7th City lounge got a bum rap

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 27, 2005

Editor of the News-Herald:

This letter is in response to the negative bum rap that was brought to my attention against 7th City Restaurant and Sports Lounge. I have visited this fine establishment on several occasions, all of which were unannounced except one. This is the first full-scale sports lounge and restaurant of its kind with wall-to-wall surround-sound televisions that has come to this city that is one-hundred percent African-American ownership, and staff composed of all family members, which are all sisters and brothers totaling nine and one brother-in-law that is chief chef. Quinton C. Barnes was raised and cornbread feed in this city as well as his other sisters and brothers.

I don’t believe that it was by accident that Quinton chose to return to his roots to establish such a venture as this. He could have done this anywhere, but he chose Suffolk, his native home ground and in one of the city’s most blighted areas that was beginning to take the shape of Mid-City or ghost city with the absence of Food Lion, the ABC Store, and the Dollar General Store. However, please be informed that this location for 7th City was not the first sought location. With money in one hand and business plans in the other, my heart broke when I discovered the changes that Mr. Barnes went through, and it’s not over yet.

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The next hurdle of obstacle Quinton C. Barnes faces is the Suffolk City Council for approval of a conditional use permit, which will allow live entertainment, weddings and wedding receptions, comedy open mike night and other forms of entertainment. I understand that Mr. Barnes has dumped some six figures of money into this enterprise to make it first class.

The shooting that took place in the parking lot near the restaurant had nothing to do with 7th City Restaurant and sports lounge, nor was the individual who did the shooting a patron of the business. Besides the restaurant was closed and the only individuals that were in the building at the time were those on the cleaning crew. The building is sound-proof and well-constructed and is sandwiched between two other buildings, two double rows of double glass, and two set of double doors. To be admitted, one must be properly dressed, scanned and have proper identification. Rudeness or rowdy behavior is not permitted. Those who have complained must have ears better than Dr. Spock.

I sincerely hope that when the matter of the conditional use permit comes before City Council that it will be approved. Mr. Bames deserves the same consideration and chance as others who has sought the same with similar enterprises and were granted. I support 7th City Restaurant and Sports Lounge, Quinton C. Barnes, and Family, and fully pray that it will prosper and be a inspiring shining light in the community.

The Elm Community Improvement Association Apostle

I.J.Baker, Jr.