06 July 2008

Kildare's - or what's wrong with the Main Street dining scene

This post may appear to be premature (and prejudicial to boot!). I am, of course, happy to see a restaurant/bar (but especially a bar) occupy the Shaggy's space. And I have been to Kildare's in West Chester and on 2nd Street in Philly - they're both enjoyable, social places where I've had a good time. It's a relatively small, localish chain, in the mold of BrewHaHa or Peace. Places that I really like, in other words. I am sure that I will enjoy and be a regular at Kildare's.

But that's what's really wrong about Kildare's - it's a known commodity. The council/ABC can look at a track record in food service and feel comfortable that it's primarily a restaurant, not a drinking establishment. No risk for them - their asses are covered.

Ugggh. It's going to look really nice - they're spending a lot of money on interior and exterior design, following the mold of other Kildare's. Not doing anything to create something new in Newark. Delaware - the land of the chains, doing everything possible to crush the unique. Actively discouraging people from doing something new and different through the power of licensure.

Oh - and have you seen the food prices? It's NOT going to be a place to get lunch or dinner at a decent price. Well, all of the design and renovations cost money. And they need to get their money from food, according to the ABC. Though that doesn't mean the drinks will come cheap. Again: I don't blame Kildare's - it's their business model. I blame the mayor/council/ABC for being intolerant of organic growth on Main Street.

To recap: good food, good drinks, should be popular, I look forward to it opening; but it was approved under a highly controlled process for the primary purpose of extracting more money from the Main Street dining crowd, rather than allowing Main Street to evolve on its own to the dynamic space that should be present in a town with 20,000 college students, associated faculty and staff, and a diverse range of nearby high-income industry.

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