Darla, below is the text of the article you wanted: tallahassee.com July 14, 2009 Restaurants go -- and come Economy isn't completely to blame By Doug Blackburn DEMOCRAT Senior WRITER If you want a snapshot of how the ongoing economic recession is playing out in Tallahassee, take a look at the restaurant world. During the first six months of 2009 four local landmarks - Nino's, the Silver Slipper, Anthony's Italian Restaurant and Carlos' Cuban Cafe - closed their doors. They represent more than 128 combined years of dining memories and so much more. "It's just a confirmation of how tough these economic times are. I do think that clearly it's a tragedy," said Carol Dover, president of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. "These are great places that we've all enjoyed, but on top of that hundreds of people are now unemployed." While it's only natural to point a finger at the economy as the reason for the demise of all four restaurants, a closer examination reveals that the recession may be a bit too simple an explanation for why each is no longer in business. In addition, new restaurants continue to spring to life. Sometime in the next week or two, Tallahassee native Blake Geoghagan expects to open Tallahassee's first Five Guys Burgers and Fries, a red-hot national chain favored by President Obama, with plans for at least two more to follow in the next year. And the lights weren't dim for too long at the longtime home to Nino's. Carl Bengston recently renovated the restaurant and opened the steakhouse Carl's On The Parkway. What is it about the restaurant business that convinces entrepreneurs they can succeed in a tough environment, that no current is too tough to swim against? "There's a lot more to it than just the economy. It's not all gloom and doom," said Mark Bonn, director of the graduate programs at Florida State's Dedman School of Hospitality. "A lot has to do with the sort of shape was the business in before the economy hit the skids." Bill Kalfas, owner of the Silver Slipper, and Anthony's owner Dick Anthony both cited the 2005 "gift ban" - the law prohibiting Florida legislators from accepting free meals from lobbyists - as a major factor behind their restaurants' downfall. Anthony, meanwhile, is hoping to reopen with a different menu and in a new location - not the Betton Place plaza where he served high-end Italian dishes for a quarter-century. "I might have gotten a bit stale," he said. "I kind of blame myself. The recession has something to do with it, but I don't want to just peg it on that." There's no question these are tough times from coast to coast and that Florida has been hit worse than many states during the economic downturn. David Gwynn, owner of Cypress Restaurant next door to Carlos' Cuban on East Tennessee Street, estimated that business is down 25 percent from two years ago. "It scares the hell out of you," he said. "I grew up with the Silver Slipper. Carlos has been here longer than I have been in business. "Everybody has this thought that if you make it past your third year you're good as gold, and you're not. This teaches you you have to stay up to date; you have to infuse your menu with new things and keep it fresh." This summer, Gwynn introduced a new bar menu, thinking that lower-priced items such as duck empanadas and grilled fish tacos will attract new customers. It's proven a success, he said, as summer traffic is holding its own. Marie Livingston is another longtime Tallahassee restaurateur who's busy re-tooling her operation in wake of the current economic climate. She hopes to open a new Marie Livingston's Steak House in the former Durango's on Apalachee Parkway while letting her lease expire at her current restaurant off North Monroe Street. "With the economy, a 10,000-square-foot building doesn't exactly fit. The utility bills are too much," she said. "That's not the right size for a restaurant today. "We've seen somewhat of a decline in business, but not anything where you can't stay in business. We just try to manage better," Livingston added. Bonn, at FSU, believes the biggest competitors restaurants have today are grocery stores, which continue to expand their ready-to-eat offerings. "People are opting to cook at home right now," Bonn said. "Going out to dinner is like many other things, like belonging to a country club. It addresses the utilization of your discretionary income. Right now people are downsizing." Five Guys, headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, appears impervious to the economy. Offering simple, inexpensive food prepared from scratch, the company is opening three to four new restaurants every week. In addition to the site next door to the Red Elephant at Capitol Plaza, Geoghagan has signed the paperwork for a second restaurant at the corner of Blair Stone Road and Park Avenue. He opened his first Five Guys last year in Panama City. "People are always going to have disposable income they are going to earmark for food," Geoghagan said. "I think our concept is absolutely fantastic. Burgers and fries tend to comfort people at any time." ------------------------------ Chip Orange Database Administrator Florida Public Service Commission Chip.Orange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (850) 413-6314 (Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Florida Public Service Commission.) > -----Original Message----- > From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx > [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Darla J. Rogers > Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 4:56 PM > To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx > Subject: [tabi] 4 Resturants to Close in Tallahassee > > I still haven't figured out the Democrat's website, but > several people I > encountered today said 4 restaurants are closing, including > Anthony's. Any > light someone could shed on this? I'd sure hate to go out to > dinner at a > nonexistent restaurant. > > Darla & Seeing Eye Dog Roxy > > > Darla J. Rogers, B.A., M.S. > > Skype ID." wildflower0628 > "Today, I will search for my own truth and will allow others to do the > same. I will place value on my vision, as well as on the vision of > others. We are each on the journey, making our own discoveries--the > ones that are right for us today." > Check out the TABI resource web page at > http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI > > to unsubscribe send a message, containing a subject line of > the word unsubscribe, to tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx > > > > if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the > freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the > address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word > "unsubscribe" in the subject. > Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI to unsubscribe send a message, containing a subject line of the word unsubscribe, to tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.