K. Mennem 8:48 a.m., May 20
Worthy businesses are few and far between. Which is why, when I come across one, I toot its horn at every available opportunity. The decades-old culture of corporate nonaccountability, greed, wastefulness, and me-firstism has suffused just about everything one sees and experiences in the postmodern dystopia of the 21st century US; waking up from that, or being better than that ("that" comprising over ninety percent of all commerce), is not only noteworthy, it becomes an act of rebellion, a moral and heroic stand.
Something like five years ago there was this fast food joint on Rainbow and Palm. Cockroaches everywhere. Questionable meat between stale hamburger buns. Greasy fries. Noncommittal, apathetic help. In other words, surfer chic. The business, thankfully, went under. And in went Meijo Sushi.
I was one of their very first customers. Back in those days I had a lot more cash than now, and after my first meal there, which was great, I tipped the waitress $20.
But I was also tipping--more like tithing--the restaurant gods to smile down on this new IB establishment. Because the owners had really cleaned up the place, had taken time and care to scrub the walls and kill the cockroaches and remove the surfer chic that seems to infest so many businesses and attitudes here. The food was very reasonably priced (just the other night my friend and I had: two eight-piece spicy rolls of hamachi and eel; a katsudan bowl, an appetizer, and a bowl of miso soup--all for $20); the wait-staff greeted me warmly and made me feel at home; the preparation was quick and professional; and the atmosphere was comfortable and social, though I was basically the only person there.
I made it a point to go back every week. Each time I did I uttered a prayer for the business, hoping it wouldn't drown in the apathy which seems to fester so thickly in these parts. I've seen no fewer than three dozen businesses open their doors, only to close them a year later from that apathy. Imperial Beach isn't exactly the warmest or friendliest place to do business, believe me.
Fast forward five years.
Meijo Sushi, against all odds, against the endless local high tide of indifference, has thrived. My friend and I went there Tuesday--and the joint was fairly hoppin'. On a Tuesday. Anybody who has lived around here for any amount of time knows how dead Imperial Beach is Tuesdays. But Meijo Sushi has somehow overcome the obstacles and is now doing some real business--even on Tuesdays. It made me smile.
Sometimes the cottony, suffocating death of indifference can be overcome. Thank God.
So: make some plans to visit this little eatery soon. It's located on the corner of Rainbow Drive and Palm Avenue. They're open every day except Sunday. No cockroaches. No surfer chic. No potheaded wait help, questionable meat, stale buns. No apathy. Just great sushi and a smile.