Downtown Arby's Set to Close

If Regas, North Gay's venerable dining spot which is calling it quits after 91 years, had closed one week earlier, the oldest restaurant downtown would have been a well-known dining landmark that has thrived on the corner of Gay and Union since about 1976. However, by a bizarre coincidence, it's closing too, the same weekend.

Arby's, which opened just as the downtown's movie theaters and big retailers were closing, weathered downtown's bleak years, but was unable to catch the winds of new-urbanist revival. Closing at 6 p.m. for decades—20 years ago, that was late, by downtown's lunch-centric hours—Arby's gamely experimented with a 7 p.m. closing time, hoping to catch the Riviera crowds. But then they pulled back, to concentrate on the lunch crowd. Perhaps it was a victim of the competition of so many other sandwich-oriented restaurants, but some reporters have appreciated Arby's, a rare place where one could eat a satisfying lunch for less than $4. They made a pretty good biscuit, too.

Be nice to former Metro Pulse publisher Joe Sullivan this week; he was a regular.