Sunday, April 27, 2008

Eating The Illadelph: Ralph’s Café Now Open On The 42nd and 43rd Floors Of The Comcast Center

ralph's cafe in the comcast center philadelphiaOpen. But not to you.

Ralph’s Café, the Comcast Center’s 400-seat, employee cafeteria, is now open for business. Partially modeled on the amazing Google Cafeteria, Ralph’s Café boasts one hell of a view.

The only way for you to enjoy it, however, is as a guest of a Comcast Employee.
[CEO Brian] Roberts' greatest excitement was reserved for Ralph's Cafe. For many, the word cafeteria conjures images of warmed-over pizza, stale french fries, and soup of the day simmering for hours in an institutional setting. Ralph's Cafe is more like subsidized fine dining.

Lunch choices range from macaroni salad and sandwich wraps to crispy-crust pizza with goat cheese. A sushi chef starts tomorrow on the second floor of Ralph's, which one employee compared to the city's glitzy Stephen Starr restaurants - except that this one is for only Comcast employees and their guests.
Really. Comparable to Starr, you say?? Who’s the executive chef, we wonder.
Partially inspired by Google Inc.'s cafeteria, along with one at the New York law firm where he has negotiated cable deals over long hours, the cafeteria is the most important space in the building, its heart and soul, Roberts said. It will bring employees from different floors and division together, he said.

brian roberts and ralph roberts in ralph's cafe in the comcast center philadelphiaHe named it after his father, Ralph, 88, the company cofounder and a board member. Ralph is a dapper and formal man, his son said. "He didn't really think this was the most gracious gesture. I had to say, 'Trust me, Dad.' "

In an e-mail Friday, Ralph Roberts said he thought his son had made a good choice. "I wasn't sure I wanted my name on the cafe," he wrote, "but now I am thrilled."
Heartwarming, we’re sure.

Philly.com has a decent video preview accompanying the article. Check it.

The place looks like it's definitely worth seeking out an invite from a friend working at Comcast, if only to have a chance to check out Philadelphia's best new pseudo observation deck.

Also, confidential to Philly.com — not to be nasty, but it has to be said: the functionality/display of the image "galleries" that accompany your articles online is, well, embarrassingly terrible. We basically have to squint to see what the pictures are, they're so small. Photography — or “art” as your print folk call it — makes content appealing. Your photographers are good. Stop hiding their work.

Want to see a slideshow? There. That’s a slideshow. (And so are these.) What you call “a gallery” is flat out absurd — it looks like a half-ass assortment of thumbnails.

The difference between a Philly.com gallery and NYT slideshow is remarkable. (Yes, this is an improvement, but loading time is an issue and even so, the format is used way too sparingly.)

A rule of thumb: when in doubt, emulate the website of the New York Times. They are light years ahead of you regarding all things a newspaper website can be. Light years.

(Seriously, this gallery thing is just one of many critical flaws that still blanket Philly.com, even after the trumpeted site redesign of last fall that was supposed to drastically improve Philly.com. But more on that later…)

Related:
Taking A Walk In The Clouds [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Taking A Walk In The Clouds Gallery [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]

1 comment:

Brendon said...

I just read an interesting article about elevators (no, seriously) and one of the world's most preeminent elevator engineers said that company cafeterias on high-up floors were terrible for elevator efficiency.