Stop the presses; no Applebee's in Gr'castle

Dateline: Wed 05 Sep 2007

My favorite daily, the Greencastle Banner-Graphic, has almost breaking news: Applebee's is not coming to town. Dang!

"Sorry to burst your 'eating good in the neighborhood' bubble, but Hawaii is the only area currently available for domestic franchising opportunities, according to the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Applebee's website," reports Lisa Meyer Trigg, the editor of the BG. The story ran today on Page 1 above-the-fold; in the old days, this was known as the "flag" story, six-column headline and all.

So there's your sneaky little peek at small-town famished America. Greencastle does in fact have a McDonald's, a Subway and a Taco Bell, but clearly that is not enough. Case in point: When the Mexican chain opened several years ago, the lines were around the block. Shades of Gilbert Grape and the Burger Barn.

Trigg wrote the story because the negative rumor mill was going wild; the word on the street (but not my street; it's a road) was that Applebee's wanted to come, but the city planners TURNED THEM DOWN. The positive buzz-about-the-town-square was that Applebee's would locate next to -- where else -- Wal-Mart. Yes, we do have a Wal-Mart. But no Target. Never, never, never.

Alas. Just like Cory Schouten who reported recently in Property Lines in the Indianapolis Business Journal that Indianapolis is NOT getting an IKEA (LOTS of comments), I can assure readers of this blog that Greencastle will NOT get Applebee's.

But all is not lost; Middle America will uphold its "usens in the middle like to eat" moniker. Channel 6 reports tonight that Dunkin Donut is opening a whole slew of brand-new stores. Where? Carmel.

In this business, truth is stranger than fiction. And how cab you tell a red state from a blue state? One has Wal-Mart; the other Starbucks.

Bon apetit, Greencastle.

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