A Sad So-Long

final cakeThings happen. Trends run their course. Friends move away. Businesses come and go. The world keeps spinning. You move on. I know I will, but I want to take a few minutes to give high-fives and kudos and some serious boo-hoos to a quaint little restaurant where I have logged many hours over the past 15 years.

It’s been a go-to place for a consistently good girl lunch. Friends and I have commiserated over school and kids and parenting issues. We’ve celebrated birthdays and Fridays and I-just-need-to-get-out-of-the-house days. Pretty sure we’ve solved world problems (if only the powers that be would listen to us!) over a fresh salad, tasty soup and a generous hunk of the most amazing carrot cake I have ever tasted.

Until two days ago The Bloomsbury Bistro operated inside a local antique mall. A small place with fresh flowers and white paper on the tables, it was cozy and friendly. It was decorated with paintings and murals of women enjoying food, and friendship and conversation that seemed to beckon and invite patrons to gather and lunch. Though the menu changed seasonally, standard favorites kept customers coming back (did I mention the fabulous carrot cake?). The food was fresh and creative. I never had a bad meal or service experience there. Ever. I can’t say that for any other restaurant, and I eat out a lot. This place was amazing. It was special, and I’m going to miss it.

I ate there several times in its last couple of weeks. It seemed everyone wanted a last lunch at The Bistro. My mother and aunt drove three hours for one last visit. Everyone wanted one more slice of that incredible carrot cake. Yes, I indulged on each outing! Let me pause a moment to describe, if I can, the carrot cake — a sinful two-layer cake, served warm with a delicious cream-cheese-and-pineapple filling, drizzled with warm caramel sauce, and topped with candied walnuts. The. Best. Ever. I’m pretty sure I will never eat another slice of so-called carrot cake from any other bakery or restaurant.

On the final day at The Bistro, the wait was more than an hour for those without reservations. (Luckily, I had made reservations a week earlier for a group of my book club friends.) To say the place was popular would be a serious understatement. I’m not sure the owner ever imagined the deluge of customers and outpouring of compliments and good wishes she received. And earned. I was honored to be invited to a champagne send-off on the last evening of the restaurant’s life. Along with friends and associates and staff members, I toasted the years of great meals and memories. I say again, cheers to the Bloomsbury Bistro!

Are you missing a special place that left its mark on you?

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