When I reviewed the new Syrian restaurant Ranoush two weeks ago, I suggested that its unique charms -- typified by a belly dancer twirling among its diners -- fit right in with the funky, manic Delmar Loop.
There is, however, another side to this iconic stretch: a steadily encroaching gentrification of its bohemian roots by corporate chains. I don't mean this as the introduction to an anti-capitalist screed. In fact, I've written positively in this column and elsewhere about a few of these chains (Noodles & Company, Chipotle). In general, though, I do root for locally owned businesses to succeed, and from my vantage point -- my office window overlooks the Loop; specifically, it overlooks a Foot Locker -- it's fascinating to observe how these businesses are reacting to "foreign" competition.