Whenever I travel and am looking for a place to eat, the best bet is typically the place that the locals gravitate to. This strategy usually does not disappoint. Most memorable for me in recent years is Becky’s Blue Hereford in Ford, Kansas.
Over the years that I’ve lived in Grand Junction, I’ve enjoyed the occasional breakfast or lunch at Good Pastures restaurant, attached to what is currently the Quality Inn on Horizon Drive. There are lots of locals who do the same. The place had a genuine feel to it – good food, quickly prepared, with a friendly, knowlegeable and competent waitstaff that made you feel welcome and comfortable. There’s a significant senior citizen clientele for which the business accommodated with smaller portions and discounts.
Good Pastures was a place that sustained the heartbeat of the community. When the long-time owner sold the business recently, it made a bit of a blip on the local business news scene. Quoting the Grand Valley Business Times story, previous owner Richard Tally said:
“We also want to thank our employees who have worked hard to deliver the quality of food and service our customers deserve. We will miss them. They have been like an extended family.”
Yesterday, a good portion of that extended family was outside carrying picket signs.
According to a KREX story from yesterday, it seems that the new owners, Raul and Cathy Wolf, saw fit to keep the existing staff long enough to train new hires, and then let them go. The fired staff claimed that their age and experience were factors in their dismissal. The response from Mr. and Mrs. Wolf to this was reported as follows:
“The new restaurant owners didn’t want to go on camera but they tell NewsChannel Five they can hire and fire who ever (sic) they want.”
While this statement is essentially true, it seems to me that the new owners are somewhat tone deaf to a large portion of the restaurant’s appeal. The same thing that keeps people coming back to the same lunch counter for years is what Good Pastures just destroyed. For better or worse, either for themselves, the community at large, or both, this was their legal choice to make.