Image: Bacon

August 1, 2016

bacon small

Changes On The Drive #60

August 1, 2016

Really pleasant weather for walking these last few days; sunny with hot spots in places, cool shadows in others — loved it!

Starting as usual at the south end, we note that 2245 Commercial (vacant 22 months), 2240 (12 months), and 1850 Commercial (5 months) are still vacant

Earlier last month, this mouth-challenging item called Good Morning Vietnam from the Cannibal Cafe at 1818 Commercial — with lemongrass chicken, bacon, egg, etc., etc — was someone’s Burger of the Month:

Cannibal burger


In Il Mercato Mall, the old Lombardo’s2Go space is still vacant (6 months), as is the the former Strawberry Bakery site (19 months).

The Libra Room at 1608 now looks very closed.

2016 Libra Room

That’s kind of sad. I hope it is revived as a live music venue. The apartments above still don’t look occupied. This is an important central core block for the Drive and it needs to be kept active and alive.

The four burned apartments above People’s Book Store in the 1300-block have not yet been fixed according to a resident.  However, the storefront next to Renzo’s has a new business:  a clothing store.

2016 Korma

Across the street, the space at 1704 Charles is till vacant (1 month).  The former pet store at 1280 Commercial is also vacant (4 months), as is 1108 (28 months).

The Natsuni Ramen restaurant is now officially opened at 1179 Commercial.

2016 Natsumi

At 1011 Commercial, the office space upstairs from Penelope’s is now vacant. It has latterly been an office for an online marijuana dispensary. 1035 is vacant again this month but Choices are still working on the interior.

Note the Abstract Cafe in that orphaned little mall around the corner at Venables, is now open. It used to be a vape space.

Finally, 902 is still vacant (15 months) — permit issues for a methadone dispensary I understand.


* * *


This edition of the Changes on the Drive completes five full years of monthly reviews. I look forward to doing them each month and I hope to carry on with them for a long while for the historical record. Included below is my second annual survey of businesses on the Drive.

The definitions for the survey are: (a) all storefronts between south side Venables and north side E. 7th Avenue; (b) ground floor retail space only; (c) fronting Commercial Drive only; (d) exclude government and similar offices (5 storefronts).

Drive stores 2015-2016



Previous Changes on the Drive editions.

Poetry: Fog

August 1, 2016


The smog-laden tangerine fog

tinted by a million lamplights

lays heavy tonight;

the busy rustle of the city’s moves

lost in its depths

like the delicate harmonies of a dulcimer

played in the attic as heard in the basement.

Closer, much closer, I hear

the lazy rustle of the scorpion

picking carelessly at a pecan shell.

I blink in the orange darkness.