This one hits me a little harder than others, mainly because I opened those restaurants. In my former life as a consultant, I coordinated and trained the staff for the openings of all the Oceanaires beyond Minneapolis.
So when I hear that Seattle is closing, I think about all the nights after work that the trainers and I would plop ourselves at the Palace Kitchen bar, bitching about everybody and everything. When I think about Charlotte closing, I can't help but wonder what will happen to Lance, the most efficient, well-mannered, selfless bartender I've ever met. With the closing of Philly, I am just glad that the ghosts of that restaurant opening are finally being put to rest. Cincinnati was the last restaurant we opened and, as I was handing the reigns off to the woman who would replace me, it seems all I can remember is the British bar down the street where we ate Scotch eggs and cask conditioned ale while I reassured her that she would be able to handle the next one on her own.
I continue to hope that there will be a next one because that company was built on the idea that a restaurant job is a "real job," that managers deserve to have lives outside of the restaurant, and that it's not such a bad life to serve a nice piece of fish. However it became lost, whether it be the economy or something more, I have strong hopes that they will find its moorings.