Greetings from Carrboro,
A good friend ran a marathon. No easy task; he wasn’t terribly athletic and spent well over a year training. On race day, family and friends made signs and cheered him on at various points along the 26.2 mile route. The final quarter mile was a straight shot to a giant “FINISH” banner with bleachers jammed with onlookers lining both sides.
With about 50 yards to go, the crowd began to cheer loudly. Pride swelled inside of him and he pumped his arms in triumph – à la Rocky – to the people in the stands. Then he noticed someone out of the corner of his eye and looked to his right. Another runner was about to pass him. That, in and of itself, was no big deal; lots of people had passed him. But this guy was, well, juggling. In full clown regalia. Thus the aforementioned cheering crowd. My friend’s arms came down rather quickly.
Somewhat humiliated, he summoned his last bit of energy to defeat Bozo the Juggle-Guy. So for his efforts, the ubiquitous prepaid 8X10 glossy meant to immortalize his crossing the finish line instead captures him frantically diving – yes, diving – with a juggling clown half a step behind. Not quite the glorious finale that he imagined at the beginning of the marathon. The photograph still makes his wife laugh.
As they say, it’s the journey. Not the destination.
And as Acme will celebrate our 25th anniversary(!) this month, I feel a deep kinship with my marathoning friend. Because twenty-five years ago I had certainly trained and, more or less, had a general map of where I was headed. But not much more than that. I distinctly remember the starting gun going off – 6pm, February 18th, 1998 – and taking a deep breath before running those first, awkward steps. And like the guy running the race, I had family and friends cheering me on at the junctures when I needed them the most.
But above all, since that first day Acme had each of you as our collective North Star to guide the way. Your kind words that motivated us and your healthy appetites that kept the lights on. And, without a doubt, the restaurant was also lucky to have the sincere talents and energy and camaraderie of the hundreds of people who have worked side by side with me, crafting Acme day by day, night by night – far, far too many people to ever name. But a roster that has cut onions and polished silverware an unbelievable 9123 days and counting. That’s a lot.
There’s certainly no way that I could have imagined where this restaurant marathon would end up 25 years on. Since that first day I’ve taken way too many detours and wrong turns to count. But I guess that’s the alchemy of time. Or its gift. Wrong turns become serendipity; my stinging mistakes become the stories I tell. And the juggling clown is always there. Always. He’s there, just over my shoulder, in case I need an oh-so-humbling reminder that I’m not really the one in charge.
So, next Saturday, February 18th, to celebrate our silver anniversary, we thought it best to celebrate all of you. Acme is handing out $25 gift cards to each table that makes a reservation that night. You know, 25 bucks for 25 years; it just makes sense. And maybe a little bubbly and cake to boot. Honestly, there’s no way that we could ever give back to this community all that has been given to us over the years. But there was also no way that we could acknowledge this milestone without at least trying. So, join us; it’s going to be a great night. I can’t wait.
And then – don’t forget – there’s Acme’s Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, February 21st as we roll into our second quarter century. It’s going to be quite the party. Reservations are still available here. Or you can drop in to eat at the bar or just to have a hurricane or two. We’ll have plenty of gumbo and goodies for everyone.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. As if you didn’t already know. We do have a few reservations still available including spaces at the bar that can only be reserved by calling the restaurant (919 929 2263). It would be remiss of me not to mention that our cocktail bar, Atlas, will be serving special cocktails and snacks for both Valentine’s Day (2/14) and Galentine’s Day on Monday, the 13th. It’s a great place to begin or end your romantic night on the town.
Well, that’s all the news from Carrboro. The staff at Acme look forward to serving you soon.
The Staff at Acme & The Team at Atlas