By Genevieve A. Suzuki
When it was time to select a place to host our office’s annual holiday get-together, I wanted to stay in La Mesa. Last year and the year prior we went to Bertrand at Mister A’s, which, while it is a beautiful venue, is in Bankers Hills. Our meals were nice enough, but something about it lacked heart.
In 2015, we decided to book a spot in town. My dear friend and dentist, Dr. Brian Suzuki, always encourages me to support our local merchants. As a fellow business owner, he understands the importance of heading down the street for a service rather than driving 20 minutes out of the way to go somewhere they’ll likely never know your name.
We wound up choosing Antica Trattoria, a deliciously intimate venue that offered comfort, style and warmth on a cold and rainy day in December. As we ate our delicious entrees, I watched fellow diners laugh and talk with one another. We were communing together happily, creating memories for years to come.
A week later, I was at Grossmont Center getting a pen engraved for a friend. I’ve passed Engraving Pros at least once every other week and every time I pass it I think, “I need to go in there and check it out.” Christmas provided me a reason to finally make good on my intention.
As I stared at the newly engraved pen, I couldn’t believe it took me so long to try out the store. “You did a wonderful job,” I enthused to store owner Carol. “I’m glad you’re here!”
Recently, I’ve heard rumors that Grossmont Center is going to undergo an overhaul to include residences. This rumor worries me greatly – I don’t know how it will affect the shops. Selfishly, I don’t want the mall to go anywhere. Grossmont Center, like Vons on Lake Murray before it and Coco’s before that, is among my go-to places. As you can see, my track record sucks.
We see most of our movies at the Grossmont theaters and always buy our snacks at Candy Paradise, owned by the always-friendly Khuu family. Also, if it weren’t for Candy Paradise, we couldn’t properly bribe Quinn to allow us to eat our pho in peace.
The reality is La Mesa is changing. We’re getting younger as new families come in and plant roots around town. And even though the community is flipping, we still need a local mall. We need Candy Paradise, Engraving Pros and comic book shops just as much as we need Target, Wal-Mart and Macy’s.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good jaunt to Fashion Valley just as much as the next gal. But when it comes to taking my family on a spontaneous mall visit, I’d rather avoid having to get on the Interstate 8.
If you live in La Mesa, if you work in La Mesa, make it a point to patronize the restaurant down the street – the warm familiarity you’ll enjoy within a couple of visits is well worth any effort.
––Genevieve A. Suzuki is a La Mesa resident who practices family law. Find out more on her website, sdlawyersuzuki.com.