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It's great to hear that some new businesses are coming to Bennington, the latest being the impending openings of Marshalls, Starbucks and possibly a Chipotle restaurant.

In spite of these positive signs of growth, what we really need in Bennington is a Denny's Restaurant, or maybe IHOP, or some other affordable, family-friendly restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The loss of Jensen's has left a huge hole in our community. We have several pizza places, brew pubs, and Mexican restaurants. But, none of them provides a place where people can go for some good, old-fashioned, home-style cooking, with a menu that is both adult and kid friendly -- and, most of all, affordable.

The old Friendly's Restaurant remains vacant and boarded up, several years after its closing. Sunnyside Restaurant serves wonderful breakfasts and lunches, and are affordable for most people, but they're not open for dinner. The same goes for the Blue Benn Diner. And since Jensen's closed, there's a line out the door at Sunnyside of people waiting for tables to open up. As a result, local people who don't want to wait for 30 minutes or more to get inside the building are driving across the border to Hoosick Falls and Eagle Bridge, even Williamstown, to eateries where they can enjoy the same affordable home-style cooking. Not only is this inconvenient, the cost of gas to get to these places is another drain on pocketbooks that are already straining. It also puts people who do not have cars at a disadvantage.

We often hear the plea from our retail establishments to "shop local." Shouldn't that also apply to "dining local?" Bringing a Denny's, IHOP or other affordable restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner would allow us to do just that.

Margaret Boulet



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