End of a Dubious Era...
The mysterious Chinese restaurant in my neighborhood gets even more mysterious.
Only a few months after I speculated about the very existence of the mysterious Chinese restaurant in my neighborhood, the one that has been there for all of the 16-plus years I’ve been in the area and where, as far as I know, I have been the only customer, I walked past it recently and received a mild shock.
It’s up for sale.
In the big picture window of the restaurant is a handmade sign with “Business for sale” and a phone number written in marker on white posterboard. There’s another sign with the same message on the front door, in case you missed the one five feet to the left.
I’m not going to pretend it’s like the passing of an era, the departure of an old friend or any of that melodramatic crap where you try to affix human qualities to an inanimate object. Hell, I get upset with people refer to pets as their “babies” and those dogs, cats and finches are living, breathing things. And like I said in the previous post, the food kinda sucked and it was a little creepy in there, not the sort of qualities you spend time reminiscing over. (“Yeah, remember that restaurant we went to where we threw up immediately afterwards? You know, the one with the club-footed waiter and the rat in the corner that stared at us the whole time we ate? Yeah, good times…”).
But I have to admit, it did make me stop for a second. I mean, the place seems like it’s been there so long that horse-drawn carriages probably brought the first shipment of wonton wrappers. So to see a “for sale” sign in the window, especially coming not too long after pondering this weird little restaurant’s place in my immediate universe, well, it’s a little strange.
Now you just have to wonder what the hell made them arrive at the decision to bail out after, oh, about five years of not having a single customer? What make that elderly Asian woman turn to that elderly Asian man one day and say, “You know, we haven’t had a single freakin’ customer in five freakin’ years. I’m 91 and you’re 100… maybe we should think about retiring.”
Could the death blow have been the brand spanking new Thai restaurant that opened up across the street, the one with the clean floors, cool Ikea-looking wooden tables and chairs and the people behind the counter who DON’T look like they spent time in a WWII internment camp in California? Yeah, yeah, I know…Thai…Chinese, two different things, but to a lot of folks, “noodles is noodles”. And in this battle of Asian food supremacy on Bryn Mawr Ave., the new place won hands down.
Then again, it could just be a case of “striking while the iron’s hot.” In the past two years there have been a flurry of new businesses opening up on the strip: Starbucks, an upscale-ish Mexican restaurant, the Thai place, a new bank, a White Hen Pantry, a small storefront theater, a new version of a famous fancy-schmancy French restaurant that has its main digs in the well-to-do area of Lakeview/Wrigleyville, condos both new and converted popping up like weeds. Maybe the owners just figured now was the time to sell, to get some of that greedy developer money and jump on a slow boat to … well.
Whatever the reason, they’re leaving and it’s going to be… well, I don’t know what it’s going to be. Different… how about that?