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Jun 04, 2014


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If Tony Wilkins would leave his zip code and drive down West Market Street between Holden and Dolly Madison he'd see that an IRR already exists in Greensboro. Brazilian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian, Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian cuisines are present.


Our family goes on the occasional "Super G Fieldtrip". Wild and cool place.

Billy Jones

Why just High Point Road, what about the rest of the city and the rest of Greensboro's restaurant owners?

Billy Jones

So are we going to rename the street yet again? More lipstick on pigs still leaves Mr Wilkins with pigs by any other name.


Seems a decent idea for some needed revitalization.

Billy Jones

We're already spending $10 Million there without addressing any of the concerns that caused the problems in the first place. How is this any different? Any why is Ed Cone flip flopping?

"Makes sense to me to recognize and support one of the good things already happening in GSO, improve our brand in the process."

You spoke out against the rebranding of High Point Road, how is this different?

Ed Cone

I spoke out against the re-naming of High Point Rd, which struck me then and now as a needless expense that doesn't fix the underlying problems.

But re-branding the strip is a fine idea.

Telling the world, "Hey, this is a good place to come for dinner" would be smart, because it is a good place to come for dinner.

Billy Jones

The re-naming of High Point Road was and is a branding effort. It was framed as such. No one is denying that. Perkins, Vaughan and even Wilkins called it branding. How is again re-branding a portion of High Point Road-- again, at taxpayer expense-- any different?

All you and Councilman Wilkins are advocating is defraying the private cost of advertising these private businesses onto the public. Which, by the way, hardly seems to fit Councilman Wilkins' long standing political stance.

If the businesses along the strip wish to pool their resources and tell the world it's a great place to come for dinner then have at it but they have no right to expect my family's east Greensboro tax dollars to pay for that effort. Again, my community pays and does without so that more politically connected communities can thrive and as usual Ed Cone supports it.

This is why myself and much of Greensboro lost respect for you, Mr Cone.

Tony Wilkins

Thanks for the post and the gathering of opinions, Ed.
I'll share a few random thoughts on the concept.
I'm familiar with the Fanta Center on W. Market but that location is not in close proximity to major highway exchanges. This would be a two mile strip, that's a four minute drive, between I-40 and I-73.
Branding would include informing drivers there are 38 restaurants within two miles. Yes there are several chains, but there are many authentic family owned ethnic restaurants within that 4 minute corridor.
It's two minutes from the Coliseum.
I believe investment would be minimal. Banners, signs, etc. Coincide with the name change and the street revitalization.
Ed, you are partially responsible for this idea. It was you who initiated my addiction to the tacos at Carniceria El Mercadito. So, you're invested in the plan, lol.

Tony Wilkins

Also, through brief Google research of International Restaurant Row, I can only find this type of designation in San Diego, CA. That took place in October, 2012.
I've got a call in to Mayor Faulconer and Councilman Gloria to discuss.
Take a trip around the world in a two mile stretch of Gate City Boulevard. Am I being overly optimistic? Maybe, beats the alternative.

Ed Cone

Thanks, Tony. My guess is that a lot of people in Greensboro don't know how much good stuff is concentrated in that neighborhood, and some simple branding would help (all the more necessary since the untimely demise of Vietnamese Garden). Bringing in more locals, as well as foodies from across the region and visitors to the Coliseum, seems like a low-hanging fruit.


You might start with some advertising with the GAC and/or local swim clubs. LOTS of folks looking for convenient places to eat there on several weekends a year. Personally, as a some time traveling swim parent, info on local, convenient eateries is ALWAYS welcome.

Billy Jones

Councilman Wilkins, what about the fact that what you are advocating is defraying the private cost of advertising these private businesses onto the public? Should these costs not be carried by the very businesses that will profit from this advertising?

And why should residents of east Greensboro, south Greensboro or north Greensboro be forced to pay for increasing profits to businesses in your district.

Perhaps a better plan would be yet another Business Improvement District whereas the businesses on your Restaurant Row pay a special tax for these special city services? Only this time, unlike the Downtown BID, leave the rest of the city out of paying the bill.

Mr Wilkins?


I'm leery of any contrived business districts along interstate exits. I prefer those that are organic in their creation.

The designation of an IRR along High Point Rd solely to pursue interstate highway travelers and the coliseum is a civic insult to those who have risked their own capital and organically created an existing IRR along West Market.

Why not recognize efforts that have already borne fruit and reward West Market St. with an IRR designation?

Ed Cone

I think Tony's point is that the HPR, er, GCB corridor did emerge organically, and now it could benefit from some self-conciousness and marketing. If there's not a critical mass there, the idea is a non-starter.

Also, no reason a city this size shouldn't have more than one great food neighborhood -- Market Street might fit into the same plan.

