posted by Matt W on May 22nd, 2013

Strip Malls suck.

As a City Planner in a past life, it always sickened me to approve these abominations.

First there are the awful traffic patterns. Last year there was over $3 billion dollars worth of damage in reported parking lot accidents. Reported being the key word in that sentence. As strip malls are typically oddly shaped pieces of property with buildings and parking lots squeezed into them, there are a lot of accidents in these lots. Also as they are car centric by design, walking around is even more hazardous than driving.

Even with the occasional awning or faux rock siding they are still not good looking buildings. I feel sorry for someone who has gone through architecture school that gets stuck designing strip malls. Seriously. There are so many beautiful new and old building designs, and yet we slop up cheap strip malls all over the place so we can just tear them down later.

Well the other day, I was at a volleyball tournament and one of the parents said “we went to this really good restaurant last night.” Great. It was a Mexican restaurant that had really good margaritas and a great bean dip with chips. The main course was supposedly very good as well. Perfect.

So we drive down the street that the restaurant is supposedly on and there is just a strip mall where we are supposed to be looking. This can’t be right. But there it was right in the middle of the strip mall next to a nail salon. Joy. As the person who suggested the restaurant is usually pretty good with her selections we go in and have dinner.

It was excellent!

The margaritas were refreshing and the beer was cold. Nice start. The chips with salsa and bean dip were also tremendous, especially the bean dip. And the main course was perfect. My wife had a shrimp fajitas quesadilla. Very few places know how to cook shrimp and those that are really good at it aren’t usually in Tennessee. They cooked them perfectly. The rest of the meal and service was excellent as well.  The real kicker was it was very inexpensive and I left a nice tip for our server and left.

I was still in a strip mall. The person who had parked next to me had parked his truck diagonally in the spot next to mine and almost made it impossible to get my car out. My daughter was driving home and I had to back the car out of the spot as there was no way a new driver was getting out of that spot. A drunk woman stumbled out of the liquor store at the end of the building (thankfully empty handed) and proceeded to stagger throughout the lot apparently looking for her car which was indeed a truly frightening thought. My daughter had to drive through another strip mall parking lot and then a fast food lot just to enter traffic through an intersection with a light. Danger, Danger, Danger! I had forgotten about my great meal by the time I hit the interstate.

Anyway, it was the best strip mall meal I’ve had since going to this great barbeque place in Columbia SC and having someone back into my rental car.

File Under Jack of all Trades