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To All Of Us


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It didn't feeling right titling this thread "To Our Members" because we're all in this together, and I consider myself (moderator aspect aside) one of the gang here. I always have, and I always will.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has made this website such a joy for me over the years - there are so many people here who have done so much that I can't even begin to start naming names. Membership Directors (the toughest job of all, bar none) hillvalley, mktye, goldenticket, and Pat; our great and gifted Forum Hosts (so many, with so much talent), and (as "trite" as this may sound) to each and every last person who contributes substantive content, all I can say is that - whether you know it or not - you have honored the inspiration for this website, and there's no higher compliment I can pay such a wonderful group of people.

Touchy-feely is normally not my thing, but I'm feeling a little choked up right now - I had a terrible night's sleep last night (1.5 hours, if you really want to know), and tend to get a little gushy-eyed when I'm exhausted to the point of zombification - I'm completely non-productive today, so I'm taking this time to reflect on how much everyone here means to me, regardless of whether or not I've met you personally.

I've said before that if anyone here needed me to come by and scrape them off the side of the beltway at 2 AM because their car broke down, I would do it. I meant it then, and I mean it now. I've been negligent about sending birthday wishes to our members over the past couple of weeks, and I feel guilty about it. I've gotten terribly busy, and I'm fighting for the viability and survival of donrockwell.com (please remember that to date, there has not been one single penny of revenue made from it - the Google ads are an incentive to become a member and post, and I haven't even bothered to write them to release whatever small amount they owe me).

There have been several bad things said about me over the years here, a very small percentage of which is true, and the vast majority of which is false. This has always hurt me personally, and I stopped fighting it years ago - what other choice was there? But I know what is in my heart, and my heart is pure, and always has been.

donrockwell.com is the most important thing in my life outside of my family and friends, and it's not because I'm a "foodie" - I've always detested that term and have never once considered myself to be one - it's because of you, our life blood, and I will never forget that without you, donrockwell.com is nothing.

I'm not quite sure where i'm going with this since I'm pretty much winging it as I type. There will be changes - hopefully, good changes - coming. I'm trying to get the Association of Independent Restaurants off the ground, and I'm trying to get dcdining.com some revenue rather than just street cred (which I'm convinced I have in spades, but try paying your rent with it). I'm hoping to generate some revenue by introducing a "Groupon-like" feature here (does anyone remember the "Membership Cards?" They were a great idea, ahead of their time, but clumsily executed because I didn't have Groupon or anything else to draw on).

My idea is to create a separate "donrockwell.com discount" forum that will have discounts targeted to restaurants; not to consumers. For example: $30 for $60 worth of food, but only on Mondays and Tuesdays before 7 PM. My goal here is to fill empty seats while at the same time giving people a substantial discount - it's a win-win-win situation for restaurateurs, diners, and donrockwell.com itself (remember, I'm doing this full-time now). What's in it for diners? Better restaurants, better deals (because of lower operating costs on my end), and who knows, maybe some special attention also (make SURE to mention that you got a discounted meal when writing your review). What's in it for restaurateurs? Total flexibility in terms of when, what, and how many. Plus the benefits of internet buzz being written up by happy diners. As long as everything is out in the open, I just don't see how this can be a bad thing for anyone, and it can keep this website going and help keep my landlord happy.

The actual implementation will necessarily be technologically crude, but not intractably so - I really think we can pull this off. There won't be a ton of revenue, because Mr. Businessman (that would be me) is considering opening it up only to participating members which really, really limits the subset of potential customers. Yes, I'm going to die penniless in a nursing home, sigh.



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Dearest Don,

By coincidence, I was thinking about birthday greetings this morning, remembering how kind you were to send one to me, remembering how remiss I have been not to send one to others.

Your efforts are always extraordinary and always much appreciated. You have created a reliable source. I have never remarked upon the fact that this site is always reliable, which is more than can be said for Yelp, Urbanspoon, Chowhound, and all the rest. This one is by far the best.

To do so is something to be proud of.

If you can develop a business model that makes money for you, I will gladly participate.

Warmest and kindest regards,


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I think this is a fantastic idea, and think turning what you love to do into a business is brave and noteworthy, and like Ilaine, I can't wait to support it.

If you do end up in a nursing home, at least we can use the community room for DR.com events, and your visitors will be the best cooks in the area! So you should still eat well :)

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Don -- your new plan coupon plan sounds like a winner to me.

Sorry that you're struggling with sleepless nights and career worries. That's a real bummer and I'm sending hopes & prayers that they are both cured very very soon.

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You have created a reliable source. I have never remarked upon the fact that this site is always reliable, which is more than can be said for Yelp, Urbanspoon, Chowhound, and all the rest. This one is by far the best.

Dear Don, I would like to echo Ilaine's observation. All my friends come to me for advice on restaurants, because they think I'm so knowledgeable. Of course I tell them where the information comes from but they seem to prefer to let me be the "expert." How great it is to have this unfailing source of information, spiced with good humor and intelligence and a sense of community. We will happily support whatever you come up with! Thank you.

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Good luck,

I’m extremely partial to fixed priced complete meals with a reasonable amount of drinks and tax/tip priced. I like the idea of knowing what you will pay before you arrive and leaving the food/drink mix to the chefs – and I have no problem eating early…

Please consider working out some off hours deals, say similar to pre-theater menus that may be more complete (and a bit more pricy) or every simple yet economical offerings – i.e. the Dino $10/burger and beer offer this week (but price it as $13 with tax and tip included).

Also I think it would be good for restaurants to have a this week only sale outlet – they might sell 1,000 coupons on GroupOn but that doesn’t mean that they will be full this week – but I assume that they will be full to the gills right as the coupon is about to expire.

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