Billy Jones

Ed wrote: "I think Tony's point is that the HPR, er, GCB corridor did emerge organically, and now it could benefit from some self-conciousness and marketing. If there's not a critical mass there, the idea is a non-starter."

Critical mass would infer private business having the self-conciousness and marketing expertise and where-with-all to invest private money into marketing their own row and now expecting taxpayers to foot the bill organically or not. And adding West Market Street into the plan only escalates the costs and puts more public monies in private pockets.

Why don't we just let the City of Greensboro pick up the cost of advertising and marketing every business on every street in Greensboro? The more you try to make it fair the worse the problem becomes.

And then there's the problem of Trademark infringement... How'd that call to Mayor Faulconer and Councilman Gloria go Mr Wilkins?

Ed Cone

Critical mass has a precise meaning in nuclear physics but is less exact when applied metaphorically to restaurants. I simply mean a concentration of existing establishments dense enough to warrant recognition and promotion.

I think Tony's notion is worth exploring, and that he's got the penny-pincher cred to push it forward. If you think it's a bad idea for the City to even discuss any sort of designation and promotion for one or more neighborhoods that are known for high concentrations of ethnic restaurants, we disagree -- for the first time, ever!

Billy Jones

Where does it end, Ed? You're talking about starting something that every group in every community that comes along will be able to point to and say, "We deserve the same thing they got."

At some point the tax base reaches critical mass and implodes.

That's critical mass by any definition and penny-pincher cred or not, Tony Wilkins needs to figure it out. Otherwise he's simply pandering to his base-- the root cause of most political waste everywhere.

Tony Wilkins

Ed, I received the traffic count today for I-40 at High Point Road. 105,000 per day, which was higher than I expected. If the new I-73 count is similar we could tap into 200,000 vehicles a day that don't currently know they're 4 minutes away from some of the best qua-zzine around.
Thanks for the "penny-pincher cred" cred. SD appears to have performed this designation for less than $3,000. That might be a little tight, lol. I'm thinking banners and highway signs.
This video from SD is interesting. (I continue to reference SD because they are the only city I've found so far that has actually put this designation in place). Mentions "International Restaurant Row" twice in the first 1:08. They might be a little fancier than us.

Tony Wilkins

Concerning the diverse inventory discussed on a Facebook post:
"Chris, none of the restaurants you mentioned are in the discussed area.
However, there is Ca Phe Pho Nui, Cafe Viet, Carraba's Italian, El Mariachi, Ginza, I Love Pho, Kiha's of Japan, La Milagrosa, Los Gordos, Mai Thao, Mi Lings, Olympus Grill, Sabor Latino's, Saigon Cuisine, Saigon Sandwiches, San Luis II, Van Loi II, Villa Del Mar, and several American family owned and of course, some chain restaurants.
Chris, you actually helped to prove my point. You live here and didn't realize the diversity in cuisine we have in one four minute stretch.
Oh, and one other thing, thank you for your vote. I'll continue to work hard to earn it.".

Billy Jones

International Restaurant Row

CITY OF ALHAMBRA: "Alhambra continues to be the “gateway” to lucrative business opportunities in the west San Gabriel Valley and beyond, as well as a highly desirable community to live and work as substantiated by Livability.com., which named Alhambra among its 2014 “Top 100 Best Places to Live” in the United States. Alhambra placed 21st nationally and fifth among all of California’s 482 cities and towns in the Livability.com ranking. The city was noted for its strength of diversity resulting from a strong business environment including a popular international restaurant row, vibrant Asian business district, award-winning schools, and the best attributes of urban living." http://www.cityofalhambra.org/page/4/business/

NEW YORK CITY "Firebird Restaurant is steps away from the chaos of Times Square located in the lively, non-touristy international restaurant row in an area previously called Hell’s Kitchen." http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/out-and-about-baltimore/2012/oct/15/fall-great-time-go-nycs-firebird-restaurant/#ixzz34Qrxi1r7

NEW YORK CITY: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/International-Restaurant-Row-m429825.aspx

All in all there must be at least a dozen international restaurant rows in NYC

Hempstead, NY: http://renewhempstead.com/idea/international-restaurant-row/

Philadelphia: "International Restaurant Row! Society Hill / Queen Village." http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/16746281/606-South-2nd-Street-Philadelphia-PA/

Atlanta: "an international restaurant row on Edgewood Avenue"

Offical designations? No, but why spend money when they already have the creds? Councilman Wilkins is putting up a facade, the idea is overdone, burnt to a crisp and a complete waste of taxpayers' money at any price.

Fred Gregory

How about a Trader Joe's Corner at Friendly and Hobbs

Those folks that will eventualy buy those condos ( now the big red hole ) will need a food retailer close that HT and WF

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