On April 23, 2020, The New York Times published a heartrending piece on the closing of Prune restaurant in New York City. Prune chef and owner Gabrielle Hamilton shared a sentiment that hit home to me, as I’m sure it does for many.
“Everybody’s saying that restaurants won’t make it back, that we won’t survive. I imagine this is at least partly true: Not all of us will make it, and not all of us will perish. But I can’t easily discern the determining factors, even though thinking about which restaurants will survive — and why — has become an obsession these past weeks. What delusional mind-set am I in that I just do not feel that this is the end, that I find myself convinced that this is only a pause, if I want it to be? I don’t carry investor debt; my vendors trust me; if my building’s co-op evicted me, they would have a beast of a time getting a new tenant to replace me.”Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune
As a New Orleans lover of food and community, this heartfelt article resonates with me on so many levels, both personally and professionally.
Our restaurants are not just places to eat great food, but where we gather for hours at times to enjoy one another’s company. Many of us are “groupies” to our favorite places and chefs. When we dine, we inevitably sit and talk about our last great food experience while we share more places and dishes to experience in the future.
We treat our food “groups” with friends like some are in book groups, but it tastes better.
Professionally, I have represented a myriad of clients in the restaurant industry for years. Seen them open; thrive; and struggle through desperate times like Katrina and the BP oil spill, only to survive and be even better.
As we now go through this mutual and unprecedented experience of COVID-19, are we surprised that our community is rallying behind these beloved local restaurants we call “home”?
I felt compelled to share this one human story; anecdote; slice of life of one female chef’s struggle and experience, because she is like so many of her colleagues Nation and Worldwide. Trying to do right by herself, her family and the community. It’s remarkable and tough to read.
Support your local restaurants.