Old news: The coffee shop known as Mojo’s Daily Grind has changed owners and is under new management. Gone is the owner who bought the place from Wade and ran it into the ground. New owners. So there’s hope.
New news: Tonight I knew I didn’t want to spend the entire evening at home. Again. So I left the house and went to Spiderhouse. The place was crowded as usual, and tonight I’m fuckin’ tired of crowds. I knew Mojo’s would be mostly dead, so I decided to give it a try again. And now I’m here.
I ordered an iced tea. What I got was a pint glass full of the murkiest, cloudiest, harshest black tea I’ve ever seen. Ever. And I’ve had some bad teas. I took one look at it as the barrista handed it to me and went, “woah, what the hell is that?” And he responded, “yeah, it’s strong.” And I said, “No, somebody squeezed the teabags after brewing.” He gave me a dumbfounded look as the other barrista rang me up for $2.25, to which I was like “‘scuse me?” So I ponied up the money for the bad tea and sought out a table.
This place is sparse, barren. There are people here talking, people on laptops, people reading, people doing stuff, but the place is lifeless. It is an empty shell of what it once was. Almost no art on the wall. The lighting is harsh and direct. All the funky second-hand furniture that Wade had accumulated to cram into this space with the intent of cramming this space with people is all gone. Every stick of weird painted chair, every tiled table, every oven door welded to a table stand – gone. What is left (thanks to the previous owner) is a sparse collection of wood and wire chairs, small tables, end tables, and couches. Pretty institutional. Sparse minimalism is best when used for the theatrical stage and for New York loft apartments, not for places where you’re trying to rebuild a lost community. We need to see less floor; these empty spaces reek of emptiness.
The new owners of Mojo’s have a long, long way to go if they’re aiming to bring this place back to prominence. It has decayed like an old amusement park, like a dead mall. The place I spent so many evenings and days between 2000 and 2004, the place in my memories, is not here. Hints are around, but it’s not here.