Old Glory Gone

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stanpnepa
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2004/02/10 11:23:54 (permalink)

Old Glory Gone

Here's a Roadfood story that just hit me in the gut.

Within the past week, I stopped by a old family favorite, a place that was wildly successful and once arguably the best of its kind in a very competitve arena. It had been a few years since my last takeout.

I arrived on what should be this place's peak night of the week, but I was the only car in the parking lot. The dining room, where I remember many great meals with my family, was barely lit, rundown and empty. The bar area was empty too. This once-bustling gem felt like a ghost town.

My order wasn't ready...so I sat at the bar. After a moment, I realized that I was sitting in a tomb. It felt like the untouched home of an elderly loved one who had passed away (the dust, the smell, the emptiness). The crowds had been getting thinner, and my visits far less frequent over the years. I felt a little responsible for what I was experiencing.

The owner told me that his mom (the cook there) had passed away months ago, that business was very slow ("Well", I said. "It'll pick up later, right? The owner: "No, probably not".). He asked for some business tips. I gave him a little advice (the best I could), but knew in my heart that I was witnessing another passing before my eyes.

I went home (with my story), was hoping against hope that the food would knock me out...that the old recipes were intact, but again, it was just a shadow of what it used to be. Maybe the food was the problem, or maybe it was a combination of things. Either way, the whole experience was draining and had me feeling lousy about it all weekend. Saying goodbye to an old favorite isn't easy.



#1

8 Replies Related Threads

    Sundancer7
    Fire Safety Admin
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    RE: Old Glory Gone 2004/02/10 11:27:34 (permalink)
    Unfortunately it sounds like Mom ran the store.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #2
    stanpnepa
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    RE: Old Glory Gone 2004/02/10 11:32:05 (permalink)
    Yeah, that's partly true...but the decline began years before her passing. This poor guy who has been in the business all of his adult life obviously doesn't understand what made this place successful, but now with mom gone there's no one else to bail him out. Very sad.
    #3
    Route 11
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    RE: Old Glory Gone 2004/02/10 11:58:48 (permalink)
    Sorry about that. Can't stop time and the tides. Maybe something better will take it's place?
    #4
    lamertz
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    RE: Old Glory Gone 2004/02/10 13:02:43 (permalink)
    Sadly,this is becoming a common story. Lots of competion from chains and the fact that many of our favorite roadfood type places are on old highways and hard to find. Where I live,the rents have gone sky high and the moms and pops can't afford it. My only answer is to frequent my favorite places as often as I can and try and direct some traffic over to their way. My sympathy for the loss of your ffavorite place.

    #5
    renfrew
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    RE: Old Glory Gone 2004/02/10 13:37:59 (permalink)
    I used to pass by old places that I frequented and see that they had been replaced with a chain or something else entirely. I used to think about how sad it was that I could not have eaten there one last time.

    Reading your story makes me realize that I am glad I did not have the chance and I could remember them for what they used to be.

    No, saying goodbye to an old favorite is not easy.

    #6
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Old Glory Gone 2004/02/10 13:39:13 (permalink)
    Of course, the difference here is that the owner contributed to his business' own demise (knowingly or not) by letting quality slip.....

    Ultimately, quality (product and/or service, preferably both) is really where the smaller joints can (and should) gain an edge. If they lose that....
    #7
    i95
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    RE: Old Glory Gone 2004/02/10 13:47:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Route 11

    Maybe something better will take it's place?


    Good question, Route 11.*

    Possibly a different thread (i.e. the "Restaurants Taken for Granted" thread at:
    http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2344), but does this EVER happen ?? Does anyone have an example where "something better" has risen from the ashes of a favorite Road Food eatery?

    Sadly, I can't think of one.




    * BTW, Rt. 11, the name of that Rt. 29 BBQ place near New Baltimore is Jammin' Joe's. Drove by it twice in the last two days. FYI.
    #8
    tiki
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    RE: Old Glory Gone 2004/02/10 20:12:58 (permalink)
    This has been happeening in the food business for a long time---a very longtime--like forever.Many places are made really great by the energy of just a few people who put out the effort AND have the TALENT to not only put outn a great meal but create an enviorment that is fun to eat it in! I am very grateful that my Uncle Donald instilled this in 3 of his kids now that he is gone---i was back there this past holiday season and the place was still full of happy well fed folks enjoying themselves.But at the same time--another place in my hometown of Millis Ma, that was once bustling until the older family members either died or retired,was now closed and reopened by another business. Sometimes its "location location,location"---some times its a drop in the quality of the food---sometimes its just the loss of the joy of breaking bread that is lost when someone dies. Its a very hard business you know!Much harder then folks think who have never tried it,with an enormous failure rate. I am just VERY grateful for the those places and folks that do make it!! and i tip good too.Its always sad when we lose one of the good ones.
    #9
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