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buffy888 Aug 11, 03 11:14 am

iDine - Only 3 restaurants in my city
Do most people use iDine restaurants when in their home city or when traveling? I currently live in Omaha. We are constantly told through local media that Omaha has more restaurants per capita than any other U.S. city, so I was surprised to find that only 3 area restaurants participate in iDine.

swag Aug 11, 03 11:25 am

You'd be astounded at how many different cities have the most restaurants per capita.

Points Scrounger Aug 11, 03 11:29 am

I do both.

Your situation is unfortunate; however, be glad many restaurants now allow unlimited visits (up to $600/mo.) Here in Seattle the weekend blackout thing is more common than not - tougher to get together with friends and rack up the miles.

[This message has been edited by Points Scrounger (edited 08-11-2003).]

jmartin Aug 11, 03 11:37 am

3 restaurants for a city the size of Omaha is very, very low.

I was looking for one there about a month ago for a trip. Instead, about 12 of us (family reunion) went to the Upstream Brewery in Old Market and I put the entire bill on my Delta SkyMiles Amer. Express and all my relatives just reimbursed me with cash.

Great place, by the way. I believe it's in Omaha's first firehouse. The waiter told us they used to have the stables for the horses (horses carried the wagons full o' water I guess) in part of the dining area. Interesting place, great service, good food. Old Market is a neat part of town.

SuperCat Aug 11, 03 12:23 pm

Well that is 3 more than I have.

We have to drive an hour and a half to Cape Giradeau. MO to get our nearest location and unfortunately it is not worht the miles to eat there as we don't like the food. It would be nice if they could at least have one national chain to make it easier on us.

wahaha1 Aug 11, 03 1:17 pm

I noticed something weird with idine now. There used to have abundant high quality restaurants participating the idine program. Now, all those high quality restaurants gone, idine is adding many cheap sandwich stores (with really ugly decor) to the list. In my area, the choice of restaurant is getting very limited. I am wondering what's happening with idine recently.

paradocs Aug 11, 03 1:26 pm

There are still many great choices in SAT. Some of the restaurants have participated for years. It does bother me when one of my favorites drops off. Then I find I eat at those favorites less often.

I make a point to carry a list with me when out of town. It doesn't always work out that I can eat at out of town Idines due to convenience. I just try to use it as a guide when I am clueless as to good eateries in a strange place.

PointsScrounger: I thought you had it down pat to buy gift certificates ahead of time so that you can earn miles during blackouts.

Points Scrounger Aug 11, 03 3:42 pm

Must be a city-to-city thing as I've found that some quite decent places participate. One place that I have tried recently, and liked, is once-a-month-only (my luck natch). In many areas, there are some very nice places (often cost a bit more, but you get a nicer experience), but they are often the ones with some sort of limitations (including, but not limited to, the dreaded 5 miles/dollar ... grrrrrrrr).

Paradocs: I learned the gift cert thing here @ Flyertalk :-)

MileCompiler Aug 11, 03 4:56 pm

I spoke with idine today concerning another matter then asked why there were so few restaurants in my immediate area. I was told, if I wanted to, I could write a list of the restaurants with phone numbers and contact names(ie, do some of their work) and fax them so their sales agents could call them and try to sell them on the program. The fax number given to me was 305-892-3317.

Happy Travels

Dovster Aug 12, 03 9:17 am

I've found a mixed bag with Idine restaurants, but none that I truly regret having visited.

In Savannah, if you want to eat a fantastic meal in a great setting, go to a place called "1790" -- but expect to pay about $50 per person.

For much, much, less you can head to the Moon River Brewery and have a truly excellent sandwich or filet gumbo.

Then you can eat a meal at little more than McDonald's prices (but much better quality) in a crowded, noisy, unattractive place called "Clary's" -- which was made famous in the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

I've had similar experiences in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando -- a wide range of prices and quality but no restaurants which I considered to be dives. One hint: If they offer 20 miles per dollar, the odds are that they are going to be in the lowest range both in price and quality.

oldpenny16 Aug 12, 03 9:47 am

Dear Mr. Omaha,

Do you have a Denny's? They suddenly popped up in my area.

jmartin Aug 12, 03 11:18 am

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Must be a city-to-city thing as I've found that some quite decent places participate.</font>
Agreed. In Oklahoma, for instace, the dusty capitol city (OKC) has a zillion IDine restaurants.

Meanwhile, the more sophisticated city, which is Oklahoma's cultural and commercial center (Tulsa) has about a third the number.

I bet the differences between cities may come down to just one or two salespeople. OKC's IDine rep is obviously much more aggressive than the one in Tulsa (Or IDine has only one rep based in OKC who has managed to get a handful of Tulsa restaurants as well).

ConservativeDC Aug 12, 03 12:44 pm

If anyone is really anal about iDine in the DC area, email me and I'll send over a list I've compiled of iDines that allow unlimited visits per month. [email protected]

KathyWdrf Aug 12, 03 2:08 pm

When I visited Washington, DC in April, I found a TON of good restaurants participated (at least at that time) in idine.

I ate at six of them and they ranged from good to excellent.

Of course, the roster of idine participants is constantly changing, so I don't know what the current situation is there, just four months after my visit!


dgordon Aug 12, 03 11:38 pm

Dovster - I can't agree with you - it may vary from city to city. Sometimes the price is a little higher but the extra miles, or using diners club where you get 40% off makes up for it. Went to an african restaurant in wrigleville called Bolat that was really good, reasonably priced to begin with and 20 miles per $1. I think it is restaurants that want to bring in more business, and maybe once they do will go back to 10 miles per $1. I certainly want to try those that are doing 20 miles, or 40% is they accept diners club - it's worth a try. I am always very disappointed when favorite restaurants leave the program. Belonging to the program is not always seen as a good deal for restaurants and that is why they leave.


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