A post about trans fats being removed from concessions menus at Safeco devolved into comments about wine markups in restaurants, where prices of affordable-at-retail bottles can easily shoot toward the Richie Sexon salary stratosphere.
One Ed's Diner regular had an idea:
Why don't we all pool our money and open our own place. Can we do a co-op restaurant?
I think the co-op comment was in jest -- meant to suggest that if the folks here at Ed's Diner can't agree on whether 300, 400 and 500 percent markups on wine is justifiable and up to the discretion of the restaurant that is selling a particular wine and providing all attendant service, from cellaring to glassware to decanting to clean up, how could any us of pool our culinary visions with success?
Well, it works at Arizimendi Bakery, a worker-owned cooperative in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Since today is April Fool's, let us fool around. Let's cooperatively design a restaurant.
I spoke with Blaine Johnson recently. Johnson is a local developer and former newspaperman ("I was at the TNT when they brought in Bart Ripp," Johnson told me.) Johnson patronizes Ed's Diner. He read last year's posts, comments and reader survey about the kinds of restaurants diners want to see in Tacoma.
I've never met Johnson. I've only spoken with him on the telephone. I heard something in his voice: Uncertainty. Even with all the raw dining data we cooked up at Ed's Diner last year, Johnson doesn't know what kind of restaurant he's going to build in the under-construction Roberson mixed-use/condo building at Market and 7th streets in downtown Tacoma. He and his step-son Stephen Baldwin, a former brewery manager with Seattle restaurant connections, want to open a bistro. They just don't know what kind. They've put in some kitchen infrastructure, but not much else.
The space is 3,700 square feet with a mezzanine.
What's it look like? What's it sound like? What's it taste like? What do you want to spend? How do you want to feel?
Dream, people, dream.