Night Music: California Dreaming

November 2, 2015

Changes on The Drive #51

November 2, 2015

I am so glad I skipped out on the downpour yesterday because today was just a fabulous fall day, with more and more blue sky appearing every minute.  Perfect weather for a walk.

Down at the south end of the Drive, one of the old Kingdom Products storefronts at 2247 Commercial has been taken over by Recharge Nutrition Bar. We have a few of those on the Drive now.

2015 Nov Recharge

Next door, the other storefront at 2245 remains vacant (after 12 months).

Across the street, at 2270, a new owner took over the place last month, and what was, briefly, a restaurant called Wishes and Luck is now the Cabrito Tapas.  I look forward to trying it; it has been a while since we had a tapas place here.

2015 Noc Cabrito

Also in the Marquee Building, the old presentation storefront at 2240 is still vacant (3 months).

At 1729, the JNZ deli is now back in full operation and doing gangbusters business so far as I can tell.  Great to have them back.

The apartments in the Odlin Block at 1610 Commercial still seem to be vacant, as is the old Strawberry Bakery spot in Il Mercato (10 months).

One block further north, the Liquor Store building has been undergoing a thorough paint job for the last month or so.

2015 Nov Liquor copy

At the north end of the same building, the Roma Caffe seems to have had a change of name, to the Grant Street Social House.  I emailed them a week ago to check on this, but haven’t had a response yet. There was no-one there to check with this morning.

2015 Nov Roma


After just one month vacant, it appears the storefront at 1503 Commercial is to be taken over by Columbus Travel. Their old spot above Black Dog Video is shown as for lease.

2015 Nov Columbus


Elizabeth Bakery has completed it move into the the north half of 1399 Commercial.

2015 Nov Elizabeths


Their old spot at 1303 Commercial is now vacant, but we hear that Andre Montagliani who runs Renzo’s Cafe has plans for the space.

Also still vacant are 1340 (8 months), 1268 (29 months), and 1108 Commercial (19 months).  Someone with a better head for economics than me needs to explain to me the value in keeping these stores vacant instead of reducing the rent to an attractive price.

The old Peg building is now boarded up while a contractor is renovating the store.  I understsnd they will also renovate the apartments above, but the storefront is first priority.

2015 Nov Peg


Next door, above Penelope’s, the Marijuana Lifestyle store is one of two dope stores ordered closed with immediate effect by City Council. No sign of any mass exodus this morning, though.

The restaurant site at 950 Commercial is still closed (10 months) and the long-promised Nonna’s seems as far from opening as ever.  The old Money Mart at 902 is also still vacant (6 months) and, while Robyn’s Pharmacy still intends to expand into the space, I understand there are delays with City licensing.


Previous Changes On the Drive editions

Poem: Just Like In The Movies

November 2, 2015


they circled the building on foot



as the rain pelted down

hard like hail


on the street

they mugged as tough guys

in the streaming glass

of shop windows

images bouncing from the curved edges

of drops


in the back lane they each had time

to be shy with themselves

wish themselves luck

to be quiet and to suck up

the fear


the third time round

soaked to the skin

they had had enough

headed for the door

she had on a false nose and a hat

gap-teeth and a grin

he had a honey-blonde wig and a gun


the bank was silent

no more


“Hands Up!”