I did the walk in blazing heat yesterday because the weather forecast was for even hotter today. Finding good shade became like a little game, amply rewarded when found.
Cabrito restaurant at 2070 Commercial is having a community paella event on August 15. Sounds like tasty fun.
The new Poke 5 at 2247 Commercial gets a decent review.
The space at 2080 Commercial is still vacant but is going to be filled in a month or so by Elephant Garden Creamery, a really popular ice cream maker. The Everloving prefers gelato, but I’m looking forward to the soft serve!
The old laundromat at 2058 Commercial which has been closed for a couple of months is still papered over now has a new sign, so perhaps a new laundromat is in the offing?
As most readers will know, First Avenue has been closed this summer for gas line laying. I’m sure it has caused problems for drivers but also for some businesses it seems. For example, Cassia Bake, just around the corner on First has been very public with its concerns and threats to close. I find this a bit odd as they are literally just 10 steps away from the Drive, so foot traffic cannot have been greatly affected. They didn’t do all that well when they were in a storefront on the Drive, so who knows whether the road closure has really affected their sales.
The former Strawberry Bakery location inside Mercato Mall is still being renovated for Bench Bakehouse. The space has been vacant almost four years.
There has been a full-scale renovation at First Care Medical, which now includes an in-clinic pharmacy.
Mezcaleria at 1622 Commercial gets plaudits for its vegetarian tacos.
Merchants Workshop, 1590 Commercial, is to close August 16: Note the successful opening of their chicken joint at 905 Commercial. But the space will not long be vacant; it is already booked for The Ugly Dumpling; high concept Asian street food — is set for opening at the beginning of September.
Absinthe Bistro at 1260 Commercial gets a good review here for its French food.
The Sula Restaurant at 1128 has new art work on its exterior. I winder of that is the response to the new competition for Indian food diners (see below).
There are problems at the Food Co-op at 1034 Commercial. The opening of Choices across the street has brought significant competition. It will be a real shame for both the Drive and the cooperative movement if we lose this excellent outlet.
The new Bombay Indian restaurant is still renovating 1026 Commercial. When it is open we will have the choice of three Indian food places on the Drive.
The old Bosa Grocery building at 956 Commercial has finally opened as a medical/fitness centre.
A month after opening, the Downlow Chicken place at 905 Commercial is still drawing line-up crowds at lunchtime. They are also still drawing publicity. I still haven’t tried it — fried chicken is not my favourite — but I’ll get there soon, I am sure.
Vacant/closed/renovating stores on the Drive this month: 2240 Commercial (5 months vacant), 2082 (7 months), 2084 (7 months), 2086 (7 months), 2088 (7 months), 2058 (3 months), 1810 (5 months), 1812 (5 months), 1801 (19 months), Strawberry Bakery site (43 months), 1408 (4 months), 1399 (3 months), 1303 (20 months), 1268 (11 months), 1151 (7 months), 1026 (2 months).
For those interested in the development and history of retail shops, there is a very informative piece in the Guardian about the problems of British High Streets.
Previous editions of Changes on the Drive.