I love living downtown, I always have. With the exception of my year(ish)-long excursion to Seattle, I’ve had my roots planted in the downtown area for near four years. I’ve watched Main Street slowly die and, thankfully, other areas claw there way up. Right now I’ve got a lot of hope for downtown and I feel like now, more than ever, so do a lot of other people. More and more people I talk to are either moving to the neighborhood or planning on doing so in the future. This is a huge change from a couple years ago where it was a struggle to even get my friends to hang out at my house. This is a great first step and is being pioneered by people who see what downtown will be. Not everyone has this kind of foresight though. Most people, and I can’t bame them, need a few more incentives to move on down here. The beautiful architecture, Findlay Market and incredibly rapid development just aren’t going to be enough to move out of Northside and Clifton. I’ve got one easy way to kick-start things. This is something that everyone who lives downtown, old and new residents alike, always complains about. The magic, oh-so-easy solution comes after the jump.
STAY OPEN LATER
That’s right, businesses, just one or two more hours, that’s all we ask. I’ve long felt this was a problem and have never really done anything about this, but now I’m making it a cause. This could feel like a fairly minor problem, but restaurants and certain businesses staying open just the tiniest bit later would would create such a ripple effect in the community that the effects would be invaluable. To give credit where credit is due, I’d like to point you to this post on Just Past Central. He like, myself would like to remind businesses that people really do live down here. Especially these days, downtown doesn’t actually turn into a ghost-town once the nine-to-fivers head back to West Chester.
A few examples to back me up, perhaps. Want to try out that new Korean restaurant downtown sometime between Monday and Thursday? Too bad, it closes at two in the afternoon. Rather buy your groceries at Avril Bleh once you get home from work? Can’t help, they lock up at 5:30. How about a nice weekend brunch at the soon-to-be-opened “It’s Just Crepes” that the earlier-linked post talked about? Nope, sorry, no weekend or evening hours.
Now, I love cooking at home. It’s cheaper and things taste great when you make them yourself. Let’s admit it though, some nights you just want to eat out, let somebody else do all the work. Nothing would make me happier in the coming months than to take a nice fall walk down Liberty Hill to visit a downtown restaurant for meal. As of right now, though, I can’t really do that. Most restaurant and businesses see the office buildings empty out and decide it must be their turn too. As Just Past Central pointed out, the line you always get from businesses is “No one live downtown.” This, my friends, and pardon my french, is total and complete bullshit. I live down here. My neighbors live down here. I certainly see a lot lights on in apartments at night. We all live down here and we are starving.
Now, not everyone is guilty of this. There are a handful of great fine dining restaurants that stay open. Nicola’s, Nada and the Jean Robert restaurants all stay open later for us downtowners. Unfortunately many of us are also kind of young and poor, not able to spend a lot of money on dinner. We also don’t necessarily want to spend money on a greasy so-so sandwich or pizza. What we need is something in the middle. With the exception of the sorely under-appreciated Jean-Ro Bistro (which can be a pretty cheap meal if you do it right) there are very very few good-food-for-good-price restaurants downtown.
So I implore you downtown businesses, stay open just a few hours later. For those of you that close at two, act like Spaniards. Close at two, have a nap, open back up for dinner. I guarantee you, so long as you made it know to us, we would be filling your seats for the dinner service. I’d love to destroy a bowl of Bibim Bab at Sung Korean or having a bowl of french onion at that adorable looking french place on Garfield. Just give us a chance to make your dinner service work. I promise we will do our best to show you it is a good idea. Something like this will only help you as well. If you let us eat dinner at your establishment it will show people that there are plenty of places to eat and do things downtown. As a result, more units will be filled downtown giving you more and more business on weekday nights. Trust me, this is gonna work. I love downtown and having a nice selection of restaurants would make me love it all the more.
What can we downtown citizens do? BE PERSISTENT! Be nice, mind you, but just keep dogging all of our wonderful businesses to stay open just a little bit later. Trust, me I didn’t work for a long time so I had a chance to try all of the places that are only open for lunch and some of them are truly wonderful. Let’s all keep at it.