Have you ever seen Restaurant Impossible? Where Chef Robert Irvine comes in, tells the restaurant everything they're doing wrong, makes everything perfect and the restaurant becomes profitable again? Well, Eli Feldman is like Chef Irvine, minus the ambushing of restaurants and yelling.
I sat down with Feldman to find out how he made a name for himself in the restaurant industry. Feldman's love of restaurants started when he was just a kid, as his dad was a server. Young Feldman held every job under the sun in the restaurant business.
After graduating from Boston University's hospitality administration school, he worked at the acclaimed No. 9 Park. He eventually worked his way to being manager and somewhat accidentally stumbled into consulting later on. Feldman has likely helped open and redesign many of your favorite restaurants in the Boston area (in a nicer way than Chef Irvine, obviously).
When it comes to the question of how to eat good food as a college student, the most qualified person to answer would logically be someone who professionally consults on food-price ratios.
Feldman's bomb a** tips to eat good food when you have no money will leave your stomach full and your wallet won't be empty.
You don't have to eat at a fancy restaurant to get good food.
Feldman pointed out that most high-end, well known restaurants also own smaller, more accessible places that are just as phenomenal. With just a little research you can find find their sister restaurants for major savings.
Determine value costs.
It's not pleasant when you have a mediocre dinner for more money than it's worth. That extra money you spent on a cheese plate could've been used to buy laundry detergent. Feldman says that if you're going out to eat, there are many places that you'll only need to spend $2-$5 more and you get significantly better food.
If you're trying to ball on a budget, determine beforehand which pricier restaurants actually serve the best food. Hunt down tagged photos on Instagram, read reviews or ask friends.
Apps > entrées.
Entrées are good, but you can only get one at an expensive place. Instead, split a few appetizers with your friends. You'll get a delicious meal with lots of variety for less money.
Get a job in a restaurant.
Your employer will feed you good food for either a discounted rate or for free.
We got dip spread and fried cauliflower, an order of falafel, two drinks, and two house-baked cookies, totaling $32. At first glance you could say that's a little pricy for lunch. However, I beg to differ. They gave us a lot of food and it was all incredibly delicious. For $16 per person I would much rather spend my money there than $15 for a mediocre salad, drink and cookie from a chain restaurant (cough cough... Panera).
Way too often college students consider a Poptart and Sunny D a complete meal because they have no time and they have no money. So, here's to hoping that when you get some time, you can also get some good, non-processed (cheap) food with Feldman's tips.