My family has been in the restaurant business my entire life, whether its been on the shell-covered coast or in the onion-filled valley, its become a part of who I am. My mother, a single parent, worked hard as a waitress while trying to fulfill her college degree, and support our family at the same time. She gave up her free time to work weekends to ensure that we always had presents to open on Christmas and our birthdays. When I see our local restaurants close, I can not help but imagine the disappointed child of a unemployed-sobbing-single mother waking up to lonely Christmas tree. Because my mother never had to go through that experience I am indebted to the industry.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself looking through the Walla Walla Union Bulletin and watching restaurants close one after another, the Destination Grill, Elmer’s, 26 Bricks, Caravaggio’s, and the Depot; each falling victim to the mistakes of our country’s financial leaders. Being the son of restaurant owners in the community I’m supposed to be happy for the competition failures; however, I find myself troubled over these losses to our community. Each of those restaurants have employees’ families, just like mine, depending on their success just put food on the table and clothes on their backs. Even though the unemployment rate is on the rise, I never really took into account how it affected our country until it was in my community. These are my neighbors, my co-workers, and my friends that are suffering. As I stand idle in my comfortable home, they scavenge for every penny to make tonight’s dinner a possibility. It’s about time for the neighborhood to resuscitate its local restaurants.
They say some people live to eat and others eat to live, either way it is always nice to abandon our own kitchen for a night and break bread in someone else’s dining room. The act of dining out enables us to demonstrate our gratitude toward the restaurant industry for providing a place for communal exchanges. Although it may seem strange, eating dishes prepared by others shows that we respect, accept, and want to be affiliated with them. Inside the restaurant there is no social hierarchy to divide us; we walk through the doors as equals, all in search of a delectable experience. Restaurants act as an oasis by drawing us together whether we are rich, poor, black, or white. They reminds us that in this life we are one grand community and we must share, help, and work with one another if we are to overcome this financial crisis that has plague our nation.
As able members of our community, its our duty to ensure the survival of this age old experience. If our local restaurants continue locking their doors for good the consumers will not be the only ones who will suffer; the families of the unemployed dishwashers, servers, cooks, bartenders, hosts, busers, janitors, managers, and owners will be devastated; also the food suppliers, local wineries, farmers, plumbers, accountants, and other businesses in town will feel the repercussions; in extension, suppliers of plates, silverware, napkins, office goods, and cleaning materials will also experience the far reaching negative affects. Even though many businesses are boarding up their doors due to the economic climate, we as a community can help keep these luncheonettes alive and cooking.
I believe we all have an obligation to our community to try and help those in need. With our support families like mine will stand a chance at surviving this economic crisis. The survival of the restaurant industry benefits our community in many ways such as helping keep people employed, and maintaining a sense of togetherness. Now more than ever we need give back to the businesses who have given us the romantic dinners for two, surprise birthday parties, and some much needed family time. As an united front we can help cushion the blows of recession that have pounded upon our local restaurants. We need these restaurants as much as they need us, so lets commence the healing by heading out to our favorite steakhouse or pizza joint.