Free-For-All Friday 6/8/18

Feel free to use this post to ask questions and make comments about local issues not yet discussed here over the past week.

17 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 6/8/18”

  1. Good Morning everyone. What’s going on with you this weekend?
    Sad about the Radial Cafe closing, a Candler Park institution.

    1. They come and they go and some are missed more than others.
      Water Shed for me will always be missed .

      1. According to the statement, someone has already agreed to occupy the space. Crossing my fingers for Viet Chateau!

        1. Oh, man. A lean, mean, rough and ready Viet Chateau, fresh off an extended sabbatical, would be awesome. Plus, I love symmetry in things. Particularly in narratives. C’mon!

      2. I still miss Watershed too. That one was more painful–the owners chose somewhere else over Downtown Decatur which felt a bit like a slight.

        1. I think Watershed was a more complicated situation, since it changed so much before it ultimately moved. I fell in love with the Watershed of Scott Peacock, and it can truly be said that that restaurant under his tenure put Decatur on the culinary map. But I never really felt like they found their groove again after his departure. I think it suffered from a bit of an identity crisis, exacerbated by the concurrent dining scene boom led by Cakes & Ale. No restaurant can stay on top forever, so it’s change, or move, or close. I didn’t take it personally when they left because I’d already moved on (and frankly, Chai Pani has been a revelation in that space). I’ve tried Watershed in its new digs, and it was fine. Very good, even. But it still felt like a place with an identity crisis. And now Emily Saliers has sold it to a chef owner who has taken it in an even more radical direction. I wish him luck. But at this point not sure why he’d even keep the name Watershed. I guess because they still do the fried chicken?

          1. True that Chai Pani has been a wonderful replacement. I could live off of their Corn Bhel and Kale Pakoras alone.

    2. Kinda devastated, TBH. Our favorite restaurant in town. Never had a bad — or even mediocre — meal there. I understand things change, especially in the restaurant biz, but this feels like a pretty sizable loss for both the Decatur and Atlanta dining scene.

      1. Huge loss. Had dinner there tonight to say goodbye and the energy was incredible. The food, as always, was stellar. One of the best and worst meals of my life – we will sorely miss all that Billy and his team have contributed to the Decatur and Atlanta restaurant scene – they changed the face of dining in this city.

        This was one of our neighborhood standbys and their departure leaves a huge vacuum in our community.

        All the best to Billy, Kristen and their family. Thank you for the meals and the memories.

  2. wow – Cakes & Ale is an institution. Sorry to see the loss for the community. It wasn’t on my regular circuit, but I recognize it was a cornerstone of Decatur’s claim as a bona fide culinary destination.

    1. A victim of its own success, I’m afraid. We used to go often in their original location. After the move, that’s when accolades rolled in and so did the out-of-towners. They refused to take walk-ins and weren’t very gracious about it. Never had an issue with other Decatur “destination” restaurants when a last-minute craving strikes.

  3. If you’re looking for a way to give back tomorrow come join the Woodlands Garden Saturday Volunteer Project from 9am to 12pm…More details and sign up here:

  4. So I kinda feel like DM is hitting the skids a little bit. If you look back at the last several weeks we’ll get a post, maybe two, in the course of a week punctuated by a lightly attended Free-For-Friday. It’s certainly possible that in a 24-hour period where I was shocked by the loss of both Anthony Bourdain and Cakes & Ale I’m just feeling a little fatalistic, but should we be concerned that the end is near?

  5. Can someone share how the Decatur smoking ordinances work? The last three times we were at The Marlay, people were smoking on the patio. We thought that wasn’t allowed. I believe you can’t smoke within a certain number of feet (30?) where people are eating so why would it be allowed on the patio? Are there exemptions for bars? Thanks!

