Grazing: Grant Park coping with tragedy

The Grant Park community has been in a mixture of sadness and anger since the killing of bartender John Henderson at the Standard on Memorial Drive Wednesday, Jan. 7.

As has been widely reported, John was closing the bar with fellow bartender Ashley Elder when four young men broke through the front door. They shot John once in one leg and, as they were leaving, fired shots through the door of the office where the two bartenders were left. A bullet struck John in the head. He died a few hours later at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Wayne and I are regular customers at the Standard and John waited on us many times. He was a funny, energetic man. Like many others in the neighborhood, we felt like we were in a nightmare during the few days following the shooting. We were at the Standard last Monday for its regular curry special and the mood of the pub was subdued but it was good to see it busy. The front room was filled with flowers, candles and notes commemorating John.

Apart from the sheer grief, there's also concern about the increasing crime in Grant Park and the city in general. Wherever we dined in Grant Park last week, people were talking about John and the need for better police and private security. The murder at the Standard was exceptional but the armed robbery was not.

One thing seems certain, though. The event isn’t keeping people from dining in the neighborhood’s restaurants. In fact, we’ve had waits at the newest spot to open, Tin Lizzy’s Cantina (415 Memorial Drive, 404-554-8220). Tin Lizzy's, the child of a Buckhead restaurant with the same name, is located in the space recently vacated by Six Feet Under, which has moved to a larger space half a block away.

Not much has changed about the space that I noticed. There’s still a large and very crowded bar. The interior architecture is unchanged. The restrooms are still too small.

I was prepared to hate Tin Lizzy’s.

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