By Lisa Manterfield
A couple of years ago, a favorite local restaurant closed its doors, not because business was bad, but because the owner decided to reimagine the concept to make it more family friendly. My sweet little French bistro is no more.
What make this change particularly painful (and ironic) is that this gem, with its Parisian-style sidewalk patio, is where I sat when I wrote the first post for Life Without Baby.
One Friday afternoon, more than six years ago now, I took my laptop, snagged a table in the sun, ordered myself a glass of champagne and a half-dozen oysters and began documenting my life without the children I’d dreamed of. Since then, Kathleen and I have celebrated completing drafts of our books there (see photo) and, one evening, I met with one of my earliest readers of the blog to share a glass of wine and stories of our journeys. So, this place holds a special place in my heart.
Aside from the sentimental loss, the restaurant was also one of the few quiet adult places to eat in that area. Along with one or two other holdouts, it’s surrounded by family pizza joints and family burger bars. And now it’s going to be another family-focused restaurant—an “eatery” instead of a “bistro.”
The owner told the local paper that the new place “will cater to a larger segment of the population” and that he plans to “make it more of a place where everyone feels they belong.”
I found it ironic that this longtime patron, who once felt so at home there that she chose it as the place to write about not have children, would no longer feel she belonged.
It’s been over a year now since the owner first made his announcement, and the restaurant is still standing empty. Perhaps the owner’s assumptions about “everyone” was wrong after all. Still, it gives me little comfort. I still long for the favorite spot where I used to belong.
I know. Places where we belong are so rare.