In many ways, Wayne has become the flagship Main Line town. It has perhaps the most defined “town center”, with walkable streets, ample parking, and an eclectic mix of businesses. When one thinks of great areas to go out to eat on the Main Line, Wayne surely jumps to the top of anyone’s list. Recently, however, as we watch one more independent restaurant close and await yet another lackluster addition to N. Wayne Ave., the dining scene seems to be in the midst of a moderate crisis.
In recent (using the term loosely) years, Wayne has lost independent restaurants Taquet, Mayuree Café, Vivo Enoteca, The Freehouse, Mims Food & Drink, The Freehouse, The Wooden Iron and the Wayne Beef & Ale. Although their quality certainly varied, each of these places offered unique dining experiences. In their place, Wayne has gained three local chains — The Great American Pub, The Boathouse and now JD McGillicuddy’s — that serve generic bar food and emphasize drinking watered-down beer over eating. What does this say about Wayne? Do restaurant patrons not care about quality food? Is the town moving back towards the days of Smokey Joe’s? Is this just a sign of the economic times — fewer people going out to eat, and those that do spending less?
All is not lost, of course. Margaret Kuo’s remains strong. Teresa’s Café has been the most popular place in town for many years, and with the excellent addition of Teresa’s Next Door, one might argue that it is now more popular than ever, especially with the lack of other choices. And, the sign for the soon-to-be White Dog Café — though no longer proudly independent under Judy Wicks — tantalizes passers by on Rt 30.
At the end of the day, restaurants that execute well and give people what they want will survive, obviously, in Wayne and everywhere else. As for us, we’re foodies, and we want to see more foodie restaurants come to the area, so we will continue to patronize places that offer that, and won’t patronize places that don’t. If you agree, we suggest you do the same — otherwise the Wayne outpost of Kildare’s won’t be far behind.
Agree? Disagree? You should comment below.