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Today Katharine Shilcutt wrote about Houston's ugliest restaurant buildings, speculating that maybe Houston is ignored on the national scene because of all our strip malls.
Commenter Helen had a different perspective:
The best sushi restaurant when I lived in San Diego was in the saddest, dingiest little strip mall with a 7-11 and a Planned Parenthood for neighbors. And by best, I don't mean my personal favorite (though it was), I mean universally regarded as THE best in the whole city, can't get a seat without a reservation. Even beautiful towns have fantastic restaurants in ugly strip malls, it's not just us.
I don't think it is restaurants in ugly strip malls holding Houston back from national recognition. I think it's just the usual East Coast/West Coast elitism, same as always. We're backwater hicks in flyover country. If it ain't barbecue or steak or smothered in gravy (chili or cream), no one wants to hear from Texas. And if they do, it's Austin or Dallas they're interested in. In my experience, Houstonians seem MORE prejudiced against restaurants in ugly strip malls or rundown old buildings or sketchy areas than people in LA or San Francisco (and I would hazard NYC as well) because real estate is so much cheaper here.
Tell us, EOW Nation: Are you afraid of strip malls?