The demise of local restaurants

I feel like I lost a limb this week. I live near a little market town and it’s been through a lot of development of late. Some good, some not so good. Over time independent eateries (a million times better, nicer and tastier) have been heartbreakingly replaced by chains. I am so bored of chain food. I don’t mean to sound depressing or ranting and raving. This is a lament.
Two of the best restaurants in the town – in fact the only two restaurants in town worth eating in – have closed/are closing. Now if you want decent food, that hasn’t come into the premises in plastic wrappers and is swiftly strewn unceremoniously into the microwave before being disguised as “authentic” pasta carbonara, you have to go to a country pub/brasserie/restaurant but whatever they call it, it’s a food hole. I don’t mind this (and I am lucky to have some excellent ones really near) but if you want a quick, edible, exciting lunch, now there is no where to go in town. I will be forever walking around the market square as lost as nutrients in McDonalds.

The Square which was an amazing gastropub and Le Petit Square a delectable French restaurant have been taken from us. I have so many good memories from both of these restaurants and the owners have had them for seven years. Seven years of making people happy and satisfied and free of frozen e-numbers. They have always said they source local ingredients and try to keep the costs down. Le Petit Square was better than food in Paris and both always had meal offers like 2 for £11 or 3 for £15 in case the purse strings were tight at the end of the month. This meant that students like myself could afford good, different and intriguing food.

It’s such a shame and I will miss them both terribly. No more lemon posset, no more Chateaubriand, no more confit shoulder of lamb. Never again can I get my taste buds around their Eggs Benedict, Pan Perdu or Tart Tatin. I know chain restaurants have their place but I wish they wouldn’t displace genuine food. I hope when times improve the owners will open something somewhere again because I can tell you I’ll be first in the queue.

Au revior. It has been a mouthwatering seven years.

All That I’m Eating


  1. says

    That is such a shame! I agree, so sick of the chain restaurants!!! This I am sure happens in many towns and it is sad that a “family” has to close it’s doors because of a corporation. And in the meantime our memories are all we have left. My town definitely needs more support of small businesses. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. says

    Oh, what a sad post. we still have a several wonderful independent restaurants in the area and frequent them often in hopes of keeping their doors open. Thank you for this poignant tribute to that restaurant.

  3. says

    I also live in a small town and Sonoma has town rules banning chain stores. Everyone was shocked when a Ben and Jerrys was allowed to open, but that’s as radical as we’ve gotten.

  4. says

    How sad! My parents owned a cafe for a number of years so I’m kinda familiar with the plight of small, food-related businesses. All the more reason to avoid the glitz of food chains! Here’s to hoping you discover another hole in the wall gem soon 🙂

  5. says

    Thank you for your comments. It’s nice to know some places are still lucky enough to not suffer as I have.
    I am taking on what the lonely radish says…when one door opens. Lets hope so.

  6. says

    Oh I agree with this so much! We are seeing this in our area and I always support our local small restaurants and businesses (aside from the moral issue, the food is better, service more friendly anyway).

    When it’s just chain stores and restaurants around, it takes away the sense of community in a place, so sad.

  7. John Burden says

    It’s a sad, sad fact of life that where I live, the central area has been “improved” in a cosy arrangement between the council and the investors. The independents can’t afford the eye-watering rents so don’t even come back after the work has been done. Even the chains find it’s not easy to achieve the turnover and profit the bean-counters, management and investors demand, so there is a relatively high “churn” rate of closures, new chains filling the gap then pulling out just a year or two after arrival.

    The only independents on the periphery of the central area have become unaffordable for all but special occasions, so we end up going out of town to smaller towns where the food is cooked on the premises, the cost isn’t eye-watering and the staff can be relied upon. The only drawback is that I choose not to drink and drive, whereas I’d rather enjoy an appropriate wine or beer,depending on the food.

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