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A five-course dinner…from a food truck?

Mangia Mangia, the Italian food truck, usually offers this deal Thursdays at 6.30 at 57 Degrees (1735 Hancock, near Washington Street, 619-234-5757).

It’s kinda civilized. You can eat on the streetside patio (on Hancock Street), or inside. Mangia Mangia charges $20.

Not bad for 5 courses, even though $40 would be a definite stretch for Carla and me. Because you’d add a couple of drinks on top of that.

Still, if it’s truly five courses, I’d try and stretch it. Because these guys sound interesting: they have appetizers like grilled bone marrow over saffron rice, frog legs, Italian lollipop (tempura-fried meatballs on a stick…).

Then heavier dishes like chicken parmigiana, roast turkey in fennel sauce, steak Florentine, short ribs in lasagna, on and on. Spaghetti. And for sure, at the end, tiramisu or cannoli.

I’d walk a mile for a good cannoli.

But not tonight, Josephine. (As Napoleon famously said to his lady, after a hard day at the office in Waterloo.)

I call up 57 Degrees. Turns out Mangia Mangia canceled. They have a catering event to go to. But they will be back next Thursday.

BTW: Since I’m on the line, I have to ask 57 Degrees (the lady doesn’t want me to use her name) about how Yelpers have been giving 57 Degrees a hard rap recently (about service, mostly). Like one star reviews.

“That was over the Groupon deal,” she says. “We had 3,000 people buy into that. And 450 people came on the last day -in two hours. We’re a wine bar, not a full restaurant. We have great staff, but it was too much to manage. We won’t be doing Groupon again.”

They’re not the only hell-week story I’ve heard of from eateries that have gambled on Groupon.

She does say that they “had to clean house” staff-wise after that, though.

So Mangia Mangia?

Hold the frog legs till next Thursday.

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ConceptBranding Jan. 12, 2012 @ 5 p.m.

Yes, lots of bad social media...and it's odd that after several attempts to sit down and chat about ways to help with marketing overall, we never even got a return phone call.

Operators need to realize that they need a real marketing strategy BEFORE opening restaurants. Relying on daily deals and sitting there with an empty restaurant won't make things better.

Whether it's us or others in restaurant operations and marketing, don't be afraid to reach out...before it REALLY goes downhill.

Lots of potential there at 57 Degrees...we hope!

Tom Kelley Concept Branding Group San Diego


cfanguy Jan. 12, 2012 @ 9:37 p.m.

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your public comment. One of the issues with the company you represent is that nobody took the time or effort to do the research to find out who Fifty Seven Degrees is. We are not a restaurant like you mentioned above. We are a small wine bar that serves small bites. We appreciate your efforts to sell us on your company's product. We do remember you visiting us once and sending an email to follow up, but are not aware of the numerous times you reached out to us. Regardless, at this time, we are considering a handful of PR Firms to manage our marketing needs for 2012. Unfortunately, from this point forward, you and your company will no longer be considered as a candidate to fullfil our needs. We didn't want to use this media, but you made it obvious that this is the forum you choose to communicate through.

Best of luck to you and your company in 2012.

Best regards,

Fifty Seven Degrees


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