That story was actually part of a longer news cycle event in which Florida's politicians took action on behalf of their patrons at Disney, in the casino industry, etc. to suppress competition for the "little old ladies who'd rather blow $20 socializing with other little ladies near home, with some chance of winning $10 back, than spend three or four figures on a weekend in Orlando or Tampa, surrounded by people they don't know, schmoozing with Mickey or pulling slot machine levers" market niche.
But what caught my eye in the story was this:
The raid was welcomed by Adam Brewer, owner of the Adam's Rib restaurant next door.
Brewer said the Internet cafe drew some unsavory patrons and that loitering in the parking lot shared by the business was becoming a problem.
"They are not producing goods or services. They are taking lower-income people and recruiting them in and taking their money. What they are doing is illegal," Brewer said. "The kind of crowd that it does attract is not the crowd that we want in that area. We've seen all kinds of stuff -- potential safety issues, people walking around the parking lot at night."
This grieved me. Adam's Rib was the first restaurant I ate at in Gainesville -- the morning after we arrived in town, I walked in and ordered their lunch special, which was quite good -- and it was well on its way to becoming my permanent go-to barbecue joint of preference in town. I'd eaten there another time or two.
But ... well, just wow. One business's owner giving a public grin and fist pump to the police for shutting down a neighboring business, and going right over the top to insult that business as such in the process?
I haven't eaten at Adam's Rib since.
Talk about serendipity, though. Just the other day, I was thinking that maybe I'd been punishing myself long enough by denying myself good barbecue, and that I might just give the place another chance.
Heck, I'd made my opinion known (in the same public venue that Adam Brewer had, that story linked above), and had spent my barbecue money at other establishments (ranging from well-known chains to sketchy individual proprietorships run out of roadside trailers) over the intervening two years, finding most of it not as good as the food I had enjoyed at Adam's Rib. Time to bury the hatchet?
But yesterday, Tamara and I were driving down 13th Street past Adam's Rib and past the shut-down Internet cafe, which has remained unoccupied since the raid, when I looked over and noticed a sign in the window of the latter:
Coming Soon -- Adam's Rib
I wonder how much less Brewer had to pay to buy or rent that building than he otherwise would have, after two years of potential occupants saying to themselves "no, not worth the risk of the neighbor bellyaching to the cops until they shut me down."
I doubt that this was a carefully pre-planned thing, given the fairly long timeline. More likely he's just willing to take advantage of unintended side effects to his original bad behavior.
But the result is the same. Adam's Rib won't be going back on my "where are we eating barbecue at today?" list any time soon.