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Old 02-22-2012, 03:16 PM
 
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I'm kind of disconcerted that the city Finance Committee has voted to recommend a nearly $700K grant and another $300K in loans to finance the second location of this so-called upscale Hamilton soul food restaurant. Not that I necessarily think the Banks can't eventually support such a place, but the first location apparently isn't doing all that great even in Hamilton. Reviews talk about mediocre food and service that's not really a good value for the relatively high prices. I'd feel more comfortable about this if, say, the city had tapped a business that's already a raging success in downtown Atlanta, for example.

Of course, there's probably no restauranteur in downtown Atlanta with the same inside connections to City Hall. I just have a sinking feeling that this is going to turn out like that basketball player who submitted the single page grant application to renovate the theater in OTR, then disappeared with his $500K handout.

 
Old 02-22-2012, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
4,007 posts, read 4,967,462 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah Perry View Post
I just have a sinking feeling that this is going to turn out like that basketball player who submitted the single page grant application to renovate the theater in OTR, then disappeared with his $500K handout.
Our tax dollars hard at work?
 
Old 02-22-2012, 04:36 PM
 
1,130 posts, read 2,093,530 times
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Careful, SP. You're about to open a can of worms.
 
Old 02-22-2012, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,819,663 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t45209 View Post
Careful, SP. You're about to open a can of worms.
If it is a can of worms then open it up so we all can see.
 
Old 02-22-2012, 05:45 PM
 
10,139 posts, read 23,218,417 times
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"Soul food restaurants" in Cincinnati have been an abject failure. The reason is that those who want soul food in Cincinnati know how to cook it at home. This isn't San Francisco where they know a lot about dim sum and not so much about collard greens. It is not entertainment if you get it at home every other day. So, it will fail or change from being a soul food place to something more main stream. Probably it will fail because if the City spends money on it, it must be a bad idea.
 
Old 02-22-2012, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
4,007 posts, read 4,967,462 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
"Soul food restaurants" in Cincinnati have been an abject failure.
I would eat there, though would never drive to Hamilton to try em out. Keep in mind though I am from the south. I also frequent Stuffed on Vine and have them deliver their Sunday dinner often enough, though haven't had them for a while. Mahogany's may do well at the banks since they will be the only place of their kind around in the immediate vicinity. Guess time will tell.

Still can't why the city gave them money. Loan yes, grant? I dunno.
 
Old 02-22-2012, 08:43 PM
 
865 posts, read 1,230,594 times
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Way too much money. I would be fine with the city giving them a loan at low interest, but definitely not a grant. Hopefully this gets voted down.
 
Old 02-22-2012, 09:52 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,748 posts, read 11,330,175 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CinciFan View Post
Way too much money. I would be fine with the city giving them a loan at low interest, but definitely not a grant. Hopefully this gets voted down.
Amen to that!
I've never gotten to the "renowned" Sylvia's in NYC, but as a rule soul food restaurants anywhere don't last. The reason is the same as it is across all cultures: "I can do better in my own kitchen than they can in theirs, for less money." Mrs Goyguy Sr always gets a laugh out of the food she grew up with in South Carolina being called "soul food" as a term of ownership by AA's: "I'm White as snow, and its my food too!" I've never tasted mac n' cheese better than what she can turn out, ditto for some cakes n' pies, and finding equally good or better ribs or fried chicken is an uncommon feat. As for greens? Nobody can mess up greens. lol
What ever happened to the proprietor of Lena's in Bond Hill? She was the one who had a thriving business that was given much love, on Seymour Ave by what was once Swifton. When the sprawling brick city called Swifton Village and most recently Huntington Meadows was belatedly demolished, she went to the city crying poor-mouth over her declining revenue. Not surprisingly, she was turned down cold for a loan if not laughed out of City Hall. So it's all the more appalling to me that money is now being thrown at another venture, whether or not it's within the same food category.
Maybe I'm being one of those transplanted East Coast snobs. (OK...probably I am. ) But what's to like about The Banks anyways? It's a collection of concrete boxes with cheesy facades, overpriced apartments upstairs and one chain restaurant after another on the ground floor. No doubt it will bring the city more taxes than did the warehouses and rail yards that once occupied real estate in what was long ago called The Bottoms. And I suppose it's a symbolic thumbing of the nose at Newport and its faltering "Levee." Then again it could be another example of Cincinnati catching on to a concept twenty years after the rest of the world. Microbreweries may be a whole new thing, although in most of the country the concept has been done...to...death. AWARDING money to lure in an operation of dubious reputation and debatable success is a telling gesture. People in high places are all too aware of how short the shelf life of a cloned "entertainment complex" can be. To me it smacks of an infusion to treat an ailing patient despite the place's being practically brand new.
 
Old 02-23-2012, 06:14 AM
 
1,130 posts, read 2,093,530 times
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In any case, it's an obscene amount of money to be handing out to any business of this type. This is an inherently risky business model and concept. I give this place 2 years, max. And yet, a financially strapped city finds nearly $700,000 to give away?

And who is doing the due diligence on this? Now it is revealed that the owners of this business are delinquent on their taxes?

What also concerns me is the lack of consistency that is being applied to the types of financial support being offered to lure businesses to the Banks. The city appears to be making some poor financial decisions.

I've said it before...if the Banks was such a good idea, government would not have to subsidize (bribe) businesses to locate there. It's rather ironic to me that land can be so "valuable" that nothing could ever be built there based on free markets and good business decisions.
 
Old 02-23-2012, 07:07 AM
 
1,560 posts, read 1,543,049 times
Reputation: 1637
You've got non-business people in the Mayor's office and City Council making highly speculative, risky, and complex business decision on a sole-proprietor owned restaurant? Very low chance of success.
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