If you’re been looking for a fresh pick for your next breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s a new kid on the block in Pier Park in West Panama City Beach. Shoney’s in Pier Park opened yesterday with their grand opening to take place next week. Today I had the opportunity to have a sit-down with one of their market leaders for lunch after a conversation with their CEO this morning.
Lunch was delicious, and their cordiality has been second to none. If they run their business half as well as they’ve treated me, they’ll be very successful indeed.
Ya know, I have to admit, with what little I knew about Shoney’s, I wasn’t particularly excited about one coming here. It’s not that I was unexcited, there just wasn’t any emotion at all.
But, since this is PCBDaily, and there’s an obligation to report on (if nothing else) something new, I figured I owed it to you; and them. My request for more information was interestingly responded to.
I was first called by the new Marketing Director of Pier Park, who told me someone from Shoney’s would be calling me. The next day I received a call from the Shoney’s Director of Marketing who said he was going to set up a call for me with the CEO. Reassuring him that a conversation with the CEO wasn’t necessary, it was insisted upon.
This morning I was connected with David Davoudpour, the CEO, who was just a flat-out nice guy. We had a great conversation for a few minutes and parted ways.
I texted the DOM for Shoney’s asking him if I could stop by for lunch and was treated to lunch by another senior staff member who spent more time with me than I do with any of my minions.
This morning, the CEO told me that they spend time and energy in community involvement, and I continued to feel that resounded over and over. Over the years, I’ve been treated to lunch, I’ve been given favors in hopes of a favorable word and the like, but they just made me feel good.
And I can tell you, they left a lifetime impression on me. And I’ll have no hesitation seeking them out when we travel or when we’re going out here locally.
This Shoney’s is different.
Naturally, when you see a larger brand enter into a market for the first time in a while, or if they open a new location, you’d expect them to try some things differently. This is no different.
The Shoney’s in Panama City Beach is doing a few things differently, but they’re staying true to the heritage their CEO emphasized to me this morning: that they offer “good value, family American dining.”
Some of the things they’re doing differently here include having a full steakhouse menu, full bar (beer and liquor), completely different ambiance, they have a Hometown Cafe (espresso, latte and mocha), and they have outside patio seating (that seats 60).
And another huge difference, and I mean huge in the literal sense, is that this is the largest Shoney’s they have, ringing in around 7,200 square feet.
The food and the prices.
When asked this morning what he thought Shoney’s was best known for, David Davoudpour told me “value, and fresh, quality food.” Rob, the representative that met me for lunch told me all the ingredients are fresh, nothing comes in frozen, and pointed to my onion rings stating they are all hand battered from fresh cut onions.
I have to admit, when Red Robin came in (right across the street), I was excited to try them, but I was disappointed in their price-point. I have a hard time taking my whole family there for less than $100. Remember, I have 5 kids.
When I was looking at the menu, I was impressed at the low cost of the items. It’s hard going out to eat around here without spending a fortune.
Davoudpour told me this morning that I had to try the burgers. So for lunch, I had an All American Burger, and was asked at the time of order whether I wanted pink or no pink. I chose pink and I was not let down. The burger was moist and tender, the bun was fantastic and the “fix ins” were perfect. The burger was perfectly adorned and it really was absolutely delicious.
As a side I got onion rings, and they were amazing as well.
My meal, with the water I ordered, would have been $6.99 plus tax. Not a bad lunch.
So, where are they?
Remember that Cantina Mexican restaurant across from Red Robin? They shut down and Shoney’s filled in their spot. They’ve spend the last couple months building and the inside looks great. They’ve filled it out nicely and they have plenty of room for professional groups (hello IdeaCamp) and private parties.
So, Shoney’s in Panama City Beach in Pier Park. Try it. It’s fantastic and totally receives the PCBDaily’s Stamp of Approval.