Couldn’t agree more: the Del Taco spaceship is worth saving. That corner of midtown Saint Louis would be cheapened by the loss of it. And yet…
Something struck me on Friday. Driving through a morning’s worth of errands, I noticed a newly-abandoned Jack in the Box restaurant at the corner of Gravois, Gustine and Tholozan. There wasn’t anything especially notable about the business during its lifespan. It was a regular, run-of-the-mill fast food restaurant, located along a busy corridor of the City. Probably, I’ve passed it a couple hundred times without even registering that it was there. The only reason it caught my attention last week was the simple fact that it had recently closed, probably during the latter half of June. This is not the kind of building, or business, that empties with outrage and a Facebook page. It just closes.
Re-watching yesterday’s video on Gurung Bazaar, I was reminded of the disappearance of many fast food restaurants along our busiest streets. At Grand and Chippewa, the McDonald’s became a Vietnamese restaurant, then closed again. Just down the street, a Burker King transitioned into a short life as My Daily Bread & Butter. (A quirky/great name for a diner, I have to admit.) Nearly on the same block, the location of old roast beef chain sits empty. Couple of blocks, three fast food stops, all gone. Go to any part of the City and you’ll see the same thing, with reconfigured uses taking up many of them, while more remain, boarded up and semi-hopeless.
In fact, the Jack in the Box on Gravois is most striking because of the board-up, itself. The simple, gray, wooden planks over the windows make this dowdy building look even more plain and utilitarian. All signage has been stripped away. Take a peek at the picture for proof. Gosh, that is one uninspired piece of architecture! Ready, perhaps, for a nail shop, a beauty supply store, or a phone-and-cigarette emporium. Or, ready to sit for years, like dozens of fast food cousins.
If the Del Taco spaceship gets hit by the wrecking ball, I won’t lose sleep, per se, but will lose a sliver of hope that we have creative minds (with money) in this town. Creative minds (without money), well, that contingent we have in abundance.
What would they suggest for this little box?