Pass the bread

When my wife and I were a few years out of college and lived in Northern Virginia, she’d beat me home each day. She’d walk in the door to our small one-bedroom apartment and I would get home a few minutes later. We’d both throw our briefcase/bags behind the door and crash on the sofa, exhausted from a long day of work. 

After a little while, I would get up from the sofa to check our empty refrigerator and then my wife would do the same until we would inevitably decide to go out to eat. We were just starting out and didn’t have a lot of money, so our choices were pretty limited. However, if one of us had a particularly bad day and, it seemed like that happened to me more times than not, since my boss at the time was a cross between Attila-the-Hun and a psychotic prison warden, we would walk the short half mile to a nearby strip mall to eat at a Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant. 

The Ruby Tuesday was located on a busy section of highway, right next to an artsy craft boutique that my wife liked to browse, but never seemed all that busy. We could count on getting seated right away in our favorite booth. We’d watch the passing commuters whiz by on their way home from work, chat about our day, and regain our strength over brown sweet bread and seemingly endless trips to the salad bar. I can’t remember the food being all that memorable, but it did wonders for our soul. As a young couple, the outings kept us going when we needed it most. They gave us hope of better jobs and happier tomorrows. 

Skimming the news

We haven’t frequented a Ruby Tuesday in years. I would need a quick Google search to locate one since I think the closest one to our house closed last year. In addition, I’m not even sure they still offer you bread when you first sit down, it’s been that long since we’ve been customers.

In any event, I still felt a twinge of sadness when I saw on Wednesday that the chain, hit hard by the Covid pandemic and ongoing financial challenges, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced that it will be closing 185 restaurants as part of its restructuring plan. 

The bankruptcy story included all the requisite quotes about how the company hopes to come back bigger and stronger. “This announcement does not mean ‘Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday. Today’s actions will allow us an opportunity to reposition the company for long-term stability as we recover from the unprecedented impact of COVID-19,” CEO Shawn Lederman said in a statement. 

I know these types of bankruptcies are a pretty regular happening nowadays. It’s a sign of the times. I’m aware of a number of restaurant and store closures just in my small town, but I still find myself wishing the firm well, if for no other reason, then I remember a time when the restaurant kept my wife and me going when we needed it most. 

Here’s to better days and keep the bread coming.

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