As most of you have already heard, Tudor’s Biscuit World will close on Sept. 14, one week from today. Here’s a link to my report in today’s newspaper. Many a downtown worker nearly cried over this news yesterday (and maybe some actually did cry).
Regardless of your personal opinion of Tudor’s, which opened almost 30 years ago, this is another big blow to the Roanoke restaurant scene. Just last week, I reported that Little Chef, a restaurant that had been in business for more than 50 years, was closed. And I have yet to report the closure of Downtown Soul on 1st Street in downtown Roanoke — consider it reported now. The restaurant closed about a week ago.
I have had people ask me, even after reading my stories about these closures, why these restaurants are closing. The question kind of surprises me because aren’t we all aware that the economy right now is brutal? Frankly, I’d be surprised if more beloved restaurants do not close this year. I hope that isn’t the case, but the situation right now is extremely dire.
These restaurateurs are citing a variety of factors in their decisions to close, but chief among them is the economy. It is the rising cost of food, which has caused them to raise menu prices, as well as the cost of other commodities. The Tudors told me their last electric bill was $1,400. Hopefully none of us are paying a residential electric bill that’s anywhere near that price, but I know we have all seen our own bills go up.
How do we stop the fall of these restaurants? Perhaps we should try to dine out more often, but it’s hard to shake a finger at families who are pinching pennies themselves. Some would argue that we should support local businesses because they don’t have a corporate chain to lean on, but we’ve seen chain restaurants close recently, too. Think Cold Stone Creamery in Roanoke, Burger King and KFC in Fairlawn, and others.
Yesterday, Louis Tudor told me he thought Roanoke had had a restaurant bubble, and it burst. Now, he said, he thinks there are too many restaurants in this area for the citizens to support. It’s an interesting idea and one that has been rolling around in my mind ever since.
What were your thoughts when you heard Tudor’s was closing? Do you agree that there are too many restaurants in the Roanoke Valley? How has the economy changed your dining out habits?