It’s Our Fault The Lakewood and Baby Scratch Closed (And Other Things Our Readers Told Us) | Letters to the Editor | Indy Week

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It’s Our Fault The Lakewood and Baby Scratch Closed (And Other Things Our Readers Told Us)

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Editor’s note: Backtalk is our weekly collection of comments and letters to the editor. The headline to this column has been changed to make that clear.

The sudden and unexpected news that acclaimed chef Phoebe Lawless was shutting down The Lakewood and Baby Scratch brought renewed attention to a piece—a James Beard Award finalist—by former food editor Victoria Bouloubasis last year that looked at The Lakewood's place in a gentrifying Durham neighborhood.

Commenter David Hewitt 1 congratulated Bouloubasis for "her role in torpedoing The Lakewood. I am so thankful for her role in protecting Durham from another gentrifying influence. Way to go, Victoria! And if you wrecked the dream of a local chef, just the cost of keeping Durham 'real' as defined by an elitist group of Durham hipsters."

"The end of the short life of The Lakewood restaurant in the Davis Baking Building has brought sadness to my heart," writes That Cookie Man. "Phoebe Lawless is a woman of unique talents and rare qualities. The Lakewood was the next step in a neighborhood that had plans for other new restaurants and cafés on the way. I dined there several times and was always reminded of the warm and comforting sense of community that was the soul of Scratch, and Durham. A feeling that brought sincere friendship and comradery into my life as well as that of many others.

"What this author claims is a piece about gentrification does not actually focus on the constant influx of development and redevelopment of old and new neighborhoods, downtown government buildings, new apartments buildings and complexes, office buildings, ALOFT and many other hotels, the DPAC, the Durham Bulls' ballpark, and the American Tobacco Campus. (Not to mention the Durham Freeway.) On behalf of Phoebe Lawless and those who have helped her: I am neither a history buff nor a census scholar; however, I do not endorse the exaggerated perspective and permissive speculation of these slanderous assumptions and misguiding implications of individual racially biased responsibility for gentrification in the Lakewood neighborhood.

"It is plain to see that this article is not actually about gentrification; it is clearly about Phoebe Lawless. The conflicted direction of ideals was nauseating, not because I know Phoebe, but because I lived in Durham for eight years, and Raleigh for eight years, and everyone knows that everything is changing in all of the cities in which we live. Gentrification is not something that is within one person's control; it is a part of our ever-evolving lives, as it always has been. Even I have now moved far from the center of any of these cities because I can't afford the cost of living, but I will always respect and admire those who to try to find a way to make it work."

Commenter TriangleTransplant says last week's list of one hundred dishes you need to try missed one important thing: "Once again, a Triangle food article that totally fails to mention KoKyu Na'Mean! Flip (David Filippini) has created the best sandwiches in the Triangle/North Carolina/United States/the planet, and I will fight you in the parking lot if you disagree. Why never any love for this amazing chef and what he's created?"

Silvia T. just returned to Chapel Hill from Europe and was excited to read our recent package of train-related features—until she wasn't: "I came back so enthusiastic about trains, thinking, 'Yes, now I will find out how to replicate the same here, finally be done with drives to the airport, security checks, delays, and getting stuck in unfamiliar places.' Your contributors disabused me of any such notion. How sad! On my trip through Europe, the experience was everything you would ever want from transportation meant to serve customers and more.

"Why, oh why can we not, in this country, invest in public transportation that serves everyone and is decent and enjoyable? I have a hunch about the answer, but spare me the state socialism, high taxes, and lack of individual choice nonsense. All I want is nice, clean trains that get most of us where we want to be for a reasonable price. Keep dreaming!"

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