And I lived to write about it.
Candidly, I wasn’t sure for quite a while if I could go back after seeing the pictures and reading the reports from the health department after a well-documented mouse-infestation and general disrepair caused the city to shut the building down.
But yesterday, with a fair amount of forethought, I made the trek down Campbell Avenue and had one of my faves, a bowl of pho soup from the Hong Kong restaurant.
Why? you might wonder. Partly I missed some of my favorite food. Partly, just habit.
And then there’s this: I found I didn’t care as much for the other options out there in downtown when I didn’t have the market building. Don’t get me wrong, there are more great restaurants serving lunch within walking distance of my building than I could name here from memory. But I rarely have the time or the do-re-mi to eat at those places.
In the Market Building, there’s a great range of stuff, moderately priced, no waiters to tip, and I can get in and out fast.
I wonder how many others — including those who want to change the Market Building one way or another — came to this same realization, that the place as it is serves an important role for downtown diners, and is the only place serving it.
I went back to a place that, while seemingly less-crowded, was more pleasant than before. It’s cleaner and the dinged-up old furniture is gone. I looked around and saw an anchor and reporter from Roanoke’s two tv stations, a federal judge, and a high-powered local banking muckety-muck.
I ate my pho sitting in chair with a back on it — a nice improvement from the old benches — and never once thought about the kitchen where it was cooked, or what might be in it that isn’t in the recipe.
With all that’s gone on, the hard-scrubbing the whole place got, the damage to reputations and everyone’s heightened awareness of cleanliness, there’s probably no eating establishment in Roanoke that’s cleaner right now.
Plus, I find I’m really back where I started with all this, eating food I like, and because I want to keep eating it, preferring my ignorance of how that food got to my plate.