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The Man Who Killed The Best Burger In America

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This article on Thrillist is going around and I think it's well worth a read.


The author wrote a lengthy series searching for the best burger in the country and ended up naming a tiny neighborhood joint in Portland his favorite. The fallout from that decision doomed the small family run restaurant to a popularity they were entirely unprepared to deal with. It's a sad story that spends a good amount of time questioning a critic's responsibility when it comes to highlighting small restaurants.


For myself, I was unaware of how big a deal "food tourism" has become. I've looked into restaurants well in advance of a trip, and I'm more than happy to put down a reservation somewhere special. What I have a harder time imagining is wasting five hours on vacation to wait for a burger. Also, as the article points out, it's not hard to imagine why a small local place like that might not be the same when faced with hundreds of eager Instagramming tourists after having subsisted primarily from a slow and steady drip of locals for decades.


It's a phenomenon that I do recognize from photography. I've seen a few recent articles of how competitive photographers can be to recreate iconic shots or how thousands of instagrammers descended upon a small sunflower farm like locusts. Is this just the natural result of online media, or is it just the moment that we're in now?

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The obvious answer is to raise prices until demand drops, but that runs into the same issues that concerts run into. Suddenly not a single local can afford to eat at your restaurant. The restaurant has "sold out" so they need to keep prices down at original levels and sell tickets to the locals... but then they get resold on scalpers sites.


If only the restaurant could sell shares of their business with every meal sold, then they could raise prices when their restaurant got national attention because the locals would be getting their share which they bought into at a cheap price and is now massively more.

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On 11/16/2018 at 2:44 PM, Bacon said:

Is there a good reason these places don't put limits in place? Or require you to call ahead? And for the sunflower farm, make them pay at the gate or something. 


This is the real answer. You limit yourself to how many burgers you can sell each day and then just either close shop or stop selling burgers. You can make exceptions for regulars or celebrities swinging by, but that's it.

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On 11/16/2018 at 2:44 PM, Bacon said:

 And for the sunflower farm, make them pay at the gate or something. 


In late July, the farm was open to everyone, with the owners charging an entry fee of $7.50 to people who wanted to visit the brightly colored flowers. At first, the crowds were manageable, but by July 28th, everything had changed. After pictures of the farm went viral, an estimated 7,000 cars lined up on the roads leading to the farm. Here’s The Globe:

By noon, the hordes were coming from all directions. People were parking as much as a kilometre away. The crowds started ignoring the overwhelmed farm staff, strolling into the fields without paying. Police told the Bogles that parents were crossing four lanes of traffic with strollers, people were getting in fender benders – one driver had his door ripped off by a passing car. One officer told the family they would be fined.

The Bogles tried their best to ward off the trespassers. “We asked one guy to leave, and he said, ‘Make me’ and wanted to fight,” Brad says.



we tryed.

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