Do you have realistic price expectations?

I frequently see requests that people are “looking for great seafood or a steak” with the qualifier “I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg.”

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be this guy. I still am to a certain extent. I was born and raised in Grand Rapids and I am pretty sure that they pump frugality into our water supply. At any given time I might have 7 coupon books (key card/entertainment, etc) , some Groupons, val-pak coupons and I usually know which places have discount food night.¬† Now, being frugal does not exclude you from going to nicer places at a discount. San Chez, Leo’s, Reserve and others have all featured BOGO deals in recent months. It isn’t the norm, but you need to keep your eyes open. That said, I am still a big believer that you get what you pay for most of the time.

$8 sizzler at Brann's (a great value)
$8 sizzler at Brann’s (a great value)

If you go to Brann’s and get an $8 steak, you will be buying their classic sizzler. This is a perfectly good steak for the price. It is a great value. In spite of that, I hear the complaints. “People recommended that place for steak and it was just average.” Well, of course it was! You wanted filet mignon, but told people you were only going to pay a sizzler price….so you got sizzler recommendations. Shoot, the average price of a great hamburger in this town is more than $10! If you want a top notch steak, you will have to pay for one. Honey Creek Inn, Vintage and Judson’s are all ready to help you with that, but that steak will cost you $35-$50. That is Market price for a great steak. The same is true of seafood.

$50 prime cut steak at Vintage
$50 prime cut steak at Vintage

If you want great seafood in this town, you will go to Leo’s or Fish Lads, and you will pay a lot for it. In return, you will be eating high-quality fish. If you are expecting to pay buffet prices or hit the AYCE fish and get something besides pollock, you are kidding yourself.

So, just remember, you need to decide what it is that you want. Good value vs. a high quality meal. If you want great steak or seafood, YOU WILL pay an arm and a leg for it, because that is the price of quality.

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