Updated: 12:55 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 | Posted: 5:28 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, 2013

Festival

Bacon madness: restaurants slammed at Bacon Fest

Restaurant owner: “We were taking 10 to 15 orders per minute… It was non-stop.”



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Bacon madness: restaurants slammed at Bacon Fest photo
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Bacon madness: restaurants slammed at Bacon Fest photo
(Staff photo by Yuna Lee)
Bacon madness: restaurants slammed at Bacon Fest photo
(Staff photo by Yuna Lee)

By Amelia Robinson

Staff Writer

The call of bacon was stronger than organizers and restaurant owners at the Miami Valley’s first Bacon Fest expected.

Chris Bhai, the owner of Dayton’s Brixx Ice Company, was still hoarse Monday, a day after slinging grilled peanut Butter, bacon and banana sandwiches, and other bacon-y delights at the festival held at Lincoln Park Civic Commons near Fraze Pavilion.

Social media complaints about the event, its long lines and food shortages have been fast and furious.

“Whoever ran/organized this atrocious piece of garbage should be fired and probably imprisoned. This was probably the most hyped festival around Dayton, it got a lot of press, yet the organizers, clearly with only $$$ in mind, ruined it in every way imaginable,” Facebook user Richard Michael Sorrell wrote on the event’s page.

Sixteen independently-owned restaurants participated in the event sponsored by the Fraze and Miami Valley Restaurant Raiders – a monthly “foodie” group that visits local restaurants.

Bhai said there could have been at least 10 more restaurants with double the amount of food.

“There are some people who were not happy, I know it, I heard it, I felt it,” he said. “We didn’t know what to expect. If we all brought 5,000 tastings (each) and 10,000 people showed up, we all would have lost money.”

Bhai said it became clear early on that he and other restaurant owners underestimated the pull of the festival. His restaurant ran out of its 1,000 servings of food at 6:45 p.m.

“We were taking 10 to 15 orders per minute,” he said. The lines were so long. We were just going so fast. We were hardly able to keep up. It was non-stop. If I had an unlimited amount of food and and an unlimited amount of stamina, I think I could have sold food at that pace the whole time.”

“Bacon Bucks” were sold during the festival throughout the park and used to purchase food items from the vendors. Most menu items were priced between $3 and $6.

Some festival-goers complained that they had unuse their Bacon Bucks because they left due to long lines or their desired vendor ran out of food.

Only a handful of people defended the event.

“What gets me is people see how many people are there and complain about the lines. It is like going to King’s Island on a Saturday in July and complaining about the lines there,” Facebook user Chris Buck wrote. “People are complaining about the Bacon Bucks, well if you go to any other festival that is food tasting, you get tickets for that too. Hell one guy was complaining that it was too hot.”

Amy Zahora, the event organizer and executive director of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association, predicted a busy day before the event. She did not return phones calls or texts seeking comment.

Karen Durham, Fraze Pavilion general manager, also has not returned calls for comment.

The Fraze Pavillion posted the following on its Facebook page:

…Based on the tremendous response at Wing Fest, the footprint for Bacon Fest was expanded and the number of restaurants increased. Bacon Bucks sold for the Restaurant Raiders solely supported those participating restaurants.

With the apparent love of all things bacon and the perfect weather Sunday, record crowds packed the park and exceeded everyone’s expectations.

We appreciate the comments and suggestions for this first time festival and will work with the Miami Valley Restaurant Raiders to eliminate the congestion as we plan Bacon Fest 2014.”

John Forman, the owner of Bullwinkle’s Top Hat Bistro in Miamisburg, said there were issues with the festival’s layout, and he hopes a new location is found.

“I just don’t think Fraze organized it very well,” he said. “Fraze probably isn’t the right venue. Nobody could have anticipated Fraze could have been too small.”

Forman said his was one of the few restaurants to serve food until the end of Bacon Fest at 9 p.m. He ran out of bacon mac and cheese for only about 30 minutes.

Bullwinkle’s sold 5,000 pieces of bacon and 100 pounds of pork alone. Forman said there are many variables to consider when planning the right amount of food to bring, but he took the warning about large crowds seriously.

“I don’t think other vendors knew what to expect,” he said, noting some lines were 2 hours long. “They will be ready next year, you can be sure about that.”

Amber Rose Restaurant owner Joe Castellano called the event a success despite the complaints.

There was a definitely a buzz about it,” he said. “It was a nice event that people supported. A lot of places ran out of food and that was disappointing.”

Castellano said he is sorry Amber Rose was one of the vendors who sold out before the end.

Bacon and cheddar pierogies will be on the restaurant’s menu this week for those who didn’t get a chance to try them at the festival, Castellano said.

He hopes bacon-lovers give the event a second chance if it is repeated next year.

Lessons learned can make it a better event, Castellano said.

“As a vendor we should have been more prepared,” he said. “We will be much more prepared next year.”

Contact this blogger at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth

 
 

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