I saw the "Available" signs as I drove by on First Street, and I nearly slammed my brakes right there in the middle of the road.
I peeked inside and it looked like the place had been ransacked. Toppled shelves. Half-filled moving boxes. Chairs in disarray. No one in sight.
An eviction notice from the Orange County Sheriff dated 4/23/2009 is taped to the door. On it, bold-faced letters read: "
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SHOW ME HOW
It's always sad to see a place you like disappear, especially when it comes so suddenly; but it's quite another see it happen to a restaurant that you recently wrote about in hopes that more people would discover it.
I have my guesses as to why they couldn't make it. A bad location? Maybe. Not enough word-of-mouth? Possible. The recession? Most likely a factor, especially for new restaurants. When times are tight, diners are disinclined to gamble on a place they don't already now. On my last visit, there was only one other party in the restaurant with us. And I'm not sure how well it did before or after that. But what I'm sure of one thing: that location has seen its fair share of failed restaurants.
Before I saw Haru Izakaya debut there last fall, there was Sushi Nizi. Before that, it was the laughably-named Fish-Shin.
What will end up there next? We shall see. And I shall watch with a keen eye of its fate.