Friday, August 04, 2006

Guten Night.

There's a restaurant here called "The Black Forest Inn. Its slogan, judging from the lead sentence on its website, is "If you haven't been to the Black Forest Inn, you haven't been to Minneapolis."

I agree, there's plenty of food for thought right there. But that's not what interests me at the moment.

Yesterday I was driving through Uptown with my daughter and my teenage nephew. On a billboard overlooking the main drag, at the corner of 28th and Hennepin, there was a huge ad for the BFI. In thick pseudo-Germanic script a couple of feet high was the following sentence:

"No, strouganoff doesn't make you go blind."

Strouganoff, for the uninitated, is meat served in a slightly funky cream sauce. The rest of the ad was simply "The Black Forest Inn. Guten food."

DIH would like to take a poll: how would you describe that ad?

a) appetizing
b) juvenile
c) moronic
d) a new low in restaurant culture
e) a new low in culture, period

I suppose I could supply more choices, but I think that's enough for starters.

It's impossible not to speculate on the evolution of that billboard.

Idiot A: Hey, I got an idea. Strouganoff. Stro-gan-off. It won't make you go blind! Get it? Get it? Am I a riot, or what?
Idiot B: You're a genius!
Idiot C: I love it!
Idiot D: That's great, guys! Order up the billboard. This is gonna bring 'em in in droves! Strouganoff! Ha! Brilliant!

Do we all live in a cultural wasteland? Or is it just me?


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Des_Moines_Girl said...

Hmmm...I guess I would have to go with juvenile.

While it is "amusing" in it's own sophomoric way, I would not want to have to explain the joke to any children in the car.

I'm also not so sure I would want to remember "the joke" while eating at the restaurant.

If they are trying to bill themselves as a family restaurant, I would say they failed miserably.

Ray from MN said...

Well, I'd vote for "moronic." And suicidal! People who speak even the slightest bit of German would have to be prime prospects for customers.

Anybody who knew the slightest bit of the German language would take great offense at the expression "Guten food" and be highly unlikely to visit a restaurant that put that term in their advertising.

I can see that somebody convinced the owners of the Black Forest that Americans won't eat German food and so they have to make fun of it to get people to go over there.

That person certainly isn't aware that people of German descent are the single biggest ethnic group living in Minnesota, not Scandinavians.

I used to hang out a bit there when I lived nearby. It was quite the place with a pretty educated clientele, many of whom were fairly artistically talented, being that they were quite close to the Institute of Arts and their College of Art and Design.

Maybe it's changed decor (which they shouldn't have) but they had large copies of Chuck Close's self portrait and the famous D.A.R. matron portrait. I think there's a bullet hole in that one.

The food was good and substantial and quite popular. If the American palate has changed, I'm sure there must be successful German restaurants in this country or in Germany that could be imitated and turned into something popular here.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Are they so desperate for patrons on Eat Street that they have become Uptown?

I prefer Gasthof over NE anyway-less snobbery.

Mom Nancy said...

Okay, let's say stupid! While the guy in drag was something I saw on posters getting off the train in Berlin on the way to MASS (wonderful way to keep your mind on Jesus!), it isn't part of German culture I'm sure needs to be emphasize!

Quipper said...

I'd say "stupid". Sounds like they are trying to attract the Clerks 2 audience.

Anonymous said...

Don't be afraid to let them know! A negative phone call from a potential customer will go far when they decide to pay the next months' fee for that billboard. And it'll pack a double-whallop if you tell them you represent the "German-American Family Neighborhood Association" or something. (No need to tell them you just founded it and it only consists of you.) Make sure you speak to the owner. It helps, believe me. At the very least, you'll know that a "good man" did something.