Ebony’s, BG’s soul food restaurant, closes

Serving chicken wings, rib sandwiches and catfish dinners along with sides of macaroni cheese, collard greens, and potato salad for the past two years, Ebony’s Ribs, Chicken ‘ Seafood is closed for business.

The restaurant opened Oct. 2, 2004 on Wooster Street because the Hailey family thought there was a need for African American soul food in the BG community.

Michael Hailey Jr. came up with an idea to open a rib joint in fall 2003.

But his father, Michael Hailey Sr. said “anybody can come up with a good idea but not everyone can make that idea a plan, make that plan a reality, and then make that reality live,” according to Ebony’s Web site.

Attempts to contact the Haileys for this article was unsuccessful.

“I’m really going to miss Ebony’s because they were the only all soul food restaurant in BG,” said Theresa Smith, freshman. “Their food tasted just like my mother’s cooking and it made me feel less homesick.”

But some don’t sense the same impact of the closing of Ebony’s.

“I don’t think the BG economy will be impacted by the closing of Ebony’s because they closed in winter time,” said Sue Clark, executive director of BG Community Development Foundation.

Clark said it was best for the local economy that Ebony’s closed in the winter instead of another season because people tend to stay in their house during the winter months.

“But if Ebony’s was to have closed in March, the closing would have affected our economy because it’s a time when people move around,” Clark said.

“I don’t think their closing will affect our economy,” said Kyle Tonjes, manager of Waffle House, located next to Ebony’s. “I rarely heard people saying ‘let’s go to Ebony’s.'”

Some wonder why the business suddenly closed.

“There could have been lots of issues with Ebony’s,” Clark said. “For instance, he wasn’t open six or seven days a week, only for three or four days.”

Clark said it could be confusing for people to remember what days and times Ebony’s was opened.

Also Clark said if Ebony’s was going through financial troubles she had no knowledge of it.

“Our organization helps businesses financially if they want to open, expand, or need more equipment,” Clark said. “So if they were in financial trouble they should have come to me directly for help.”

But Clark hasn’t spoke to the landlord for the past few months and then got word from him the other day deciding to close the doors of Ebony’s for good.

Therefore, as a result of a vacancy another business will soon occupy what used to be Ebony’s.

“The location spot is very unique and difficult because it is not big enough for people to sit down at,” Clark said. “So the next business to come will probably be a carry out restaurant like Ebony’s because that’s what the size is big enough for.”

Clark thinks the location still has its advantages because it is in the middle of other restaurants.

“I think fast food restaurants like to be in the middle of competition because it gives people a choice to be among the mix,” Clark said.

Tonjes said the Waffle House is not worried about the next business to occupy the vacancy.

“We aren’t worried about the next business because we weren’t affected when Ebony’s to the left of us was opened,” Tonjes said.