As Blue Plate closes, local Chattanooga restaurants look to future
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – “As it came down to our decision it was just about our signing back up and we just weren’t in a position to be able to do that.”
It was a difficult decision to make. After nearly fifteen years, Blue Plate announced on Facebook that they were closing their doors for good.
This announcement comes as a wave of Chattanooga restaurants, including Mojo Burrito and Chattanooga Salad Company, made the same tough decision.
Blue Plate owner Rob Gentry says that navigating the restaurant industry during the pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges.
“Obviously the last year has been challenging for the entire industry. I’m sure none of us that are owners in the business right now have ever seen what we experienced over the last year,” says Gentry.
Gentry says that he hopes Chattanoogans continue to buy local to prevent other businesses from having to shut their doors.
“Independent restaurants not only are employers, what we do for the community, how we bring people together. I mean, they’re just really important. And it’s just really important to do all you can. You know, everybody plays a different role. Government’s helping. People are coming and buying to-go food, you know, coming and spending time while they can in the dining rooms,” he says.
Gentry remained optimistic about the industry’s future, saying that as vaccinations continue to roll out, he expects things to slowly get back to normal.
“People want to get back together, right? You know I think we all miss breaking bread, you know, sharing food together, sharing drink together, and I think people are ready for that.”