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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.'"

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Comments

Bob_Hudson Aug. 16, 2013 @ 5:03 p.m.

So me and my hipster-than-thou peers were engaged in seriously deep discussion one night following several rounds of Stoli and Red Bull (mind you this was before the homophobic Russians gave us good cause to boycott their tasty grain juice). We flashed on the idea that everyone, just everyone loves a poetry slam and that naturally led us down the patch to fast food emporium design, as I'm sure you can all understood (who among you hasn't thought "fast food design!" after getting drunk at Urban Solace?). For those who understand that "prandial" means "a meal" you know that I seek out post-meal meals since I cannot be expected to be satiated with just one prandial. Yes, I am a multi-prandial hipster and proud of it! Now I do take seriously Jack in the Box's intent in North Park, and while my inner whore will continue to treat me to those post-prandial burgers (don't you love it when the whore treats!), I vow to not listen to Jack FM until the new design includes a subterranean tunnel and only one above ground sign, "No Burgers Here."

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dwbat Aug. 16, 2013 @ 5:04 p.m.

Actually I think you are on to something here. Tres funky chic! I think it would catch on. Who needs exposed ceilings/brick walls when you can have exposed basement plumbing, bad lighting, peeling paint and rodent traps to improve the ambiance?

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Yankeedoodle Aug. 18, 2013 @ 9:56 a.m.

Funny piece. Of course the objection has absolutely nothing to do with hipster types who never bother to go to square things like planning committee meetings. It has to do with the drive-in part of Jack that is now illegal, and with Jack thinking it doesn't have to abide by the same rules as the other business owners do...one set of rules for them, another for Jack, because actually, it's Jack who thinks it is too precious to abide by the rules. Or maybe, just maybe Jack knows somebody at City Hall....now who could that be? Whose name also starts with a J....

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UnbelievableSanDiego Aug. 22, 2013 @ 8:24 a.m.

Latest update: Jack in the Box FINALLY likes a community idea for its North Park re-construction project we can ALL get in line for! Not only will it put in the drive-through basement, but it will extend it via a tunnel passing through pick-up windows also for Cardamom Cafe and Zensei Sushi, exiting on 30th. Wow! What a great way to avoid putting in a safe, pedestrian "walkable" street and intersection on Upas! Way to go, Jack! For more project info see, https://www.facebook.com/DoTheRIghtThingJack

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dlwatib Aug. 22, 2013 @ 11:03 p.m.

Seems to me that rational people would prefer to eat in a nice, new, clean restaurant that is up to current corporate standards. Yes, they're going to want to put up a sign or two outside so people will know where to get their favorite Jumbo Jack, Coke and fries. No, that's not going to destroy the neighborhood. Telling them they can't have a drive-up window is one zoning restriction too many.

Get over it. Go fight over an issue that people actually care about.

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UnbelievableSanDiego Aug. 22, 2013 @ 11:34 p.m.

You must not live next door, or anywhere nearby, 'cause you probably don't know about the cars lining up on residential Dale Street, just feet from the Upas intersection where you've had to turn left and race oncoming traffic, all the while others turning right from 30th are about to hit you. Right?

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Yankeedoodle Aug. 23, 2013 @ 6:18 a.m.

How about a drive-up window without the squawk box going into the middle of the night with neighbors right next door? Yes, houses right next door that were built and occupied by people long before Jack built its restaurant and later added the drive-up portion. People who live there do care about it, that's why they have signs up that say We Like You, Jack, But Not Your Drive- through. Maybe you don't care but they do. Maybe you think it's okay to thumb your nose at the law. Others do not agree with you.

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