Deciding on lunch is getting tough

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 11, 2005

We’re going to get fat. I finally made it to Art’s Kitchen on Friday, intentionally skipping breakfast at home that morning so I could give the place a try.

I walked over about mid-morning and ordered a veggie omelet, which came with a generous helping of fried potatoes and a biscuit the size of my hand.

It was wonderful.

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I’m the kind of person who never, never leaves food on a plate, more out of gluttony, I think, than guilt over starving Ethiopians. Nonetheless, about two-thirds of the way through my brunch I put my fork down. I knew if I finished it I would return to the office and be completely useless for the rest of the day, that’s providing I could stay awake.

I’m sure I’ll be at Art’s often, but there are so many other restaurants coming soon. The Baron’s boys will have an Italian restaurant open during the summer on East Washington; the Gellases of Pisces are opening a place soon in the former Crystal Restaurant; and I’m sure there are others that I can’t think of at the moment.

Deme Panagopolous, who is looking for a swank restaurateur to occupy his remodeled Luke House, called me Friday morning. He had a question about the Chuckatuck meeting Councilman Joe Barlow was hosting that night about the beleaguered King’s Highway Bridge.

&uot;Why are you interested, Deme?&uot; I asked. &uot;You planning on buying it and turning it into a restaurant?&uot;

He laughed, and then said he was amazed at the number of restaurants that have been opening and wondering where all the people are going to come from to keep them in business.

It’s a good question. In the past two years, I can think of at least eight that have opened in the downtown area. There are probably more, and that doesn’t even include the Chik-Fil-As, Ruby Tuesdays and other assorted chain-type places. It seems like we went overnight from no place to eat to having too many from which to choose.

In my opinion, the customers are not there. If we haven’t reached it already, we’ll soon be at a point of critical mass as far as eateries are concerned. It’s a tough business to begin with. I don’t know the exact number, but I’ve read that something like 100 percent of them go out of business in the first year.

I hope that doesn’t happen. We’re blessed to have so many people willing to battle the odds, risk their money, and work like dogs to make downtown thrive. I wish them all the luck in the world and I plan to take advantage of them while they are here.

I’m just glad those fitness centers are coming downtown, too, because we’re going to need them.

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Incidentally, there’s still time to come downtown and enjoy the festivities surrounding Civil War Weekend. I believe things get under way today at noon.

I stopped by Saturday morning to shoot a few photos on my way into the office. I was immediately struck by the number of black people enjoying the festivities.

As you may or may not be aware, Mayor Bobby Ralph signed a proclamation Thursday designating April as Confederate History and Heritage Month in Suffolk, which has been a controversial on-again-off-again event here for the past several years. Now it’s on again.

I’ve personally been opposed to the designation for reasons that I’ve elaborated on in years past and don’t have the space to go into here. Most critics contend that its offensive to blacks, which may well be, but apparently there are many in Suffolk who are interested in the Civil War and what we can learn from it.

It was a fun event and I hope you go check it out. And be sure to grab a bite to eat while you’re downtown.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald. He can be reached at 934-9611 or at