Friday, January 31, 2014

Lakefront Linchpin

"We need a breakfast, lunch, and dinner place that can draw from outside of a 5 mile radius."

When Columbia's biography is (re)written 10 years from now, I think we'll find that quote (or something similar) included in the discussion of how to revitalize the Lakefront.  As I drove by Lake Kitt on 29 last night, I looked over, saw the tree lanterns light up the red, white, and blue awnings, and thought "This is it."  Admittedly, it is a bit premature to project a brand spanking new restaurant as key to the success of a place that has existed (in some form) since before I was born, but...I know you feel the same way.

Obviously, I'm talking about Petit Louis.  For those not on Facebook, their soft opening began last weekend with the opening of their Comptoir (with all of these French words, I am terrified of misspelling something resulting in a reference to an item/act not fit for 7 am reading).  Jane and I ran down there on Sunday to check it out, but the shelves were mostly bare.  Still, you got the feeling that "This is it."  The place is barely open and I've already scheduled a breakfast meeting there.  A community space that brings more people to the Lake, possibly planting the idea in the business owner's mind of "I could work down here."

For lunch, there is a nice synergistic effect with Clyde's, a place that sometimes goes to waiting list on nice summer afternoons.  More people walking the bricks and sitting on the benches.  Possibly a vendor or two.  A place evolves.  A there th... (nope, almost lost myself).

Finally, dinner.  And while I would love to predict a night life for my Columbia friends, I don't think we're quite there yet.  Due to Petit Louis's price range and predicted clientele, I think we can expect many a "cocktail by the Lake", but not necessarily a "night-life".  The generational gap between Union Jacks, Clyde's, and Petit Louis may not be filled just yet.  But we're as close as we've ever been.  This summer will be an exciting time.  You really may be able to bring your friends to spend an entire night in downtown Columbia and be proud of the end result.  No more "This place is normally packed on a Saturday night.  Sorry.  We can see if Nottingham's is open?"  Union Jacks has music.  Clyde's has music.  We'll see how Petit Louis fits in.  You can see how this could really be something spectacular.

And I've come all this way in the post without even mentioning the hustle and bustle of a premiere health spa-club-fountain-of-youth Haven on the Lake paired with a Whole Foods in the previously cavernous and empty Rouse Building.

Things are getting better.  Things will be different.  You live in an exciting place with interesting people.  This is what it's all about.

Have a great Friday doing what you love.