The Calamity Cafe has returned, if only on Facebook.
Most in the Potomac Highlands would have no reason to have heard of it. But the Calamity Cafe for a decade was a Huntington icon. It sat on the corner of Hal Greer Boulevard and 3rd Avenue, right across from Marshall University's Old Main.
Mostly college faculty and students packed it for lunch, dinner, and live music on weekends. It featured a southwestern, hippified atmosphere with Indian blankets and cow skulls as decor. The food was incomparable. Recipes were created on site, using farm fresh ingredients well before that was all the rage.
Like I said before, this place was pretty hippified. And that made it a fun place to go at any time.
The Calamity did an amazing business. It served as a center of college life and was never empty. Yet it has not been there for almost 10 years. Why? Big government, of course.
Two rooms separated by a narrow hallway formed the restaurant. One side served non smoking customers, the other had the small stage and catered to smokers. Cabell County in the late 1990s wanted to join the anti-smoking regulation fad and required restaurants to have a physical barrier between the smoking and non smoking sections. This was meant for places that allowed smoking at the bar and not elsewhere in an open floor plan. But it was applied to the Calamity as well.
Chains like Outback and Applebees complied easily, constructing expensive barriers. The Calamity could not afford to reconfigure its restaurant so it closed. Chains picked up the business.
That is why small businesses close. Unnecessary and stupidly written regulations.
Now the Calamity Cafe only exists in memory. It was a small restaurant, but there were those who loved it. And Big Government crushed it.