Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Mystery restaurants aren't very mysterious

While I'm not going to speculate about the name of the mystery chain restaurant that wants approval to build in Burleigh Square (near Lowes, Office Max, Aldi, and some mediocre steak-and-shakes kind of place the name of which escapes me), I can tell you what it will add to Tosa.

Another spike in the coffin of looking like every other commercial strip-dominated city in the country.

For the last couple weeks, I've been working in Door County. Around Ephraim, there's nary a franchise to be seen. Ok: there's a BP gas station. But aside from that, it's a McDonald's/Applebee's-free zone.

And that's one of the reasons people love to go there. Everything is new and different -- or old and different. (Al Johnson's still has a goat-worthy roof.) Smaller, owned by individuals who live there (at least part of the year). Looking at the nonstandard storefronts delights the eye. And your brain has to work just a little bit to process things because there's not already a groove worn deep where the ubiquitous all-the-same-all-the-time-everywhere thoughts connect.

There is nothing "delicate" about negotiations with a national chain whose stores employ 15 people and do mostly carryout food service. It's just business as usual.

The Plan Commision and the mayor are right to resist approving mystery projects. I imagine eventually they'll go ahead and approve it anyway, figuring the area is already doomed. . .I mean, already has the franchise "style" stamped on it.

But if we want Tosa to stay unique, desirable, and a little upscale (not to mention remain a place we'd all like to continue living), it might be better to put the brakes on all franchise restaurants now.

You still won't have to go far for that sub or burrito.

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