Thursday, August 16, 2007

Small Bites (aka Tapas)!

Everything is coming up tapas, or as Michael Bauer over at the SF Chron calls it "the blatant misuse of the term 'tapas'" Along with Bauer, I'm officially over non-Spanish restaurants calling small plates "tapas" in an effort to get in on the craze. It's silly, really, when so many ethnic food cultures have similar concept with their *own* terms. Tapas, everyone!

Downtown O'Malia's Renovations Underway: Finally, at long last, the downtown O'Malia's is getting an expansion and face lift. Marsh backed off their request to ask the city for tax abatements and work started right away. Store employees say the project will be completed by November. (Maybe they'll finally get rid of that funky smell back in the dairy section.)

City Market Gets a Loan: IBJ is reporting the City Market has gotten a bank loan for $700K to complete the unfinished renovation work. This whole thing has been such a sad, screwy, misguided project from the beginning. There's just nothing to say, really. Estimated completion date is now mid-November.

Bar Project Falls Through: We've all seen the application in the window of the former Nicky Blaine's space but no one knew quite what was going on. Apparently the application/notice is gone and Cory reports the brokers are looking for a new tenant for the space.

Of Brownouts and Blackouts: Or, power vacuums, you might say. Several local restaurants have fallen victim to the high temperatures and weakened power grids. L'Explorateur lost power last weekend in Broad Ripples brownout, and word had it yesterday that Peterson's was hit in an outage in Fishers. In the "you'd think they'd fix that" department, we found a glitch in over the weekend. In a rush to make reservations for the Twisted Oak dinner at L'Explorateur, we found the restaurant had *disappeared* from their listings! An email to Neal and he rebooted their internal reservations system but one wouldn't think that a computer outage in a restaurant would cause them to vanish from the roll. Hmmmm. Someone should get a man right on that.


CorrND said...

Does anybody have any idea what the O'Malias renovation entails? Are they just sprucing up or actually changing things? In my opinion there are two big areas that need improvement:

1. The cooking school area. Either reopen it for class or gut it and make it useful. For example, put all the beer and wine in there and expand the selection. There's definitely a market for that downtown. It's also a prime corner location on the soon-to-be-completed Cultural Trail -- they could probably be successful with a coffee shop, even with Starbucks basically right across the street.

2. The "Grand Entrance Hall" where the USS Indianapolis guy sits. Why is that there? Anybody that uses Alabama side entrance has to walk all the way down to the parking lot entrance to get into the store anyway. What a complete waste of space. They could expand the reading materials there, or offer a true flower shop (which would also free some produce space).

Assorted other points: I suppose I'm ok with the greeting card section but do we really need a candle section? And why is the gourmet coffee section so huge? In my 5 years in Indy, I've gone up to the counter a couple times but I've hardly ever seen anyone working the counter, let alone anybody asking for coffee. Makes me think the coffee MUST be old and stale. My That space could be better-utilized.

Other than the dirtiness, what other pet peeves do people have about O'Malias?

Anonymous said...

Express aisles!

And I would love to be able to bag my own groceries, but instead I have to stand there idly, like an idiot, because the lanes were designed to keep the customer from helping move the pace along.

peter said...

Great comments by corrnd - just a few reminders of the pathetic state of this store. I've lost count of the number of times I've driven past this dirty and uninviting O'Malia's to shop for groceries, wine and other stuff at Wild Oats, Sunflower Market, and even Super Target. And I don't just work downtown...I live here as well.

Jesus, even the Kroger at Linwood Square on the east side is a finer grocery shopping experience.

I'm hopeful that a Whole Foods or other good alternative arrives someday soon, but I'm sure it will take a while.

CorrND said...

After dinner at R Bistro last night -- the duck confit appetizer and parmesan mousse dessert were highlights at our table of 4 -- I drove past O'Malias. It certainly looks like they're gutting the cooking school. Can't wait to see what their plans are.