Bistro Boulevard

Casual Restaurant Sim


Bistro Boulevard is a kind of remix of Trevor Chan's Restaurant Empire and Diner Dash. You start with one plain vanilla restaurant in a restaurant row that has seen better days; as you increase in "stars" (Michelin, presumably), you can reopen other restaurants in the row, with different sorts of cuisine.

It's tuned to a casual audience, so pretty easy, but with a continuing grind; while open, all you do is seat guests at tables that fit the party that arrives (no color-coding ala Diner Dash), which is simple if tedious. Between days, you unlock new recipes, train staff, modify decor and table arrangments, hire new staff, and so on. When I say "tuned to a casual audience," I mean things like "to train a chef from a D cook for produce to a C cook, you click and pay $100; it happens instantly."

It's mildly entertaining, and because of the variety of elements involved -- recipes, customer preferences, the decorative game, kitchen equipment and staff -- there's a fair bit of depth from a sim perspective. It's not as deep a game as Restaurant Empire, nor as original a design as Diner Dash, but it does not totally suck.

It mystifies me that it's a 2011 Indiecade finalist, however; there is nary an element here I haven't seen in other games, and while it's not badly done, and the developer is independent, it hardly seems in keeping with the spirit of the festival.

As a foodie myself, it also, I'm afraid, does not go where I want it to go -- although, to be sure, I find myself thinking this playing virtually every business sim I've encountered. Here's what I'd like to see in a restaurant sim/tycoon game:

  • Your competitor down the street is getting fresher produce than you from the same supplier. How do you get them to give you priority?
  • The food critic from New York calls your offerings "tired." Do you change the menu, hire a publicist, or snub her in public?
  • Health inspectors show up in the middle of the lunch rush.
  • The sous-chef and saucier are screaming at each other and threatening each other with knives in the kitchen; what are you going to do?

In other words, this is a very complex system -- why not delve into the difficult, tasty issues involved in running an actual restaurant?

Pay Anthony Bourdain as a consultant, and do a co-marketing deal with the Food Network.


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I was hoping for a good sim like a simple version of Restaurant Empire.