A Netflix Review: Spinning Plates


There are a boatload of food based documentaries on Netflix and for good reason: we all love food. Some of the documentaries heavily promote a brand (Chipotle), influence you to eat (or not eat) a certain type of food, but rarely do we get to see the passion and heartache behind restaurants.

Spinning Plates is centered around three wildly different restaurants, and the owners behind them. The featured restaurants in Spinning Plates are a high-end molecular-gastro restaurant (what the heck?) in Chicago, a community homestyle restaurant in rural Iowa, and a bootstrapping Mexican restaurant in the Southwest. On the surface none of the three restaurants share anything in common, but by the end of the documentary you will have a greater understanding of what links them all together.

While watching this documentary you will feel like you understand each experience the individual restaurants are trying to strive for without actually even eating there. Without a doubt the restaurants themselves are the stars of the documentary, but the owners are the ones who steal the film experience. Without spoiling Spinning Plates, I have never watched a documentary in which a character that is so dislikable throughout the film actually finds a way to earn your respect in the end. It is a lot different than the typical villain experience in the movie, because these are real people with real stories. To truly understand this transformation of one restaurant owner’s character, you have to watch Spinning Plates.

As always I like to make a compelling case using three main reasons why Spinning Plates is worthy of your Netflix selection of the week.

1. Heartfelt Passion

Whether or not you identify with the owners, or the restaurants themselves, you can feel the passion they have for their craft while watching Spinning Plates. Throughout the documentary each restaurant undergoes some hardships (some much greater than others) and seeing how each owner responds is inspiring.

2. Perspective On Your Favorite Restaurants

The next time you walk into a restaurant will be completely different after watching Spinning Plates. Getting an inside perspective on the struggles, daily decisions, and pressures put on a restaurant will make you appreciate your favorite local restaurants even more, or perhaps even be a bit more critical. What a film study class does in turning a movie-fan into an appreciation of film, Spinning Plates will do the same in turning someone who likes to eat into someone who truly appreciates a great restaurant.

3. It May Alter Your Weekend Restaurant Choice

There is something special about Spinning Plates that makes you want to explore your area for a great local spot. All of a sudden you will find yourself thinking twice before going to the usual chain restaurant in hopes of finding a hidden gem, or at least supporting a small restaurant owner who is trying to make it.

Spinning Plates is well worth a Netflix watch this weekend. At times it seems like just a documentary about the struggles of a restaurant owner, but when you least expect it, it becomes a lot more than that. There are unexpected twists in the story (no spoiler) that you almost won’t believe is true. Whether you’re into food or are just looking for a great storytelling Netflix watch, Spinning Plates will not disappoint.