There should be a course at cooking schools called the Psychology of Restaurants. What makes us go into one restaurant and avoid another?
For instance, my personal biases make me resist places that look corporate and slickly merchandised. So I was a little distrustful of the new Panera-like Wild Carvery on Olive in Burbank. When I saw the words “organic,” “natural” and “fresh” bandied about like an Olympian volleyball, I grew even more suspicious. Then when I saw the pumped-up prices, I was sure I was going to hate this place.
Turns out, I enjoyed my meal immensely and left feeling nourished and rejuvenated. Not unlike the feeling you have after leaving a spa. This makes sense because the owners of Wild Carvery also own the popular rA Organic Spa just down the street. There, the motto is “physical, mental and spiritual renewal.” Through the use of pesticide- and hormone-free foods, ethically raised meats from family-owned ranches and produce grown in dynamic locales like the foothills of the Himalayas, they've brought that same goal of personal vitality to their food preparation.