Sunday, April 27, 2008

AUGH! The End is Near

Just a couple of posts ago I expressed my fears that my mom-and-pop-dominated neighborhood is slowly being taken over by chains.

You can't believe my horror when I saw last night that a Starbucks had opened on my strip. Not only was it a Starbucks, but it was two doors down from the independent coffee house, Cafe Mozart and a block from The Tea House, which also does specialty coffee. Cafe Mozart has outdoor seating, live entertainment on weekends, and they serve actual hot dinners. Their desserts are far superior as well, so maybe they stand a chance. The writing is on the wall for The Tea House though (although their desserts are the best of the lot).

I try to hold out some hope. Last night Kevin and I had dinner at the excellent (and fairly new) independent Indian restaurant down the street, Rani Mahal. We stopped for dessert at Sal's Gelateria. This place is very new, but is owned by a local institution, Sal's Pizza. The gelato flavors were excellent. I had bacio (like the Baci candy) and he had caramello. This place is thriving while Hagen Daaz and Coldstone have both come and gone.

The fate of the Jolly Trolley though reminds us to be grateful. for those few mom-and-pop places left. I found out the restaurant closed due to losing its lease. The building may be knocked down and turned into waterfront condos. It may also become a Pizza Hut. If it becomes a Pizza Hut, I will laugh instead of cry. You know why? Because a Pizza Hut is doomed to fail. With the famous Sal's and two other pretty good independent pizza places in the neighborhood, no one wants to eat at Pizza Hut around here. I remember in high school, growing up in a neighboring town, they tried to open a Dominos down the street from me. Quick delivery gimmick aside, it failed miserably. Why order from Dominos when Mama Sofia's was on the next block and it was a thousand times better?


Emiline said...

Where do you live?! All of these little places sound great.
I have no choice, but to go to Starbucks. We don't have anything else! I adore little cafes.

We Are Never Full said...

oh my lord... you're so right. the end is near...everywhere! i'm really so sick how you almost have to be a rich corporation in order to make it anywhere these days. it's so sad. even here in brooklyn, starbucks have managed to take business away from the little mom and pop shops. if we didn't have such a big group of people who are corporate haters here, starbucks would've flushed out all the competition! fortunately, we have lots of people who refuse to give them their business.

maybe you could start passing the word around around your area to tell people to boycott Starbucks? in order to keep the small shop open?

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Em - I live about 25 miles north of Manhattan, so I kind of get the best and worst of both worlds. On one hand I'm close enough to the city for people to care about unique experiences, but it's suburban enough to have families with kids who are afraid of eating out of the comfort zone.

Wanf- You can't escape the influence of Starbucks and its ilk. They really are everywhere. I go to London about once a year for business and on the block where my usual hotel is, there are FOUR Starbucks. Let me point out that three of them are all on the same street and on the same side. It's nuts. Even in other countries you can't escape the corporate dominance.

Emiline said...

Oh, I think that would be a good location to live in.