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Avoid Chains, Dine Truly Local 

I want to echo Carey Friedman's comments about the absolute need to support local, not national or chain, restaurants (“An Open Letter [Please Eat With Us],” Back Page, Feb. 4). And unlike Carey, I do not own a restaurant — I simply enjoy them.

As a couple who have lived all over this great country, my wife and I have been amazed at the diversity and quality of the locally owned and operated restaurants in Richmond. And in the six years we have been in Richmond, both the quality and diversity have improved — a lot.

But in times like these, most local restaurateurs have little cushion to fall back on — they are dependent on this month's, or week's, or day's sales for their very survival. At the same time, most of us find ourselves having to cut back on the number of times we can afford to eat out. So I urge you to consider the long-term impact of your decisions when you do decide to splurge and eat out.

Ask yourself this: Two years from now, would you care more if we lost one of the numerous, same-everywhere chain restaurants that will have the money to come back some day — money it took out of our community — or one of your favorite local restaurants — which once gone, will probably never be back, but while here, plows its money back into the community?

What if we were to lose jewels like Acacia, Six Burner, 1 N. Belmont, Joes, Robin Inn, Julep's, Bistro 27, Chez Max or any of the many other fine locally owned restaurants — too numerous to name — that make Richmond such a great place to be? It is places like these that make Richmond unique — instead of being another town indistinguishable from hundreds of others all offering the same bland chains.

So, I encourage you to answer Carey's request by spending your dining-out dollars at some of Richmond's wonderful, locally owned and operated restaurants.  And while you are at it, let's support our local merchants too. In tough times, we all need to band together and help each other.
Crist Berry
Fan District

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