"Face it, for most people ketchup is a culinary crutch. It’s the thing people glob onto otherwise perfectly good food just as much as they do the stuff that’s at the bottom of the culinary echelon." ~Greg Koch
Stone Brewing Co.'s outspoken CEO Greg Koch has taken to the world wide web to announce that starting on Wednesday, February 12, 2014, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in both Escondido and Liberty Station will no longer serve ketchup of any kind. Although Stone had done away with the polarizing red condiment in commercial form upon opening (making their own, healthy version in house), Mr. Koch has detailed in a quite long-winded and convoluted blog post why Stone will refuse to serve even that any longer. So why the discrimination? Because ketchup bashing is cool?!
Hating ketchup is just soo 'in' right now (translation - too cool for school HIPSTER). We know that the local CH Projects restaurants (Craft & Commerce, Neighborhood, Underbelly, etc.), which are very hipster in nature, refuse to serve the scarlet spread (as well as vodka?!?) in any of their establishments. It's definitely part of the whole "the customer is not always right" mindset that has become more mainstream in the modernized restaurant industry. The pervading thought process by such 'hip' spots nowadays is that they want informed diners, not ignorant fast-food junkies. Not serving commercial ketchup makes sense, because that stuff is filled with high fructose corn syrup and who knows what else, but it can be made in-house with good ingredients, like Stone had previously done.
I'm not one that needs ketchup on every burger, omelet or French fry I eat, but I also don't need salt or pepper on my table either. Some people love ketchup, to a fault, certainly, but if we are writing off condiments, why are we so against ketchup of all? Why is mustard superior to ketchup? Especially considering Stone is the company who sold hundreds of jars of mustard, purporting to contain their delicious Pale Ale or Cali-Belgique, only to regretfully reveal that the manufacturers were actually just drinking the kegs of beer Stone had supplied (but making really, really delicious mustard in spite of it all). And don't even get me started on 'aioli', aka garlic and Hellmanns mayo. (Sidenote FYI: Just because you add A-1, Worcestshire, Sriracha, chipotle, etc. to regular ole ketchup, does not make it "artisanal" or "house made". Same goes for mayonnaise and mustard)
Also, maybe your observation of ketchup-abuse reflects upon the food quality served, no? Just a thought, but if diners need to pile on condiments, then maybe it's because the food lacks flavor and moisture. Think about it. A good dish should contain everything on the plate needed for a satisfactory dining experience.
Personally, I don't get the 'controversy' behind ketchup. But I don't understand dubstep or lensless glasses either, so maybe I'm just an old, unhip dweeb. We welcome your thoughts on the subject.