In Search of Food and the Truth
The sign on the door at Za, the restaurant across from the Aronoff Center on Walnut Street, might say, Closed for remodeling. But the reality seems to be that their doors have closed forever. The same holds true for the Red Squirrel restaurant on Vine Street. I found this out when I went there for lunch this week.
I write a column for CityBeat called Living Out Loud; and in November 2004, I wrote a satire about the restaurant closings downtown (They Closed). Now, more than a year and a half later, the situation hasnt gotten any better.
I got taken to task on my essay in 2004 by Nick Spencer, then a candidate for Cincinnati City Council. On his Web site, he said the essay was silly, deceptive and called it Cincinnati bashing. In the essay, I mourned the loss of Mullanes, a restaurant that was located next to the Shakespeare Festival on Race Street. On his Web site, Spencer told me, Oh Christ, just shut up. Mullanes is closed for expansion. Well, gee, Nick, that expansion sure is taking a long time. Do you think those doors are still going to open?
In fairness, Nicks a good guy and a strong supporter of downtown. Im just having a little fun with him here. The only reason I bring him up at all is that I dont consider myself a Cincinnati basher. Ive lived many years in this city and, as the old saying goes, you always hurt the ones you love hurt, in this case, meaning telling the truth about whats wrong with downtown Cincinnati. Lets talk about that and why not start with the restaurant closings? Why cant downtown Cincinnati keep them open? What are the problems, what are the issues and what can we do to fix them?
Im looking for debate and discussion here. Please dont tell me to just shut up.