Local business benefits Shoals area

Kali Daniel

As a junior in high school, I looked forward to my journey at UNA. Director of Admissions Kim Mauldin met with my parents and I, and afterward we were given a tour by The LaGrange Society. Upon returning to Coby Hall, we asked numerous people what was nearby in terms of restaurants.

“I would definitely try Ricatoni’s or City Hardware on Court Street — they’re right next door to each other,” we were told.

My family and I ventured to City Hardware and collectively ordered the bacon-wrapped meatloaf, hand-battered chicken tenders and a succulent rib-eye. Needless to say, it was a perfect first day in Florence.

Over the years, the first places I have suggested to family and friends in town has been Ricatoni’s or City Hardware. I have eaten my weight in pasta, pizza, salads, steaks and guacamole — and I never recall being disappointed.

The ingredients are fresh and local from Jack-O-Lantern Farms and many employees live down the road, attending UNA. If I knew nothing else about the food or environment, I would say Rick Elliot has done Florence a tremendous favor.

In the Feb. 19 issue, The Flor-Ala ran a story regarding the application to these two businesses and its inclusion of height and weight questions. The feedback was astounding.

This story was brought to the publication’s attention by numerous UNA students, and was not a personal attack on Elliot. This story was not meant to deter those in the community from dining at his restaurants. In fact, we hoped for the opposite. We hoped that by knowing what a tremendous impact these restaurants have had on the Shoals, citizens would encourage the removal of height and weight from the application.

In a study by the University of Vermont, people 19-50 percent over the average weight, based on their height-weight comparison, face the most discrimination in the workforce. While many responses to our article claimed Elliot would never consider the height and weight of an applicant, the applicants themselves may feel prior discrimination.

We have covered Elliot’s restaurants at this paper before, and as long as I have attended, there has never been a poor review. His pride and belief in what he is doing is evident in his food, his staff and his interactions with the community. All we asked is for that encouragement to be extended to the application process, legally assigned by the federal government.