Please Tip Your Waiter.

deathsheadThis garbage can graffiti always cracks me up because it makes the can look like a big skull, but in a weird stylized sort of way. And I laugh because I feel like it’s got a deep, serious message about how we should recycle and trash is killing the planet and we’ve developed a disposable culture and big words like heterogeneity and reification and let’s throw in phenomenology just for fun.

It’s funny, right?

It’s in front of JJ’s Market & Cafe, a neighborhood establishment, a coffee shop which still thrives in spite of being just two blocks away from three major chain places that also sell coffee as well as pastries, sandwiches, juices, and other stuff. I won’t name names but one is known for its breads, one specializes in bagels, and one is so ubiquitous there are jokes about how there are places where you’ll find two of its stores on opposite sides of the street.006JJ’s is purely local and has been in the area since dirt was clean. Part of the reason JJ’s survives is it doesn’t just sell coffee. There’s also beer, and not just any beer. There’s a row of taps next to the coffee bar and you can sit down and enjoy a fresh pint of a local brew or take home a growler of some of Yazoo’s or Jackalope’s finest. They also have an expansive selection of bottled international and U.S. beers, many of them microbrews.

005003And then there’s the sitting area. There’s the bookshelf with board games. There are the big armchairs and old fashioned tables. There’s the stage where I and some other local writers would occasionally perform poems. There’s the large screen of a Gustav Klimt and the Guinness posters. The staff are friendly too, and I love the tip jar. You should tip anyway, but doesn’t this make you feel even better about doing it?001I’m not trying to advertise JJ’s because it doesn’t need it. The property owners have slated it and Noshville, the New York style deli next door which has appeared on the TV show Nashville, for destruction. Both businesses are doing fine, but the property owners want to demolish the entire block and put in an apartment building.

In my not so humble opinion the area needs an apartment building like it needs another one of those chain coffee places. There already are apartment buildings nearby that aren’t filled to capacity.

And suddenly that death’s head garbage can doesn’t seem so funny anymore.


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  1. Ann Koplow

    FACT: Places like J.J.’s should not go the way of the dinosaurs. I keep hoping I’ve misread the end of this delightful post.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m afraid you understood it all too well. The bright side is the destruction of JJ’s and Noshville may not be a done deal. There may be time to save the block. I’ve been trying to stay informed and may be providing updates as events unfold.

  2. kdcol

    As my mother-in-law would put it, OH THAT’S A SIN! And she’d be spot on in this case. I can’t stand to see apartments and more apartments pop up, taking the place of buildings/establishments with true character. I hope it works out (in favor of JJ’s and Noshville).

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s a real shame. At least Noshville has a location in another part of town, but JJ’s is unique. And the loss of both would change the whole character of the neighborhood. That would be the greatest loss.

  3. Kristine @MumRevised

    I agree with you on the garbage can and then it took a turn for the sad… When I saw the fabric on those couches!
    I love those kind of places. They remind me of my hometown where the stale beer is ingrained in the drapery and the walls still have nicotine stains from an era where smoking was cool. Where are all the people from the apartment building going to get their pints I ask you? Surely not at Starbucks. Sad commentary on many towns.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s a very sad commentary. This is a big city and there’s a lot of space, but Nashville’s recent rise to become an “it city” or a “destination” that’s attracted a growing population has made some developers think every possible space needs to be knocked down and turned into high rise condos. What they’re missing is that it’s the funky little places that make people want to come here in the first place.

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