Some Stuff to Taco Bout, Maynard Street, and Finally Getting Round to a Proper Squarewell


Exterior of Taco Bell on Jackson Road. (C)A2R.S

Taco Bell has made a triumphant return to Jackson Road on the west side. None of its area locations are exactly what I would characterize as outdated, but this store closed for a dramatic renovation that has made it look like a real-life version of the Taco Bell mobile app.

Chela’s is expanding downtown! Coming-soon signage spotted on Fifth Ave. between the old Jerusalem Garden space and Earthen Jar. I really enjoy the steak and chorizo combo tacos from their original location at Liberty and Maple, and the owner, Adrian, was very nice to my kids last time I took them, so I’m happy to see Chela’s growing.

On Maynard a couple of times last week, and took the opportunity to examine the small convenience store at the base of Tower Plaza. The most recent incarnation did not survive long, despite having an eye-catching brand with arguably the street’s best use of Microsoft Word’s “Word Art” zoom.

Set in Courier, no less. (C)A2R.S

There are a glut of similar stores in these two blocks, including two national drug chains experimenting with take-and-go meals, and the venerable Diag Liquor. Just across the street in Nickels Arcade, babo also recently threw in the towel. I’m not an expert, but I think you need to be able to sell booze if you’re gonna survive here.

Are those new network cables hanging from the drop ceiling? (C)A2R.S

I hope they’re coming up with an interesting new use for the storefront, and that they announce it really soon, so I have something else to write about. There’s no shortage of new neighbors. The new owners of Maynard House apartments literally taped a new name over the old sign. They didn’t even get Clippy’s help like the people across the street did.

“It looks like you’re attempting a hasty and generic rebranding campaign.” (C)A2R.S

Speaking of Nickels Arcade, they are currently celebrating their hundredth anniversary. The current merchants are hosting little exhibits of signage and collateral from tenants of yore. And the front door of each store tells you who was there before. Gonna stop typing because my thumbs are sore.

Closeup of Apples & Oranges’ door. (C)A2R.S

One last disappointing update. A few weeks ago I spoke at Nerd Nite Ann Arbor about starting this blog and some other previous projects in this vein, and I shared a few photos I had taken of Circle Cube, a golden sculpture that used to stand in one of the public areas of Briarwood Mall, but which I hadn’t seen since its renovation was completed a few years ago.

It hurts me to see you like this buddy. (C)A2R.S

Next morning, I got a hot tip from a current mall employee that CC was still on premises, still in the shipping crate it’d been packaged for sale in years before. I headed over at lunchtime and there it was:

A few days later I got word that CC had been destroyed and disposed of.

Nothing gold can stay.

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