From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Let’s hope Calvin will bring back the hot foods

Cocaine’s one hell of a drug.
– Rick James

Where have you gone, Calvin Green? A hungry city turns its lonely eyes you. Woo, woo, woo.

The Augusta restaurateur’s wildly popular Hot Foods by Calvin restaurant remains closed three weeks after Mr. Green was sentenced to six years of probation for cocaine possession.

Hot Foods’ phone number has been disconnected, and its old Web site, www.hotfoodsbycalvin.com is, well … let’s just say it’s no longer a restaurant site.

If this is the end of the business, it would be a remarkably sad end for the Southern-style eatery that just last year won Augusta Magazine’s Best of Augusta award.

I’m predicting a comeback, though. I believe the dining public would give him a second chance for two reasons:

1. He makes darn good food.
2. He’s not a “bad guy.” Despite the recent cocaine charges and a 2006 conviction for writing bad checks, Mr. Green does not appear to be a career criminal. He sounds more like a man whose judgment was clouded by drugs.
Just say no, kids.

READER FEEDBACK: I’ve received a lot of response to my recent column on the National Security Agency’s billion-dollar operations center under development at Fort Gordon.
Most people said they had never heard of the project. Those who had didn’t realize how big a deal it is.

I believe the feedback reinforces my original point that, even with stories in this newspaper (weekday circulation: 73,561), the community is relatively ignorant to the 4,000-employee operation’s economic impact.

As for my comments that economic officials haven’t championed the center, the Development Authority of Richmond County replied that it featured the project in its April newsletter (monthly circulation: 500). What, you’re not on the list?

COMPLICATED SHOPPING: I read a national news story about a store called Epicenter Collection that’s planned to open at a mall in Delaware next year.

The store will have merchandise from online retailers and catalog companies so customers can “touch” and “feel” a product before making the decision to order it.
With me so far? Good. Here’s the concept as a hypothetical scenario: Let’s say you spot a lime-green golf shirt at a great price online. You say to yourself, “Hmm … I wonder if I could pull that off with my skin tone?”

So you get in your car, drive to the Epicenter Collection showcase store, find the shirt and hold it up to your chest in the mirror before deciding, “Yeah, that will work with my skin tone.”

Then, instead of just buying the shirt, you get back into your car, drive back, type your credit card number into cyberspace and wait five to seven days for UPS to leave the shirt on your doorstep.

They say technology makes our lives easier. I say it also gives us great new ways to do stupid things.

DUNK ’EM IF YOU GOT ’EM: Starbucks has sprung up all over Augusta except one place: Broad Street. One of its top rivals in the coffee/baked goods/sit-here-for-three-hours-and-use-our-Wi-Fi concept might beat it to the punch, though.

Rumor has it that Dunkin’ Donuts has been eyeing downtown for a possible store, with the old Woolworth’s building being tops on its list. Nothing is set in stone, but enough interest has been shown that downtown officials and denizens have heard the news.
Not since the opening of the Mellow Mushroom chain (yes, it’s a chain) would such a development send a message that downtown Augusta has “come back” from its decline. Although I’m hopeful such a development occurs, I refuse to hold my breath in anticipation.

I’ve seen too many grandiose plans for downtown properties – Bonnie Ruben’s announcement to convert the former Kress building into an open-air retail center (The Augusta Chronicle, Aug. 15, 2003) – to risk asphyxiation.

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Augusta Mom
1
Points
Augusta Mom 06/25/07 - 08:58 am
0
0
In the last week all signs

In the last week all signs are down at both Hot Foods by Calvin's locations. I would think this would be the end of the restaurant.

shamika26
0
Points
shamika26 06/25/07 - 08:58 am
0
0
calvin is like a father to

calvin is like a father to me he has is life ahead of him calvin's love his restaurant and make people happy enjoyed his caters he will make things better he got a family to take care i love calvin! he is not a bad person give him a try with tings he will things happen it's bad people got his business out of street make things bad.

shamika26
0
Points
shamika26 06/25/07 - 09:03 am
0
0
we did that that's what he

we did that that's what he wanted i help him my stepfater need enjoyed life too

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 06/25/07 - 10:01 am
0
0
I stopped going in there,

I stopped going in there, the WORKERS he had look like druggies, he hired druggies and those same druggies dragged him into that life style. I know he's trying to HELP people but my goodness, look at the workers.

Augusta Mom
1
Points
Augusta Mom 06/25/07 - 11:36 am
0
0
Unfortunately, he seemed to

Unfortunately, he seemed to have bad locations for both restaurants. The one in the downtown location had a serious parking problem. The original location on upper Broad was in a very dangerous neighborhood in which most people would not visit, no matter how good the food promised to be. Maybe after getting his life back together he can regroup and reopen in another location.

