I smile when a new post shows up in my e-mail. The latest blog is called The Secret Gardens of Spitalfields. One of the coolest things that has happened in the Five Points area of Rocky Mount was the opening of Blanches on Tarborro St. across from Larema. Unfortunately, they are only booking private parties now. Wonderful food, real fresh salad, not out of a bag, and a restoration of this commercial architecture that wins a blue ribbon as far as I am concerned.
You can step through the restaurant to the patios that have been created from brick walls left from the deconstructed old buildings. It is one of the best spaces in the revitalization of downtown. A serene place that leaves you feeling you could be dining in one of your dream destinations. I got hot and bothered when the 5 points area was being touted by Cooper Blackwell as an all black business district. I’m not sure how many didn’t eat at Blanches feeling they would be unwelcome. I do know that you cannot rebuild a community along racial lines. Everyone must be welcome to make it economically feasible. Eventually, I went to eat at Blanches because I had been told about some of the history of the black community framed and exhibited on the walls. The moment I came through the door Mrs. Blackwell was welcoming. The preservation and repurposing of this commercial building is great. It sets an atmosphere inside and out of interesting spaces, the remembering of the black community, and a place the entire community can enjoy.
I have never visited Spitalfields when in London. I’m not sure who can resist the blog that is endlessly interested. Google tells us that Spitalfields is a lively East End area, home to artists, creatives, and a large Bangladeshi community. Brick Lane is lined with curry houses but the area is also known for street art, quirky shops, and trendy bars. Victorian Spitalfields Market sells crafts and fashion, and nearby restaurants cater to lunchtime City workers. The 18th-century Christ Church Spitalfields hosts concerts and art exhibitions. Thinking of Blanches outdoor patios while looking at several of these Spitalfields photos, I hope you agree adding a garden atmosphere would be a welcomed addition to the revitalization of the Main Street area if only with planted containers.
Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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One thought on “Blanches Restaurant in Rocky Mount, NC And The Secret Gardens of Spitalfields in London”
I think Cooper Blackwell REALLY hurt Blanches with that comment. I did not try Blanches after that comment as I being Not African American did not think I would be welcome and we go out to eat often and I head up a lunch bunch group also. After seeing the beautiful gardens I am sorry I did not go. I felt that we were working on downtown for everyone regardless of race. Mr. Blackwell’s comments hurt.