Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Changing Hands

Let’s see now…I’ve got a whole pile of business and restaurant stuff here somewhere…

I’m going to lead off with this one because I just saw it this morning. 

The Dish: You Won’t Believe Which Ellicott City Dive Bar Has Opened a Rooftop Speakeasy, Matti Gelman, Baltimore Banner

This one caught me by surprise because I did not know that Ellicott City harbored any dive bars. I have been to the Judge’s Bench exactly once; should I have instinctively known it was a dive bar? My only previous dive bar experience was the Mount Royal Tavern in Baltimore, so, I’m no expert.

Also, my brain read that as “rooftop” meaning open air and an open-air rooftop speakeasy seems counterintuitive. It’s not open to the air but, really, don’t speakeasy establishments need to be downstairs somewhere? Hidden in a basement, even?

By now you probably know that both TGI Fridays and Red Lobster have closed their Columbia locations. The Fridays in the Lark Brown restaurant park was closed in January along with 35 other underperforming locations. The Red Lobster on Snowden River Parkway was a part of a larger system-wide string of closures which - - a Google search tells me - - impacted:

  • More than a dozen
  • Nearly fifty 
  • At least ninety-nine
This story is ongoing, I guess. Actual numbers may vary. Columbia’s location closed over this past weekend.

In business news, the Clark family is getting out of the hardware business and has sold their two Ace Hardware locations to Westlake Ace Hardware who have 160 stores in 12 states. Both stores, in Ellicott City and Columbia, are slated to remain open. The official changeover will take place on June 24th. To my knowledge, that will leave Kendall’s in Clarksville as our last Mom and Pop hardware establishment.

The owners of Mother Natures, Columbia’s only indie bird store, are retiring.  Their store, in Snowden Center, will become a Wild Birds Unlimited franchise. Mother Natures earned a place at the very top of Columbia’s most beloved Mom and Pop stores. I hope the new owners will earn similar high esteem from the local avian aficionados.

Lastly, a long overdue apology. When I wrote about what I thought was to be the demise of the Inn at Peralynna, I was wildly incorrect. It was not the end. It clearly was sold and became the Columbia Inn at Peralynna. 

The Inn is Out, Village Green/Town² December 22, 2020

The auction announcement suggests suitability for assisted living. I’m imagining any chunk of land in this town that has not heretofore been available is going to stir up a variety of potential uses, but, of course it does matter what it is zoned for, so, we shall see. After reading the Lifestyle piece the idea of spending my golden years immersed in a setting of guilty indulgences seems all too tempting.

It appears to be just as fancy as ever with plenty of add-on “extras” but a pop-up notice on their website says that they are not serving breakfast at this time. Certainly I am not in their target audience as I am far more interested in my morning coffee and some nourishment than in a romantic display of silk rose petals on the bed. (Cost: 40 dollars)

The Columbia Inn at Peralynna looks to be located in Ellicott City. At least, I think it is. The Iron Bridge Wine Company, located not too far away on Route 108, has an Ellicott City address. So why affix “Columbia” to Peralynna Manor? I’m curious.

A question for your Wednesday: do you think we will ever see nostalgic “pop-up restaurant experiences” paying homage to TGI Fridays and Red Lobster? If so, my fantasies of reliving the Howard Johnson’s of my childhood don’t feel so out-of-reach.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.