To those dismissing the grief over La Belle Vie as silly…

You’re right, of course. There are bigger problems in the world than a restaurant closing. The world is full of injustice, and here we are crying about a restaurant most people couldn’t afford. How trite of us.

It’s just a restaurant, after all.

Except to the people working there, for them it’s a job or a career. It’s a family.

Except to the people who used to work there, for them it was an education and an inspiration. They took that inspiration and made the rest of our city better whether by opening their own restaurant or applying their skills and work ethic to someplace else where they are needed.

Except to the chef who spent 17 years of his life putting Minnesota on the culinary map, showcasing our home and all it has to offer from local vegetables to white tablecloths.

Except to the people who celebrated there, who loved there, who have memories of people long since departed there.

Except to the people who perhaps only dined there once, dollars saved up for a unique experience they will never forget.

And even if you don’t think any of that matters, then take heart in the knowledge that the human heart and brain are capable of unending joy, sadness, anger and hope all at once. We can grieve a restaurant without forgetting about the rest of the world. We should be thankful that some people are this passionate about “just a restaurant,” because passion is valuable. Passion is what gets things done, whether it’s finding jobs for those who are losing them soon or speaking out against injustice.

May we never dismiss people for being passionate about what matters to them, no matter how small.

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