Another Raleigh site, once again, is reporting rumors of additional downtown business demises in the wake of the Riviera’s recent closing. At the Independent Weekly’s blog, the floor manager and chef of one of downtown’s best restaurants flatly deny the rumors.
Why sites feel the need to publicize the possible demise of specific downtown’s pillars is beyond me. Recent reports of a popular downtown retailer having empty shelves is only going to invite potential customers through big-box competitors’ doorways. Regarding restaurants, the natural reaction to rumored woes is to avoid the place. Nobody likes being in a dead restaurant serving possibly not-so-fresh food. The result of these errant stories is to fulfill their own prophecy. Is that what other sites really want? If so, the “nonoraleigh.com” domain is available.
Wasn’t the $221 million convention center supposed to fix all of downtown’s woes? Weren’t the $9 million Fayetteville Street project and the $60 million Marriott supposed to make downtown the best area in Raleigh? I’m being facetious, of course (I really like downtown’s improvements), however to blame “the economy” is an exercise for the lazy. As of this post, two expensive restaurants (and soon-to-be- third) have recently opened at Crabtree, and people are still waiting for tables at the Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s.
Where is the talk about closings of Ruth’s Chris, Coquette, Vivace, Rey’s, An, Bonefish, Firebird’s, Outback Steakhouse, Shabashabu, The Melting Pot, Twisted Fork, Portabellos, Cafe Tiramisu, Bloomsbury Bistro, Porter’s, Frazier’s, Glenwood Grill, Evoo, Taverna Agora, and Michael Dean’s? Surely these, which are all on the price level of the rumored downtown restaurants, are feeling a crunch. Some of them may not even make it through this market slump. However, doesn’t it stand to reason that their failure rate should be the same as downtown’s if “the economy” is the source of the problem? If the failure rate is indeed higher in downtown than in other parts of Raleigh, then perhaps the lack of a billion dollars of downtown investment (much of it being forced public money) is not what was holding downtown back after all.
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