Monday, April 23, 2012

Why Tart Mattered

Fond remembrance of a closed restaurant

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 6:14 AM

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Editor's Note: Joe Benevento is former head chef at Tart and writes the Source's Kitchen Chronicles.

I miss duck wings. There, I said it. I can't take it any longer, the truth must be told to the world. I miss me some lip-smacking good, confit duck wings. Truth be told, it had to be said for a lot of people. Since closing its doors over a month ago, Tart Bistro has left a longing in the hearts of many.

But, why all the sadness?

In this world of revolving door restaurants, how can it be a shock that yet another restaurant closed? Why does it even matter?

Because, simply put, Tart was different. Tart had some magic about it that did its thing on virtually anyone entering the door. We were captivated by its charm, by its je ne sais quoi.

Tart, which opened to little fanfare and attention, built its fan base the old-fashioned way, through being awesome and taking care of their people. A little place such as this surely operated from a budget, and could have gone the more tried-and-true route. Offer a predictable menu, cater to the cheap drink lovers of the world, and you will make money. That would have been the "safe" bet, and the one all too many restaurants have taken.

Tart didn't do this. Tart dared to offer what was delicious, even if it was different. Tart didn't comprise quality or vision for the sake of what's expected. The public is saturated with people who want to shop with their impulses and Tart didn't try to dumb it down, or cater to the crowd that wants everything "Americanized." Authenticity was paramount.

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