I noticed in walking around The District in Tustin last week how deserted the place was. No, not the Costco part or the part where Target and Whole Foods continue to snarl up traffic; but the area around the theater. After the failure of Borders and Chaparosa Grill a few months ago, the quiet subset of The District called The Promenade could use a few tumbleweeds to complete the effect. Though the eateries on the outer edges of it, like JT Schmid's and Bluewater Grill are doing fine, go closer to the center of the plaza and you encounter empty shop after empty shop. It's eerie.
It is because of this that when Paigean--the Vietnamese restaurant that replaced Asian Mint--went belly up about three months ago, no one noticed. Word is that the original family that opened Asian Mint is already back at work at La Pho in Quail Hill.
And last week, when I got closer to the AMC, I noticed that Red Brick Pizza is also gone, with a sign outside heralding a new store coming soon called Mob Town Pizza. Perhaps the employment of an ethnic stereotype might change its luck?
Also earlier today, the Orange County Register noticed that Pablo's Cantina closed last Friday. This comes not as a shock. Honestly I thought they called it quits when they changed their logo from one font to another. But it is now obvious that what I saw was perhaps merely a last ditch effort to re-brand itself. Now that it's closed, it follows Pablo's Cantina's flagship store in Hawaii into the abyss. That restaurant, located in a touristy mall in Honolulu, closed in early June.