Restaurant Review Roulette: Pop’s

A long time ago, Pop’s was a really hip restaurant owned by hipsters, visited by hipsters, and all with a hipster attitude to match. The menu was fairly ordinary semi-upscale Italian, but the food was good. But that was indeed a LONG time ago. A lot has changed over the years. There’s no more attitude. They’ve actually moved locations. And the food is still pretty damn good. Or so I’ve heard, because I have not been to Pop’s since the days that they opened. It’s not that I held a grudge for all these years over the place’s attitude, it’s just that I never made it back to Durham to eat there.

And now Pop’s is about to be reviewed by the Raleigh News & Observer’s restaurant critic, Greg Cox. I think Mr. Cox will like Pop’s. I hope he has a silly title for the review, like, “Pop’s Rocks.” Mikey would like that title, I bet (that’s an obscure joke based on an urban legend that 2 people will get). But I look at the menu of Pop’s, and I scream, “I WANT THAT IN RALEIGH!” And I also know that the owners, John Vandergrift and Chris Stinnett (who also own Rue Cler), really care about their craft. So I do think this place will get lots of shining stars from Cox.

But how many??

It’s not a 5 star place. It will get at least 4 stars, I can confidently proclaim. Will it get that elusive extra half star? That’s the big question, and I could be a chicken shit and give 4 and 4.5 stars the same odds. But I, however, am a fearless prognosticator who dares to take the big chance, to live on the edge, to go without a helmet, to shoot for the stars, and to get rid of the training wheels. I’m going with 4 stars, but only because I think Greg Cox will start to be a bit harder to please.

Am I right? Am I wrong? Does anyone really care?

5 stars — 7 to 1

4.5 stars – 5 to 4

4 stars —  4 to 5

3.5 stars — 3 to 1

3 stars — 6 to 1

2.5 stars — 8 to 1

2 stars — 16 to 1

1.5 stars — 25 to 1

1 star — 60 to 1

What sayeth you?  How many stars will Pop’s receive this Friday???


Edit, November 5, 2010 — Damn, I hate being wrong in one way and right in another.  I hate it when my odds are off, as Greg Cox gave Pop’s 3.5 stars.  I was right when I suspected getting 4 stars would be harder than ever before.  And Tom from Raleigh, you should have bet some money!


7 Responses to Restaurant Review Roulette: Pop’s

  1. steve says:

    “Pop’s Rocks”?

    I get it, and so does Mikey.

    I re-enacted that urban myth a long time ago and it’s on video somewhere.

    I’ll let you know when I find it.

  2. Tom from Raleigh says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say it gets 3.5 stars. I’ve never been there. Greg gave it 4 stars 5 years ago, so I hope he goes in with high expectations.

  3. Rafe says:

    We ate there last winter and really enjoyed it. The focaccia they serve prior to the meal was as good as ever (and it is really, really good), and our pasta dishes were excellent. I really enjoyed their pizza back in the day as well.

  4. Ben says:

    I thought Pop’s warranted 4 stars when I went, but that was a couple of years ago.

    Why would Greg Cox start being harder to please?

  5. Varmint says:

    Not that he’s harder to please, but I suspect it’s going to start getting harder to get 4 stars and above. Just my hunch.

  6. dbird says:

    sorry, I ‘m new to this site but had appreciated what I’d gathered of your sensibility. I think Pop’s is appalling. I don’t know the reviewer you mention.

  7. foodiehall says:

    I was surprised he gave Pop’s 3.5 stars; IMO, it deserves higher than that. We ate there a couple weeks ago (first time in new location) and were pleased with the food, new location, service. Greg Cox had a gripe with the service; we’ve never had a problem with that. Also he said new location is noisier…perhaps this is true in the main room, however, we were in a smaller room which was not as noisy as the original location. Food was as good as ever,IMO.

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