Not Fusion, CONfusion

On January 13, 2011 · 15 Comments

I remember reading through my mother’s old High School yearbook years ago when I was a child. I recall only one detail that has stuck with me ever since. The yearbook had a disproportionate number of advertisements sponsored by furniture stores that doubled as funeral parlors. I didn’t pay attention to the well-wishes of her classmates, or the candid photographs of the marching band, or the triumphs of the football team. Even then, all those many years ago,it was the the unusual juxtaposition that attracted my attention. I suppose odd hybrid stores with mixed purposes were a lot more prevalent in farm country back in the 1950’s, at least a generation before Walmart swept them all away.

One should not be surprised therefore to learn that I found a similar fascination with a Google Street View image that I crossed yesterday evening as I researched an entirely different subject.[1]

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I’d discovered Meh’s Canadian & Chinese Cuisine in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. I tried to find their menu on a website to learn the secret of their oddly bifurcated cuisine but I left disappointed after fruitless searching. I’m continuously amazed to find Chinese restaurants in even the smallest, most remote and undoubtedly obscure towns that I’ve ever visited.

I know of a similar odd combination closer to home.

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I pass the New Moon Salvadorean – Mexican – Chinese Restaurant about once a week. My sons always point to the sign as we drive by, not because they comprehend the unusual combination but because they know its excites me so much to see it. The restaurateurs actually do have a website and they revel in their unique cuisine: "Enjoy some Pupusa Revueltas with your Shrimp Fried Rice or try some Steamed Meat Dumplings with your Carne Asada." A diner on one of the online rating sites commented that it’s not fusion, it’s confusion. Others responded that it’s not supposed to be a fusion cuisine at all. Nothing is being fused. The owners are appealing to two completely different clientele using a single storefront.

Like, furniture shop and funeral parlor.

I’ve never eaten there but it I’ll provide some incentive to any County Counters in the audience to give it a shot: it’s located in Falls Church, an independent city that’s considered the smallest county-equivalent entity in the United States. It counts the same as San Bernardino although ten thousand times smaller.

If anyone knows of other weird business combinations, go ahead and post them in the comments. Extra credit goes to posts that include a Street View link or embedded Flickr image.

[1]I usually work on several blog postings simultaneously. I can’t determine when a new topic might catch my attention and push me down a completely different path for awhile. Eventually I’ll get back on track. I’ll be sure to come up with a suitable honor for anyone who can guess my original line of my research. Hint: it has nothing to do with Canadian or Chinese cuisine.

On January 13, 2011 · 15 Comments

15 Responses to “Not Fusion, CONfusion”

  1. Mike Lowe says:

    Chinese restaurants _are_ everywhere. I once saw one at a Cherokee Indian reservation in North Carolina.

  2. Cape May says:

    There used to be a Mexican & Indian restaurant in Dover, Delaware. Not fusion – the Indian place was inside the Mexican place. Odd.

  3. Erick Flaig says:

    A former store in Altoona, PA offered Groceries, Religious Items, and Plastic Pipe. The last two were painted over by new owners; the store is out of business now. In Williamsburg, PA, we had Rhodes Ice Cream and Gun Shop. They also rented videos; again, they are now out of business.

  4. In the obscure little burg of Cinema, British Columbia:

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    That’s the Cinema 2nd Hand Store – for all your camping, fireworks, dining, and convenience store needs. Let’s hope the food and fireworks are’t second-hand as well.

    In my graduate school days, I once helped facilitate a community focus group inside of a general store in an out-of-the-way place called Jackfish Lake. There were three (very) narrow aisles, and the tables were set up in the aisle furthest to the left right up against the ice cream. Very good turnout, actually, but I soon found out why: that was the night of week the store owners served a full-on turkey dinner- stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, cranberry sauce (there was a kitchen right behind the front counter). I kept that receipt as a souvenir. One of the best homecooked turkey dinners I ever ate, and it was in the middle of nowhere in the aisle of a convenience store. Try getting that at the local Circle K. I vow to return to Jackfish Lake one day.

  5. Greg says:

    Something to do with place names, maybe?

  6. Taber says:

    This immediately made me think of a store from when I was in school in Harrisonburg, VA: Acme Video, Fireplaces & Stove Company. You could, theoretically, go in just to rent a movie and come out with a new fireplace, I suppose was the thinking:
    From my travels though, I’d suggest that video rental is one of those functions that often gets wedged into a completely different kind of store in rural areas and small towns. A short time ago, I fueled up at a gas station at the edge of the remote prairie hamlet of Herreid, South Dakota which not only rented videos, but had a “casino” inside. The Google Street View shows they proclaim “ATM – CASINO – FOOD:”

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  7. Peter says:

    Years ago it wasn’t at all uncommon for funeral homes to operate ambulance services in rural areas. They could double their revenues by taking their own sweet time getting the patients to the hospital!

    I would suspect that the Nova Scotia restaurant is offering Canadian-ized Chinese cuisine, similar to Americanized Chinese offerings, but the message got somewhat garbled on the sign.

  8. Henry says:

    One of my favorite restaurants in Providence, RI is Bagel Gourmet Ole. Bagels and Mexican food! And it’s quite good on both counts. Brown students love them for their bagels, I think their burittos (breakfast burritos especially) are amazing. Their homemade chipotle salsa is what does it, in my opinion.

    I was a bit worried they’re business would be hurt when a Chipotle moved in down the street, until I realized they sell far more bagels than burritos. And there’s no competition there!

  9. Henry says:

    TO add – on their menu, Bagel Gourmet Ole doesn’t combine the two styles, but I’m sure if you asked for fajito meat on a bagel they could help you out.

  10. Hamish Marshall says:

    I can think of one weird combination the Happy Bays Car and Dog Wash.

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    Why would anyone take their car and dog to get washed in the same place? And what is a happy bay?

    I think of a few great examples of Canadian-Chinese food in tiny towns, I have eaten at both. There was the Oriental Kitchen in Cremona Alberta, which was awful, and a place I can’t figure the name of in Kenaston, Saskatchewan. The rule at these places is simple. Never, ever, ever, order the Chinese food. Just get a burger, it will work out much better.

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  11. Mr Burns says:

    In this part of the country, it used to be VERY common for the small-town undertaker to also be in the furniture business. In many, many small towns the two businesses are still run by the same people. I’ve always been told that the reason is this: In the pioneer days, furniture was only rarely purchased and shipped in. It was usually made by the local person who was skilled with woodworking. Caskets were wooden, and also made by him. In fact, a casket was another piece of furniture, if you want to think of it that way. I was just at a local funeral home a couple of weeks ago, and they had a display of the history of their business. Sure enough, they used to be a funeral home and a furniture store. “Dial 23” their ads said!

  12. E.S. Richards says:

    In the town of Santa Barbara, California there exists a combination barbershop, cell phone store, bill pay kiosk.

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