I live in a pretty depressed area. Industries have left here. Johnson Shoes was founded here and, more importantly, so was IBM. When IBM left, there was a lot of housing inventory. Even years later, we got a good buy on a house because they’d left. It had been on the market for a year. If we leave here, it will be difficult to unload.
This is the best area I’ve ever lived in for good Southern Italian food aside from maybe when I was a kid, because the area has a high Italian population. The pizza around here isn’t completely outstanding but the average here is a whole lot better than I’ve become used to over the years. Unfortunately, my wife’s and daughter’s idea of good pizza is Papa John, both of them having relatively deprived upbringings when it comes to pizza, so I eat that more than the good stuff. And I can stop at a local hamische (I’ll translate that from Yiddish on request) restaurant that doesn’t take reservations and serves cannoli exactly like I think cannoli should taste.
One of the better places around here doesn’t use boxes for carry out pizza; instead, they take a large sheet of paper like butcher paper, lay the pizza on it, and tie the ends above the pizza. You carry it from above where it’s tied. Unfortunately, pizza doesn’t stay hot that way. Why do they do it that way? Because that’s how they did it when they opened in 1946 and it’s how they still do it.
There are a lot of failed places to eat around here, vacant restaurants, particularly small Italian places that probably mainly sold pizza. They often stay vacant for a long time. I’ve been here over a year and a half and some places have been vacant for as long as I’ve lived here. A little after we moved here, the bagel place down the hill from us closed. The people who owned it got better jobs and couldn’t sell the business. It was turning a profit and they were selling for less than their equipment was worth, but no takers.
However, once in a while someone else tries to make a go of it at the same location. And that’s what this sign is. An Italian place closed, just left its sign up, and a Chinese place is taking over the location and isn’t yet open. And hasn’t yet taken down the special in place when the old place closed.
So this rather sad looking sign actually shows that things are looking up. A location will become active again.
I hope they make it. And I hope their food is good enough to make it.