This used to be Papoo’s Hot Dog Show. After 60+ years they closed. Renovations are under way to turn it into an Umami Burger. Which is going to be okay because I’ve read that they are keeping some of the signage and designing a Show Burger especially for this location. So, good: they are showing some respect.
When I heard they were taking over the space, I emailed the corporate office with a plea to retain the old building. Never heard a peep from them, but I am willing to take complete credit for saving the building. Ahem.
In my mind’s eye, I can see Maria the waitress striding back and forth behind the counter, hear her East Coast accent calling out my name as I push through the doors. I know the faces of the guys in the kitchen who used to look up and give me a nod when I came in to pick up a breakfast burrito or one of their grilled pastrami Reubens (with avocado on it as a default!). The old red booths and black and white check floor, the secluded outdoor seating area, the faces of the other regulars will always be a part of this neighborhood for me, no matter what.
Imagine, if you will, a walkway between outdoor seating and handicapped parking that leads to one of those classic brick and leaded glass Marie Callender’s restaurants. I didn’t go there often, but I remember the pie cases inside the door, and the huge salad bar, and a handful of company lunches during which I indulged in a pot pie or one of those evil cream soups of theirs.
That’s what occupied this space until about a year ago. Strangely, as I approach I can also see the day deconstruction started, and the scoured lot that developed a few weeks later behind chain link fencing. Months passed. Construction started. I walked past a row of construction workers sitting on boards having their lunch and longed for my camera. All these layers of reality overlap as I tread the smooth pale sidewalk.
And now this edifice. I can’t help but consider what might come next. With any luck it’s the future site of a Starbucks, like so many former banks in Southern California.
I can really see myself settling into a leather chair in that window with a cup of coffee and a notebook.
This is what it is. I don’t have memories of another building here, only other seasons. This has to be the best time to sit out front of Toluca Garden, which is a good Chinese restaurant that serves some Vietnamese specials.
I really hope I don’t ever have to walk by here and bemoan the passing of these crepe myrtles, which were stunning under this morning’s partly cloudy skies.
Is it possible that all of us who recall vivid details about places keep them alive somehow?
This was my first Walk and Click Wednesday. I enjoyed it!