First: the food was very good, as it always is. They use all fresh ingredients from the Black Hog Farm CSA, and you can definitely taste the difference. The service was friendly and attentive. I’ve long thought the Uptown Market is one of the better restaurants in Jacksonville. I still do. Put it in a tonier neighborhood like Avondale, and customers would be lined up out the door.
It’s a problem though, when you spend an hour and a half surrounded by empty tables. A couple of people came in for takeout, but that was it. I realized that if we’d not decided on dinner out, the restaurant would have had nobody show up for table service on a Tuesday night. So much for expanded hours. That’s a depressing thought, given all the Facebook enthusiasm it created. Yeah, it’s just one night. But you want things here to thrive, not just survive.
This week a bunch of us were also cheering the news of several new businesses opening in Springfield. Any new business, any new house, any renovation project gets a lot of likes on Facebook because this neighborhood needs all the help it can get. Springfield fell on some tough times in the ’70s and ’80s, and while it’s a lot better now, it still feels, sometimes, like things could go either way. I’m reminded of that funny Onion piece a few years ago: “Sometimes I Feel Like I’m The Only One Trying To Gentrify This Neighborhood”. I don’t mean that, of course; a great many people here do a lot more than we do when it comes to fighting the good fight. Let’s just say I’m starting to think hitting the “like” button on Facebook is not really all that’s required.
We live a couple of doors from Three Layers and sometimes go there even though the wine is cheaper at our house. If you like a business, and think it’s good for the community, you should probably spend some money there once in awhile. I call it the Springfield Improvement Tax. Completely voluntary, but probably just as necessary as fixing up these old houses.