Does_it_really_matter
1
Points
Does_it_really_matter 06/25/07 - 04:11 pm
0
0
Well, the open air idea

Well, the open air idea certainly has happened at Bonnie Rubens place...the ceiling/roof has caved in on one of her properties that I know of. That is about as "open-air" as one can get.

galaxygrl
1350
Points
galaxygrl 06/26/07 - 12:30 am
0
0
Calvin's reputation is

Calvin's reputation is beyond our town. Recently someone from Atlanta asked me how to get to his place. I had to tell them he wasn't cooking right now. I do hope Calvin comes back.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 06/26/07 - 07:06 am
0
0
I haven't eaten at Calvins

I haven't eaten at Calvins but have heard wonderful things about his place, everytime my brother comes into town for a visit he always eats there, he says it is great. I wish him luck and I hope that he will open back up again. I look forward to having the opportunity to share the Calvin experience.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 06/26/07 - 11:51 am
0
0
Get it back together Calvin,

Get it back together Calvin, those of us who know you know you can do it. One restaurant at a time buddy. Start with the one in Harrisburg. It's the right place and will be visited again by many people throughout Augusta. In time, the catering and old customers will be back. Everyone loves a comeback success story. Peace.

bakealot
0
Points
bakealot 06/26/07 - 01:24 pm
0
0
Dont forget the starbucks at

Dont forget the starbucks at the Marriott!

SugarFoot
0
Points
SugarFoot 06/27/07 - 01:40 pm
0
0
I never understood what the

I never understood what the big deal was about the place. It was no Weaver D's. The restaurant itself was nasty and sometimes the food was not cooked thoroughly. If this is The Best Soul Food in Augusta, then Augusta must not be a great place for Soul Food.

Augusta Mom
1
Points
Augusta Mom 06/29/07 - 10:09 am
0
0
If this is the case, I'm

If this is the case, I'm curious why she is not ticketed for this. If it were you and I we'd be taken to court, the way they do countless people for minor infractions. Must be money talking....

Rozzie2003
5
Points
Rozzie2003 06/30/07 - 10:51 pm
0
0
Calvin was my friend. I hope

Calvin was my friend. I hope he will be able to get his life on the right path.I tried to tell Calvin he was working too hard. He needed a good and honest person to manage his restaurant. He tried to do it all. He would work at nights catering parties. Calvin stressed out working too much and worried to meet his payroll. He is a great cook but not a good business manager. He didn't have systems in place for profit-making and losses. No inventory controls.

sid2279
0
Points
sid2279 07/02/07 - 08:20 am
0
0
I tried the Hot Foods by

I tried the Hot Foods by Calvin under recommendation from a peer. The food wasn't bad but it wasn't great. The plethora of cockroaches in the restaurant left the worst taste in my mouth. I haven't tried the downtown location but the one closer to the GreenJackets' ballpark was less than desirable.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 07/02/07 - 01:45 pm
0
0
I went once, it was good,

I went once, it was good, about a year later, went again, never went back (the one near the stadium). It had declined to dirty, dingy, roach on the wall and watching the way the kitchen staff handled the food and hygiene turned my stomach and the service was terrible. I knew something had gone very wrong. I had hoped to go to the one on Broad Street to see if the new location was better, but I could never catch it open. Seems like that was fortuitous. Too bad. What a disappointment.

aa2007
0
Points
aa2007 07/10/07 - 02:07 pm
0
0
I do agree about the workers

I do agree about the workers looking like druggies. I have only ate at Hot Food by Calvin once, three years ago. I had the unpleasant experience of observing one of the waitress getting a menu off the table to use as a dusk pan and putting the menu back on the table after using the menu. My party observed this immediately stop eating and left. There was another party that sat across from myself that saw the above and they left very upset and didnt wait for there food to be brought out. I wish the best for Mr. Calvin and hope that he turns over a new leaf.

georgia girl1
0
Points
georgia girl1 07/22/07 - 12:07 pm
0
0
Some of you need to get out

Some of you need to get out more! Cafe 209 is the best soul food and home cooking downtown has to offer ... and Calvin's was not even a close match. Jack's BBQ Buffet on Lumpkin Road (next to Island Seafood) is a place to be reckoned with. All homemade items - vegetables, casseroles, salads, soup, desserts ... the BBQ pork and chicken and ribs are great ... but the beef brisket is better than any prime rib I've ever eaten. If you've not eaten here, you're missing a great treat! Southern Delights on Mike Padgett Hwy. has home cooking and soul food daily. The baked potato casserole is awesome! Cassandra, Jack and Ashley do catering as well. You must patronize these restaurants for some of the best soul food you'll ever eat!

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