to a place that seemed all-kitsch.

In a restaurant I want good, unique food options, and comfortable ambience, not a gimmick set-up. Oh, and in the future, it would be nice if local eateries would get away from the 5,000 TV's and have MORE LIVE MUSIC!!!

Anonymous said...

I think theme restaurants-outside of Disney World, that is-are past their prime. I wonder if even the best food and service could have salvaged a concept that had its heyday more than 20 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Just one "theme restaurant" comment -- BRING BACK TOPPERS!

Seriously. We'd go there pretty often, even if it was in a crap neighbourhood.

Anonymous said...

I know also believe that Capone's is closing... If you read City Council packets (which are public record) a development is allowing access 'through the former Capones lot'. The development is for more apartments by the way -

Very Interesting!

Anonymous said...

That would be 'now believe'...
Sorry.

Anonymous said...

On the old Capone's sign, there is now this message: "for sale or lease, please contact..."

Very interesting!

Anonymous said...

What was that sound you ask?

That was the sound of a coffin being nailed shut.

And another one gone, another one gone...

Anonymous said...

Yes, but...will the tommy-gun be buried with the casket?

This storie's not over.

GrandForksGuy said...

I think the owner of Capone's leased the building from someone else, right? I can't figure out why "Da Boss" would spend so much time cleaning up the building after the fire and now the owner of the building is trying to sell it or lease it to someone new. Then again, maybe the people that have been cleaning up haven't been the Capone's owner(s), maybe they were the owner(s) of the building instead. Anybody know?

DrJ said...

RE: ".. but the Green Mill had a few things that Capone's doesn't..."
Yeah, like GOOD FOOD!!! C'Mon, that place was horrible!! Nobody should believe Marilyn Hagerty's recommendations ever again. Their food was bad, the prices waaay too high and I for one am glad to see it closed for good.

Anonymous said...

ouch

Anonymous said...

Now people, Capones had a very deluctable selection of food. I for one am very upset they will be leaving us. My empty stomache begs for capones everyday. Although there food was a bit pricey, who can't fork over 5-10 dollars per meal hmm?

Anonymous said...

Wrong!!! I am a very unhappy customer of capones and i got to say. if you want food poisoning, go to capones.... OR WAIT you cant because its closed! we're saved! no longer will i have to eat that slop because my vegetable grandmother likes their mashed steak.

Anonymous said...

Why can't you youngsters keep out of our business. You completely ruin a thread by saying stuff like that. Please just either be serious or leave.