We are in the midst of an urban evolution here in North Carolina’s capitol. There have been several tweets and sound bites about places closing in downtown. Sure, I’m sad to see a few of them go, but I’m excited to see what’s coming. In Raleigh’s case, change means growth and growth requires change. Will 2016 finally be the year that a grocery store comes to downtown? Will it mark the Fall of the Bottle Shop Empire? I love a good craft brew as much as the next guy, but for the love of Joel Lane, please no more new bars, Raleigh!
Here’s what I propose as replacements to these newly vacant locales. Though I am almost certain that these places are all already spoken for, a girl can dream.
Old: Tyler’s Taproom
New: Trader Joe’s. Need I say more? Seaboard Station is prime for downtown’s first grocery store.
New: A movie theater. Actually, put a movie theater back in the building that actually was a movie theater and bring Porter’s back to this location! Alas, there are existing plans for a new restaurant to take over the former book store that was previously known as Varsity Theater.
New: Pret a Manger. A Pret opening in downtown would signify that Raleigh has truly made it. It says, we’re world-class and we can serve pre-packaged yet magically fresh sandwiches.
Old: The Oxford
New: Dean & Deluca. A multi-purpose grocer or market that sells coffee, deli items, and wares. A locally-minded spin-off of that idea would be a scaled down version of Charlotte’s Atherton Market or Union Market in Washington, DC.
Old: Troy Mezze
New: A tea room. I recently had afternoon tea at The Umstead in Cary and oh. em. gee. It was absolutely divine and it is now a necessity to have tea every weekend with my lady friends. Call me a lush. It’s ok. I can take it. Bonus points if the tea room is kid-friendly and caters to little ladies (and gentlemen).
New: Reboot of Joe’s Place but with Laser Tag. The Warehouse District is hip and artsy and a 90s throwback like Joe’s Place would be welcome there. And let’s be real, laser tag is crucial for any city approaching the half-million population mark.
Old: Jillian’s (no one is talking about this spot?!)
New: Raleigh Beach. Let’s make Matt Tomasulo’s fantasy a reality.
Old: Capital Ice Market & Grill
New: Capital Ice Market & Grill. Must we gentrify EVERYTHING?!