by Dan Johnson
Here’s something you don’t hear every day in America: I am not some craven despot trying to force small businesses into oblivion to satisfy the gaping appetite of my own ego.
I am human. I am prone to mistakes and bad judgment from time to time. I do my best to get it right. I really sincerely strive not to add heartache to the world.
Given this mindset, I was disturbed to discover that a friend of mine whose opinions I sincerely respect took offense to a previous review of Arda’s Greek Café (INSERT TREMENDOUS HYPERLINK HERE). If you recall, I gave Arda’s a “0” on the binary because they overcharged me and the food that took forever to arrive tasted as if it had been made in a vat of decade-old peanut butter.
My friend politely offered that I was off-base. The business, after all, is a family owned affair that is long-tenured in Downtown. When exactly it opened I am not sure, but I can vouch for it being “Pre-GQ.” (Incidentally, if you were looking for a good metric for businesses, go ahead and figure out if they opened before or after that gushing fluff piece about #DTLA as the next best place for aspiring undercuts to latch on to in a faulty and misguided expression of their desperately wanting attempts at individuality).
I am not unreasonable nor am I stuck to my opinions. “What the hell,” I said, “let’s give Arda’s another go.”
On my last visit to the Pershing Square adjacent Greekery, a falafel plate became fodder for a staggeringly dismissive condemnation of the flawed plaza as a whole. With my return, I hoped to explore the American side of the menu to discover some sort of possible through line by which I could make PS into something other than the PoS it is.
Good news/bad news: I was charged the correct amount for my veggie burger/fries/beverage combo. $8.18 was the butcher’s bill. Unfortunately, that burger could be deemed excellent in only one category—it’s ability to underwhelm.
Sorry Pershing Square. No redemption for you.
As I finished off my Sysco Medium Gauge Fries ™, I looked across the way at a happy jeweler staring at his receipt through those awkward coke-bottle magnifying glasses. Epiphany time: maybe it’s all my fault.
This sentiment has made shockwaves through the population of sensible people left in America. After the election and the ensuing onrush of support for entitled ignorance, it’s fallen on us “libtards” to descend into a pit of self-criticism ringed with guilt. Who the hell am I, after all, to judge an enduring business on the products it offers? Are my privileges so unchecked that I would deign it appropriate to diarrhea all over their happy lunchtime fiefdom with my accusations of an unsatisfactory product? Plenty of other people seem to be enjoying it.
Here’s something you don’t hear every week: I was wrong. Arda’s you are a “1” on the binary. The idea of your food may make me cringe. The reality of waiting another seventeen minutes for a burger that decrepit fills my soul with weariness. I am actively heating up some sort of Trader Joe’s Indian hot-pocket type thing so I don’t have to confront this meal via a burp. But, goddam it, in these United States, a brand is only as good as the people who don’t know any better and can be convinced to give their whole-hearted loyalty to a given product.
In that, Arda’s, you’ve won.