The Day Chipotle came to Cherokee
About two weeks ago my friend Josh said something to me that has remained top-of-mind. It may not have been the first time I'd had a thought along the same lines but the way he phrased it jumped out at me. We were sitting in a BBQ joint along South Jefferson Ave, Spare No Rib, conversing about a number of things. We were discussing changes we had seen over the years in the Benton Park area, since I had just bought a house near Cherokee street.
We chatted about what might emerge next for the street and surrounding area as well as which part of town might tip next in response to Cherokee's growth and success. And then Josh said, "with the current trending of the street, its only a matter of time before a Chipotle, or other trendier chain, tries their hand at moving in." It dawned on me as something that could absolutely happen. With growing numbers of people frequenting the street, how long until it catches the eye of big companies looking to expand their footprint? Increasing the likelihood further is that as property values increase, there's a good chance some small businesses could end up being priced out of their space.
While I am of course in no position to say what will happen for sure, its not all that far fetched. It does feel a bit surreal to picture, having roamed around on Cherokee since 2009, when there was certainly intrigue but little was evident at the time.
But this leave me with a question to ponder. Are we ok with this? How will we respond if/when it happens? Will we acquiesce and allow it? Will we patronize it? Or is the weirdness of Cherokee worth fighting for? Will we double down on local joints or go to hearings and provide vocal opposition?
If we want something to remain grassroots in the way Cherokee mostly has thus far, its likely something we will have to fight for.
Go Forth Boldly