  6. Hello Decatur Metro World!
    A few weeks ago, I shared with you my experience with speaking to Renfroe Middle School eighth graders about the Confederate Monument in downtown Decatur. Leaving the school, I thought that was it, knowing the attention span of young people but I was wrong. I recently received a packet of notes and letters from the students that I hope you enjoy.
    Most of the notes were short and to the point with comments like “Thank you for speaking to my class. I didn’t agree with you but you have a unique perspective…” A few thanked me for the Chick-fil-A gift cards I left with the teacher (I found out during my 35 years as a high school teacher that small bribes can produce positive outcomes. FYI- The students didn’t know until after I left that each class received five $10 cards and their teacher was asked to award the cards based on merit: Best Discussion, Best Argument, Best Research, etc). One of the students wrote that he lives on Melrose Avenue (where I was born in 1953) and his mother remembers me as one of her teachers at Decatur High. Another wrote, “I’d like to think my friends and I will be more aware of the Confederate Monument but then again, you never know…” But four stood out.
    The first was a hand-written note in cursive writing (Yes, they still teach cursive in Decatur City Schools but as my wife noted, “Not like the nuns at Saint Thomas More Elementary!”). He wrote, ” Dear Mr. Billingsley, I would like to sincerely thank you for offering your opinion on the Confederate monuments. I would like you to know that I agree with every word you said. I know of the hate you endure for your opinions and you should take it from me that you’re not alone. Sincerely”. I’m not surprised that this kid catches hell for his opinion, and this made me sad but I found it gratifying that the student felt less alone.
    The second was a long, typed letter from a young lady (who also included a hand written note thanking me for the gift card, “They have the best fries and milkshakes!”) She wrote, “… You talked about your personal experiences when you were younger. You included information about how you would play Confederate and Union Soldiers with your friends and attended the celebration of the 100 anniversary of the Battle of Decatur in 1964. I felt that this was a very effective method of explaining your opinion and it helped me understand your viewpoint and similar ones like it. I can see that people felt very differently about these things then than they feel now and this helped me greatly in my investigation of this topic… You also considered that the soldiers who were fighting for the Confederacy were mostly fighting because that’s what they were asked to do. So a monument devoted to them and their families is not a monument devoted to the ideals of the Confederacy, but to the soldiers who lost their lives fighting a war. I had not considered this and having gone to see the monument, I feel that this was important to me to consider. The monument having many funerary symbols furthered my understanding and help me develop my own opinion about its removal and others like it.” She never stated her opinion on removal but I believe she learned something new and this broadened her perspective. This is what a classroom speaker should strive to accomplish.
    Another student wrote, “One point that struck me was your opposition to adding context to monuments. You said that we should not add context because we can’t trust a panel of historians (or the government) to interpret it correctly and that we live in an age where we can learn on our own without relying on adults like teachers. We can simply research on the internet… Before your talk with our class, I did not really know where I stood on my opinion of the removal of Confederate monuments but after hearing you speak, I realize that based on my culture and mindset, I should oppose the removal of the monument. We do not explicitly know the intentions of the monument and we may never know. I think that the monument should rather motivate and inspire African Americans rather than opress or offend them. It is also a teaching tool…”
    The final letter was from a young man. “In this class, I feel as though many, if not most of the opinions of the students, lean very much towards the left on this argument, but I want the monument to stay. Even so, I feel as though people who want it taken down see me as a white supremacist, a KKK extremist or simply a racist. I am none of these. I see the monument as something that everyone else refuses to see, a memorial to Fallen Soldiers. There is no hidden meaning, no reading between lines. There is no need for added context…”
    Over the last few years, I’ve been a pretty strong critic of public education, especially what I consider the progressive indoctrination at Decatur High School but when I can speak to Renfroe Middle School students about a controversial topic, or work with the Decatur High JROTC department on the September 11 Rememberance ceremony, I realize that I’m wrong. The teachers and administrators at Renfroe and Decatur High should be praised for allowing true diversity of opinion and for this, I am grateful. God Bless America.

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