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Great America Hero restaurant closes because it’s “too successful”

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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A man in a facemask looks at a closed sign on a restaurant door
© Irina/stock.adobe.com

Did you hear about the business that closed because it was too successful?

There’s a sub shop in Dallas called “Great American Hero.” It’s been in business for forty-seven years. However, its owner, seventy-four-year-old Dominick Oliverie, told a reporter that his restaurant is “too successful to stay open.” 

The Dallas Morning News article explains his success: his subs are “simple and authentic for less than $10. The bread is baked fresh every day at 3 a.m. The noticeably fresh vegetables come from a farmer’s market, and Oliverie’s dressings—particularly his blend of canola oil, olive oil, and red wine vinegar—are one of the best examples of how he has spent decades perfecting the sandwich.” 

However, Oliverie has been short-staffed for months. He says the shop is too busy for its size, he is “afraid of getting busier,” and he no longer cares about money, which he does not have time to spend. He says he has no one to pass the torch to, and even his thirty-year employees are tired. 

Several hours after meeting with the reporter, he called her back with an update: Saturday was the busiest day in Great American Hero’s history, so busy that three exhausted employees walked out. He contemplated whether he would reopen the following week at all. 

“You never see a U-Haul behind a hearse,” he said. 

A robot is serving food and drinks 

Here’s an option: hire a robot. 

The owner of a restaurant in McKinney, north of Dallas, is using a robot to work as a host, leading guests to tables. It also delivers food and drinks on its four trays and even tells jokes. 

It may be that technology will further lessen the labor shortage of these days, though one could argue it might also exacerbate the situation if it replaces people permanently. 

By contrast, the Lord never calls us into a kingdom assignment he does not enable us to fulfill. Unlike the foolish man who built but did not count the cost of finishing (Luke 14:28–30), our omniscient Father sees “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10). 

Here’s the catch: he doesn’t always (or even often) show us all that he sees. His will is less a searchlight illuminating our destination than a flashlight showing us our next step in the dark. 

Paul thought he was supposed to go east when he was called west (Acts 16:6–10). Joseph had no idea that his path to the palace would go through the prison. Saul of Tarsus did not know when he set out to persecute Christians that he would soon be joining their number. John could not know while exiled on Patmos that the risen Christ would soon give him the Revelation on Patmos. 

“God does not give us overcoming life” 

I have been reading daily from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest since a copy was given to me in 1993. Yesterday I came across one of my favorites of all his insights: “An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. It is deliverance in trouble, which is very different” (his emphasis). 

He explains: “God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength.” 

Another devotional from which I read every day is Craig Denison’s First15. In yesterday’s article, Craig quoted 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” He then wrote: “Most of us wander through life looking for any source of love we can find. We give ourselves to people, jobs, society, and wrongful expectations trying our hardest to satiate an insatiable need to be loved. 

“Only in making time to receive God’s perfect, tangible, and transformative affections will our need to be loved finally be satisfied. Only when we look to the cross as a continual reminder that we are fully and forever loved will we stop searching for affections from a world that will only ever reject and disappoint us.” 

Craig added: “This broken and needy world has taught us to shield the wounded places of our hearts from any outside contact. We’re taught to just get over our wounds, pick ourselves up, and let our scars be signs of our inner strength. God wants to take your wounds and heal them with his perfect love. He wants to take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it into real, eternal good. He’s waiting right now to love you and make you whole. He’s waiting right now to satisfy the deep longing to be loved you’ve carried with you all your life.” 

What “deep longing” is your Father waiting to satisfy in your life right now?