Anaheim's El Patio Drive In is rallying a Mexi food militia against plans to bulldoze the shopping center where it has stood for decades. The hole-in-the-wall on the city's west side sounded the alarm on Facebook telling its loyal legion that Frontier Real Estate Investments, with Anaheim's all-too-eager blessing, wants to raze existing businesses in favor of putting up a McDonald's, Rite Aide and other bland retail outlets!
The shopping center, by the intersection of La Palma and Magnolia avenues, is in need of some TLC, no doubt. The pavement is grey, cracked and uneven. It needs repaving with parking lot spaces that actually make sense. Gang graffiti gets sprayed more often since the closing of Ibarra's grocery years ago. The store fronts, mostly Vietnamese barbershops, liquor stores and ethnic eateries, could use a paint job and facelift like Ball and Euclid Plaza underwent. But outright demolition?
Oh and did I forget to mention the shopping center is also the longtime home of The Glo Room, the best damn neighborhood dive bar in North OC masterfully profiled by Taylor Hamby's "Dive, Dive My Darling" column? Maybe Kay the Bartender will take her saucy ways to city council. Now that would be free speech fun!
There's no doubt Anaheim's notorious NIMBY's are behind this somehow. In late December 2013, they got city council to put up a 90-day barricade walling off an entrance to the shopping center from the adjacent residential neighborhood by deeming it an alley. This September, the AnaWhiners moved to eventually make it a permanent "traffic calming" measure–a euphemism for their never-ending complaints about the shopping center.
In the meantime, the fight is on! El Patio, a Mexi food joint revered for so long that even old white flight gabachos still come back to Anaheim just to place an order, started a petition. They are asking their patrons to stop by and lend their signatures ahead of a Monday meeting with the city planning department.
Anaheim officials and real estate pendejos: Beware of the coming burrito brigade!
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2