The country’s current economic situation hasn’t been kind. Buddha Bar will soon close down and rumors were swirling around about the possibility of Metropolitan shutting down too. These were later discredited. However, it seems the current situation of the country is going to add another victim to its growing list and it’s the American diner chain Fuddruckers, which opened last year.
A friend who happens to like the place had decided to visit the diner yesterday and was surprised to find it completely closed, with a ribbon in front of its main door and no parking service in sight. And you’d think seeing as November 1st is a day off for most schools in the country, the place would open in order to attract students who probably decided to go out with their friends.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if the place ended up really shutting down. Based on personal observation, business wasn’t exactly booming back when the situation in the country was better than its current state. I personally visited it once with Australian friends and wasn’t too taken by their burgers which I found to be very plain. However, we were the only people there and only three other customers came in during our one hour stay.
The question to be asked is the following: If a chain like Fuddruckers has truly shut down in Lebanon, what would that say of the much smaller businesses spread all around the country? How struggling are they currently?
And if Buddha Bar and Fuddruckers couldn’t weather down the current storm, you cannot but wonder: how thick is the bubble for the collective Lebanese population that seems to be absolutely oblivious to how horrible the economy currently is?
At the rate this is going, it won’t be long before we get another chain closing down.
I was overly happy when the Batroun branch of Crepaway made a separate non-smoking area for those of us who don’t like to inhale with their burgers.
However, as I visited the place with friends, I found the area filled with people who were smoking. I asked about it and was told that they had removed the non-smoking area for the day. The explanation? they didn’t want the smokers to be placed on a waiting list for the smoking areas.
Excuse me Crepaway if I wanted to dine without the smell of cigarettes and without that awful stench getting stuck on my clothes and lungs. I mean, the emphysema I am most certainly going to acquire in this country cannot really be compared to the ten minutes of wait that a smoker has to endure, right?
In Lebanon, non smokers are figuratively run over by their overly dominant opposites in society. After all, clean air is something you’re not entitled to in a country where finding hookahs in American style diners is very common and even normal and where non-smokers have become a distant minority, squashed in almost rodent-like manner.
And let’s talk about the pricing! Back in December, the natural counterpart for Crepaway in Lebanon, Roadster diner, boosted its prices by a considerable amount, causing my friends and I to lessen our visits to a place that was eating away more and more an already tight budget. In the meantime, Crepaway boosted its prices in a lighter manner and they remained quite acceptable for what was offered.
However, I was surprised during my visit to Crepaway that they had increased their prices yet again. The famous Spielmozzarella is now priced at about 17,000LBP, about $11.33 and a Chicken Escalope platter is almost 20,000LBP (about $13.33), with smaller portions of French fries and coleslaw.
I understand fuel prices are on the rise in the country but I am positive chicken is not getting more expensive and nor is meat and, well, I am not going to a restaurant to dine on 95 Octane fuel while sniffing on the “exquisite” scent of a Marlboro.