Friday, July 28, 2006

The saddest news in town about Jimmy's Oriental Gardens

This is tragic. Jimmy's is one of the last old great Santa Barbara restaurants. Maybe somebody will step forward and preserve it like they've done over at Arnoldi's. Both are restaurants the Star's editor has frequented since she was a child.

Jimmy's was paradoxical in that it had two sides to it. A formal Chinese restaurant on one side full of lanterns and antiques and style, and then the mysterious deep red bar on the other side.

Just sinking into one of the red booths was respite from the outer world. Over the years you'd see the same people at the bar -- people like the long-haired mailman who finally retired from the Post Office down the street. The theatre crowd hung out there too, and the artists and writers around town. You'd see them with a drink and a plate of something up at the bar, chatting with Willy, who is one of the last "real" bartenders left around.

The Santa Barbara Independent has a wonderful piece up, and you can read it online via my links if you haven't got the paper in hand.

Losing Jimmy's is akin to Yee Mee Loo's closing in downtown LA, or, if The Formosa ever closed. I spent years in all these places with my uncle. Even at "Frank's Rice Bowl" (which used to be on State Street here).

We always ordered War Won Ton soup, and Jimmy's had the BEST in town. Now what?

Canon Perdido will never be the same, losing Jimmy's. Never. Few places have that brand of atmosphere anymore, anyway around town. Go, tonight?
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