Jeff Smith 2:30 p.m., March 4
North Park residents propose alternate design for contested Jack in the Box remodel
"Jack in the Basement" would take drive-through traffic through underground structure, keep remodel "more in tune with neighborhood ethos."
CORNER OF URBAN AUTHENTICITY AND GENTRIFICATION, NORTH PARK - "I'll admit it," says North Park resident/activist/resident activist Kyle Buchanan, "there are times, usually late at night and after I've had a few too many artisanal cocktails at Urban Solace, when I can't be bothered to fire up my Food Truck Tracker app and locate some post-prandial grub. I just want to own my inner corporate whore and mow down a burger and fries. If the corporation in question has a mildly amusing advertising sensibility, so much the better. So yeah, Jack in the Box."
But, says Buchanan, "that proposed remodel on 30th is seriously uncool. Especially the drive through. Can you imagine what the sight of a line of cars, just idling and burning gas, would do to North Park's credibility as San Diego's hipster enclave? It'd be one thing if they had a bikes-only window, but it's a safe bet that's not going to happen."
Also a problem, says Buchanan: the prominent branding and goofy design sensibility that accompanies so many fast-food establishments. "Here in North Park, the people are their own brands. Just because they carry iPhones doesn't mean they're Appleseeds, and just because they eat at Jack in the Box doesn't mean they want to be seen strolling in under a 20-foot backlit logo."
In light of these concerns, Buchanan and some friends got blazed one night and came up with an alternative design plan for the restaurant, one that might satisfy all concerned. "They still get to keep their drive-through, and they get all the additional square footage they wanted. And we get to keep our neighborhood the way we like it. We call it Jack in the Basement. Above ground, it'll look like a one-story warehouse, the sort that might be hosting an impromptu poetry slam. No windows, no signage, just a single steel door for pedestrians and an entrance ramp for cars. Walkers will eat on the ground floor. Drivers will head down like it's a parking garage, only they'll be picking up their food down there and then driving out the other side."
Buchanan admits that "we haven't heard back yet from Jack or the Mayor, but that's mostly because we haven't actually submitted the proposal. We figure that if they're ready for it, they'll come looking for us. And when friends ask where we like to get fast food, we can still say, 'It's this really obscure burger joint; you have to know where it is.'"
More like this:
- Burger chain gang heads to court — Jan. 20, 2015
- City Attorney and Lawyers from Jack in the Box say Mayor Filner's objections to North Park restaurant rebuild a ploy to divert attention from harassment scandal — Aug. 15, 2013
- Lawsuit filed against City of San Diego for allowing fast-food chain Jack in the Box to remodel North Park restaurant — Aug. 12, 2013
- Bob on the Throne, meet Jack in the Box — July 11, 2013
- Garden of Dry Delights — March 25, 1999