Why Fast Food Should Be on Park Ave

October 22, 2013 Opinion

In response to the article “Winter Park bans fast food” found here

The Winter Park City Commission has decided to place a ban keeping fast food restaurants from being built on Park Avenue, the charming street that leads residents of Winter Park directly into our beloved college campus. Commission members have dictated that Park Avenue’s purpose is to provide “fine dining” establishments for residences, and the presence of fast food restaurants soils that image.

I am against this ban on fast food restaurants on Park Ave. I concur that Park Avenue is a magical escape from the eyesore that is tar roads and large office buildings typical of most metropolitan areas, but I do not believe in the slightest that fast food restaurants ruin the feel of the Avenue, or even decrease its quality in any way.

The fast food restaurants that ignited the debate were Firehouse Subs and BurgerFi. Now, I’m an off-campus student and I walk by these two establishments daily on my way to my car. Not once have either of these restaurants blackened the vibe I get from Park Avenue. In truth, on my very first visit to campus BugerFi impressed me; I had never heard of such a chain, the smell of burgers made my mouth water, and the cute tables outside appealed to me. My boyfriend and I recently ate there for the first time, and were both relatively pleased; the staff was friendly, the food was quality, and the price didn’t burn holes in our wallets.

The city commission defined fast food as any food establishment where customers pay before eating their food, the plates and dining utensils are disposable, and the customers are expected to clean up after themselves. Contrary to that, fine dining is defined as an establishment that has a hostess, provides table service, and contains “fine dining-caliber cuisine.” Restaurants such as BugerFi and Firehouse Subs do provide service, and the food is not mediocre in the least. Personally, I find disposable tableware to be convenient (especially when the tableware in question is composed of recycled materials), and one should be able to enjoy quality food without surrendering convenience.

Another reason that I am in favor of fast food establishments on Park Avenue is the factor of meal cost. Park Avenue is directly perpendicular to Rollins’ Campus, and so, it would be safe to assume that a decent portion of Park Avenue frequenters are college students, and even perhaps high school students in the surrounding area. It is no surprise that the Avenue attracts young people; it is very quaint, not crowded, and aesthetic with its brick road and sidewalk gardens—an ideal route for an afternoon stroll alone or with a companion. With this noted, young people, especially college and high school students, are notorious with being ill-equipped financially. Fast food restaurants offer the perfect combination of simplicity, quality, and cost-efficient for the multitude of students and other young people roaming along Park Avenue.

Ultimately, the existence of fast food restaurants on Park Avenue does not ruin the atmosphere of the beloved street, and also provides a convenient off-campus eating experience for students of Rollins. Park Avenue is already a very successful and thriving area for businesses, and it is very unlikely that fast food will drive away customers from the Avenue, except for, perhaps, those who are so ostentatious that their evening could be ruined by a quaint establishment offering good, low-priced food. Thankfully, the ban allows pre-existing fast food restaurants to remain, and I can still have a good meal in a cute place without denting my budget.

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