R.I.P. Pop’s Trattoria

The restaurant business is nothing if not trendy. It’s all about the latest. And with so much new energy in the Durham restaurant scene, the long run of Pop’s Trattoria has come to end (“Rumors are true: Pop’s Trattoria closes,” Dec. 11).

Many of us will miss it terribly. Beginning in the Peabody Street location behind Morgan Imports back in the 1990s, Pop’s was a magical place in its heyday. With its funky décor, wood-fired oven, and charming bar, it pushed the Brightleaf area forward as a destination and delivered tasty yet affordable gourmet food. It bustled with activity almost every night, and lunch was so popular you needed reservations, which at the time was rather amazing.

For the better part of two decades in that location, Pop’s had a great wait staff and extremely reliable quality. It may have suffered in the innovation category from time to time, but my family and many others loved to go there for longstanding favoritesPop’s mussels, chicken under a brick, salty egg and prosciutto pizza, and that incredible homemade mint-chocolate-chip gelato, with fresh local mint. The service was excellent, and atmosphere on a weekend was buoyant – always festive.

Some of my friends never warmed to Pop’s new location when it moved from Peabody to Main Street in 2011. Nonetheless, the restaurant continued to fill up on the weekends, to provide a good product and to serve as a great venue for large, private parties. Speaking (presumptively!) on behalf of the hundreds of loyal Pop’s customers, many thanks to Chris Stinnet and to all the staff who made us feel welcomeand well taken care ofover the years. We wish you all the best.

Charles Ebel, Durham

Glad Hofmann Forest is dead

This is an excellent opportunity for the N.C. State administration, specifically College of Natural Resources Dean Mary Watzin and Chancellor Randy Woodson to regain the trust of the student body (“Deadwood: No Sale for Hofmann Forest,” Dec. 10.) Not one student in the forestry program approves of this sale, mainly because it sends a hypocritical message that N.C. State does not practice the sustainability it preaches. Secondly, the secretive manner in which the sale was attempted to be conducted has only deepened the mistrust between students and administration. Every forestry student at N.C. State hangs his/her hat on the Hofmann Forest as an example of the benefits of active forest management and forestry research. To sell this unique land to a private buyer would be a blemish on N.C. State’s record and an unwarranted stigma to graduates of the N.C. State forestry program.

George Hahn, Raleigh

Delete religious test from state constitution

It is about time someone brought such shocking information to public attention (“Believe in God? No? N.C. constitution says you can’t hold public office,” Dec. 11.) Legislators must be pressed to get rid of such Middle Ages public regulation. Who will step up to organize efforts to remove such nonsense from North Carolina Laws?

Robert Cathcart, Pittsboro

Jewish community volunteers on Christmas

After reading Emma Laperreque’s article on Jewish etiquette for Christmas Eve (“Let it Tso, Let It Tso, Let It Tso,” Dec. 10, , I wanted to extend my personal greetings to her as a member of the tribe, and let her know that there is another important tradition that takes place on Christmas Day here in the Triangle.

For the past 10 years, the Jewish community has spent Christmas Day volunteering throughout Durham, Chapel Hill and Chatham County to essentially allow our Christian neighbors time off with their families and to honor first responders who have to work these days.

Last year, more than 550 folks came out to help at 32 local organizations. Of course, the day of volunteering culminates with Chinese food and a movie. For more details, go to http://levinjcc.org/calendar/mitzvah-day

Steve Schauder, Durham

The writer is the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill.