If you eat halal and have been to the charming Jeju island in South Korea, you must’ve known about Bagdad Cafe. That small Indian restaurant, located right at the heart of Jeju city, is pretty much the only place that provides halal-licensed food on the entire island.
I had some pictures posted on Instagram about the times I was there with co-workers from Automattic, and yesterday I got some likes on them from Bagdad Cafe’s Instagram account. I didn’t know that they have a presence in Instagram, so I went and checked their pictures. And that’s when I found this fascinating announcement:
(Update: the Instagram post seems to have been archived or deleted, but I still have the written version below)
The notification says:
Thank you for all the love and support you give us. And we deeply regret to inform you that we will be closing Today (Sep. 4th, 2017) for the first time in 14-year history of BAGDAD only to come back with better service and food as an answer to your love. We sincerely apologize once again, and thank you very much for your unchanging supports.
How amazing it is that they took their first ever break after being open non-stop for thirteen years. I can’t imagine working on something continuously, every single day, throughout the seasons, for 4,748 days.
It’s quite heartwarming how they said they will come back better “as an answer to your love“. That made me feel bad that they had to apologize so much about it. It seems to me that if you’ve been available for 13 full years, you deserve all the break you want. Take all the time in the world! You’ve more than earned it already.
If I close my eyes and imagine what it’s like to be there, I’d describe it as a well-worn but clean, quiet, rustic place. I remember the small but surprisingly heavy front door that can be tricky to open (do I push, or pull?). I remember the mismatching tables they have, and the colorful ceramic tiles on them that’s cracked on the edges. I remember that they use regular stand fans instead of the more common ceiling AC for the tables at the end of the room. I remember the pictures of various international frisbee competition teams (of all sports) on the wall. I remember the ceramic elephant statue. I remember the dimly lit room, perfect for a conversation over dinner with the rest of my team.
In other words, it’s exactly how it would look like if it has been used for thirteen full years with a lot of love and care. I hope they enjoyed their break.