A neighborhood restaurant, known to all, beloved to a few, announces that it will be shutting up shop in the coming months. You don’t personally know many (or any) who identify it as their absolute favorite, but most everyone holds the place in fairly high regard, and will be sad to see it go. At its best, the simple, slow-cooked fare, enjoyed in a lively, sometimes raucous, familial setting, is comfort – good for the soul. On these nights, around the end of the second glass of wine, you lament all the times you’ve not come in, and swear up and down that you’re going to become a regular.
There are other nights, however. On occasion, the signature dishes are more miss than hit, it feels like the wine’s been open a bit too long, and the “atmosphere” is comprised of a half-dozen kids whose sole aim appears to be the further fraying of their respective parents’ already battered nerves. These evenings are in the minority, but, none the less, they are, and they make you wonder – if only for a moment – how this place survived for as long as it has.
As time runs its course and the end of the road becomes clearer on the horizon, however, these memories fade, replaced by appreciation for all those whose efforts fostered a community. You never became the regular that you’d sworn to be, and now you’re casting wistful gazes as you pass by. I mean, it’s always just sorta been there, this local fixture, now carrying an expiration date borne of evolving tastes in the neighborhood, along with the all-too-familiar spike in the lease, which would render the model unsustainable. You just hope that the inevitable gastropub that will take its place can reasonably replicate the quality and charm of its predecessor.
With the obvious exception of the dramedy that will unfold in Southern California around LeBron, the kids and a Cohen Brothers supporting cast, the journey for which we are most eager ‘round these parts – shit, the journey that brought us back here – is the last ride of the Memphis Grizzlies of Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.