Long before the comida rica of Festiva, Monon 16 housed a variety of local flavors. Baked goods, fresh fish, and deli meat are just a few of the fares you could enjoy back in the day. It was a simpler time then, when you could grab a bologna sandwich at the corner store for less than what a pack of gum costs today, or share a basket of fries with friends at the fish market after school. Residents recall the local bakery of their childhood, Omar Bakery, where they would go to snack on the broken cookies that weren’t fit to be sold in store. Before the days of large grocery stores, these local business were the lifeblood of the community. They employed residents, looked over the children, and inspired young patrons to open their own businesses.
Food is something that always connects people. Something that is meant to be shared because it is so easily understood, it’s common ground for all people to stand on. Sharing a meal means sharing time between neighbors. It means sharing stories, recipes, and life experiences. And even though these businesses are gone, there are more to come.
Festiva is just the start of a new culinary community. Barbecue will remain in the lineup, but a coffee shop and a distillery will be welcome additions. Surely these new places of congregation will have a similar effect as their predecessors in bringing patrons and neighbors closer together, and we all look forward to making our own connections there in the future. Buen provecho.