Dry rot is a problem in Eugene. Wood + rain = inevitable, hidden structural issues that you sometimes don’t notice until your foot goes through the floor, the floor that looked perfectly solid a minute ago. With the economy the way it is, we’ll start seeing the effects of dry rot all over town: businesses that looked perfectly solid a minute ago, and then suddenly turn to sawdust.
I’ll be really sorry to see Bel Ami go. It officially closed on Saturday night without any advance notice to its loyal customers and at least some of the staff. Great drinks, GREAT drinks, with top-notch ingredients that were worth every penny. Wonderful people behind the bar. You know how I feel about Maestro Morgenthaler, but Scott and Rico are fine individuals in their own right, and the atmosphere in the bar was cozy and welcoming.
As more businesses fail in our little town — and it’s a hard fact that they will — I’d like to urge business owners again to not be complete schmucks and give their employees as much time as possible to find new places of employment before shutting the doors. Don’t let this become a trend in Eugene or any small town with a cash flow problem.
I’ve said it before, with Zenon’s sudden demise, and I’ll say it again. With so many of us living paycheck to paycheck, having a couple of weeks notice (just like we would give you if quitting) can be the difference between paying rent and not paying rent, buying food or not buying food, having gas for the car or not having gas for the car, keeping the car or selling the car. Frankly, I don’t find any of the arguments about how hard it is to be a small business owner compelling when used as an excuse for unceremoniously dumping one’s team. Did this happen at Bel Ami? I can’t say for sure. But I sure hope it didn’t, and I hope it won’t happen anywhere, because it’s such a shitty thing to do it will earn you enough bad karma points to land you a gig as a dry rot fungus in your next life.
So, on to happier news, before I gnash my teeth down to sawdust…
Pho Yi Shen and its sister market, Yi Shen, have moved from their small quarters on Chambers just a few blocks down W. 11th, just east of Garfield. They are occupying the cute, funky wood and glass building formerly dba a nursery whose name I’ve forgotten. Finally, this Asian market with a Vietnamese/Thai focus, and its little Vietnamese restaurant, has enough space for their vision. I stopped by the other day for a pho. It’s not the best Vietnamese I’ve ever had, but it’s good and cheap, and well worth the visit. This is a local business that is unusual and authentic, and they can use your support. If you’ve never had Vietnamese food, check it out. You can make it a multicultural field trip and check out the great stuff on the shelves, too. They have cooking equipment, dried Chinese herbs, fresh Asian vegetables, Thai sauces, and everything in between. The selection is quite different from Sunrise’s Korean-focused market, so expect another world opening up to you.
And lastly but not leastly, the Register-Guard reports that Cornucopia is opening up the same world in a second location in the restaurant formerly occupied by Chanterelle. Another burger joint. The same exact menu. Jesus H. Christ. I actually like Cornucopia’s burgers, and we eat there frequently, but I really wish they’d expand their repertoire. Stop the “burger movement” madness! Poor does not equal wanting to eat burgers. If there’s one charming, casual Eugene eatery that could flourish under a new chef and complete menu revamp, it’s Cornucopia. Where’s Gordon Ramsay when you need him?