How can Gainesville be proud?
Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 10:31 p.m.
Bert Gill recently purchased the Sovereign Restaurant from its majority owner Morton Levin. I was shocked to hear of Bert's "business" tactics of swiftly firing the entire staff on New Year's Eve after a busy December.
Gill had stated that the staff would be kept on for a two-month transitional period. Not only did he fire everyone, but his comments, in a Sun story published on Jan. 3, tarnished the reputation that my parents, Elmo and Lupe Moser, worked so hard to achieve.
It is hard for me to understand why Gill chose to act in such a disrespectful and arrogant manner. To state that the Sovereign was "poorly managed," and "dirty," was just in poor taste. The Sovereign would not have been an institution of fine dining in Gainesville for thirty years if either was true.
The Sovereign was more than just a building, it was a historical, 150-year-old carriage house. It is in danger of being destroyed. It saddens me so. It was my second home for the better part of thirty years. It was my childhood playground. It was the place I celebrated my seventh birthday and every birthday since.
It was where I worked side by side with my family. It was a place where locals were proud to celebrate their most important moments. It was a place where the regulars had nameplates to save their favorite spot. It was a place where you could look at Lupe's chalkboard and see who was celebrating a birthday or anniversary. It was a place where you were greeted with a warm welcome or, if you were lucky, an Elmo kiss.
The Sovereign was a place that made up the unique fabric of Gainesville.
The Sovereign was our family's tie to the community we love.
My parents attempted to give back to the community in many ways not for their gain, but truly in benefit of the community: Promoting the arts by giving many cast parties for The Hippodrome and displaying local artists, giving the homeless person begging at the front door of the restaurant a hot meal and a night's wages. It was countless other acts of good faith that went unspoken.
The Sovereign will soon be replaced with another restaurant. Gill claims to want to run a restaurant that "Gainesville can be proud of." However, he began his tenure with some very questionable acts.
Many former restaurant employees will have to make their New Year's resolution to find a job to support themselves and their families. My New Year's resolution will be to avoid patronizing restaurants that treat people with such disrespect. How can Gainesville be proud of this?
Trish Moser is the daughter of Elmo and Lupe Moser, former proprietors of the Sovereign restaurant. She lives in St. Petersburg.
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