Review: Galo's Italian Grill

Galo's Italian Grill in Richmond IndianaI don't usually go to restaurants the first day they're open. The last time I tried to do that it was based on bad information and the place was still preparing to open. The time before that we walked in and seated ourselves, only to realize that the *next* day was the official public open, and that we had just joined in a private friends and family only dining experience. Oops.

But, third time's a charm. Tonight's dining experience at Galo's Italian Grill here in Richmond was worth the potential for injury or embarrassment, and neither occurred. In fact, from start to finish, it was a pleasure all around.
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What constitutes good local news coverage?

Jason Truitt, Online Editor of the Palladium-Item newspaper here in Richmond, recently asked what readers are looking for when they ask for more "local news." My response:

For me, a good local news story is one that reflects the things that are happening and the experiences people are having in and around our city and county. For it truly to reflect a local point of view, the story should include the perspectives, thoughts and emotions of local people, and preferably be written by someone who has a local context for (even, dare I say, a personal investment in) why those things might matter.
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Local coffee shop Charlie's closes its doors

As they are seemingly wont to do, another locally owned coffee shop, Charlie's Coffee Bar and Gallery, has closed its doors. Sigh.

This is not an isolated incident. This is not a bump in the road on the way to a better Richmond. These things must not go unconsidered in the context of larger trends. This is about more than coffee shops, and an adequate response requires more than our sympathy and wistfulness.

Local coffee shop Sacred Grounds closing next week

070307_123636If you follow the news over at The Richmond Coffee Shop Times, you have probably heard by now that Sacred Grounds is closing at the end of next week. The Summersault staff had a last (or perhaps-second-to-last) hurrah lunch there today, and as the cashier was ringing up the bill I asked what they'd have to tack on to the total to keep the place open: only $20,000. Our credit card's credit limit wouldn't accomodate that, but if any of you have the means, it could be a great way to earn some travel rewards.

The story that's tempting to tell is that the introduction of a Starbucks into the market had a deleterious effect on sales at Sacred Grounds, and that the enterprising owners of the local shop just couldn't keep up with the big nasty national chain. It seems the reality might be more complicated than that, but that doesn't make it any less sad to see a space that promoted good food, live music, long conversations and local culture closing its doors.

And so we take note, keeping score in the comings and goings of these community spaces in our town, always working to make sure that there are more coming than going.