Winter Park didn't become Winter Park by putting up with bourgeois counter service.
And it has no intention of starting now.
Go ahead, insert your own Winter Park snob joke here.
Because this is the same place where you can glance into a passing baby carriage on the sidewalk and just as likely see a small dog as a baby.
And, yes, this is Park Avenue, where even the Summer Sidewalk Sale prices can be out of reach for many of us.
But you can't argue with this: Winter Park knows what it's doing when it comes to creating the kind of destination you'd go out of your way to visit.
And every other city is going out of its way to copy Winter Park's special formula of shopping, dining and park space.
So how can we fault the city of "culture and heritage," as it calls itself, for trying to protect its most valuable asset, its cachet?
That's at the heart of a showdown between city officials and the operators of BurgerFi. It'll be like watching two socialites fight for a parking spot at the spring art festival.
It'd be easy to dismiss Winter Park's objection to the counter service at BurgerFi as nitpicky.
But Winter Park's identity is at stake. If one rogue burger joint can come to Park Avenue and have the gall to take orders at a counter, what's to stop the fast-food hordes from descending?
A Firehouse Subs, which has agreed to provide table service per the city's rules, is already on the way.
"Now, unfortunately, there is a concern that any franchise could modify their business model and we could have golden arches with table service," said Jeff Briggs, Winter Park's development director.
McDonald's? On the avenue? Excuse me while I choke on my $11 cheeseburger and onion rings from BurgerFi.
It's not that all fast food is bad. Or that all chain restaurants are soulless.
But fast food and chain restaurants can be like Dementors, sucking the very life essence from Park Avenue.
People love the avenue because it offers something unique. A mix of stores and dining spots — some actually owned by people who live here — that you can't find anywhere else.
It's walkable. It's pretty. The people-watching is grand.
But an influx of fast food would leave the strip with all the distinction of the food court at Altamonte Mall.
A sense of place is all about offering something extraordinary.
It's not easy. You have to be willing to be a little selective, if that's what it takes, to make it happen.
That doesn't mean every place has to be expensive. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The right mix is important for Park Avenue.
I like that there's a Panera there. And Power House Cafe, which offers a mix of counter and table service. I like that you can buy jeans at the Gap and also shop locally-owned boutiques.
But BurgerFi is threatening to upset the delicate balance. City officials say it was supposed to offer table service when it opened last July.
It offers table service as an option. Technically. But walk into this place and it's set up like any burger joint. Menu on a big board. Cashiers at registers waiting to take your order.
BurgerFi is, however, a good fit for Park Avenue. The food is good. And, just a block from the Rollins campus, the lunch crowd Monday was steady with students and business people.
It's just that BurgerFi's nose-thumbing at the rules could mean that Firehouse Subs could try to skirt the rules too when it opens. And then what's next? Taco Bell?
Park Avenue is a local jewel. There's nothing snobby about protecting that.