Color me tacky and low-rent, but there’s just something homey and inviting about the naive optimism and dauntless ambition behind a strip mall storefront that has been transformed into an enchanting dining experience with a cozy darkened lounge. The practice must have been perfected in places like Texas, Florida, and Dubai, where the blistering heat forces people to scurry from their refrigerated cars to the comfort and safety of the nearest A/C bunker.
Sure, the Downtown Mall (so misguidedly named) is pleasant for a stroll on the way to dinner. You can window shop boutiques while giddily anticipating an after-dinner gelato. You can pass out some loose change along the way and feel good about helping some of the more consistently visible Downtown denizens get closer to their sleepy-time 40-ounce. Yeah, Downtown is special, but at a strip mall, you can park 10′ from the door, leave the rumble of four lanes of high speed traffic safely off to your side, and step into another world—a world of exotic music, aromatic herbs and incense, and luscious cuisine from distant lands.
Read more at c-ville.com.