CLINTON — Rose Graves purchased 1004 N. Second St. three years ago with family in mind. A nurse by trade, Graves wanted to create a space for her autistic son Makenzie to realize his dream of being a chef. Her other sons, Sterling and Ronald, her husband, Ron, and her mother Bonnie Casey all pitched in to make the business a close-knit endeavor locals appreciate.
Graves drenched the space with family values, quoting togetherness throughout the peach-colored interior of the Unicorn. And she fell in love with her creation — the history of the century-old building, her family home above, the R and R Farms garden beside and the people who adored her restaurant below.
“When I reopened this place, I had people come in with tears rolling down their face,” Graves said. “They said to me, ‘Please don’t ever let this place close.’ I told them I’d do my best.”
Now, with family in mind, Graves has made the painful decision to close the Unicorn at the end of July. She said two of her infant grandchildren have glycerol kinase deficiency — an extremely rare genetic disorder that requires extensive health care. It affects fewer than 200,000 people nationwide, and Graves said there are few specialists who can treat it.
She is leaving the Unicorn so she can use her nursing background to care for them. Graves said there’s no mistaking what was the right call. Even so, speaking about the Unicorn’s closure is a struggle that brings her to tears.
“This wasn’t an easy decision to make,” Graves said. “This isn’t just a business. This is our home, we live here. This wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I know it was the right one to make. But it will still be... it’ll still be hard to do.